Durham, located in the picturesque North East of England, is a hidden gem that offers a plethora of attractions and sights for visitors to explore. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, it is no wonder that Durham has become a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers. Whether you are a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking a relaxing getaway, this list of the best places to visit in Durham will ensure you make the most of your trip.
1. Durham Cathedral
The first stop on any visit to Durham must be the iconic Durham Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage site is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe. With its stunning grandeur and breathtaking stained glass windows, the Cathedral never fails to leave visitors in awe. If you have the opportunity, make sure to attend one of the Cathedral’s famous choral evensongs; the hauntingly beautiful voices of the choir echoing through the expansive Gothic nave offer a truly spiritual experience.
2. Durham Castle
Standing adjacent to Durham Cathedral is the magnificent Durham Castle. Originally built in the 11th century as a strategic Norman fortress, it later became a place of residence for the Prince Bishops of Durham. Today, the Castle is part of Durham University and is open to the public for guided tours. Walking through the historic halls and courtyards, you can immerse yourself in centuries of history. The magnificent Norman Chapel, dating back to the 12th century, is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Castle and should not be missed.
3. Durham University Botanic Garden
If you are in search of a tranquil oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, look no further than the Durham University Botanic Garden. Situated on the outskirts of Durham, this 25-acre garden offers a diverse collection of plants from around the world. Whether you fancy a leisurely stroll through the tranquil woodland, exploring the stunning alpine and winter gardens, or discovering the tropical glasshouses, the Botanic Garden provides a perfect escape for nature lovers of all ages.
4. Durham Museum and Heritage Centre
For those interested in delving deeper into Durham’s history, a visit to the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre is a must. Housed in a former church, the museum provides a fascinating insight into the city’s past. From Stone Age artifacts to medieval manuscripts, the extensive collection showcases the rich heritage of Durham. Don’t miss the exhibition on the world-famous Lindisfarne Gospels, a stunning illuminated manuscript created over a thousand years ago.
5. Old Durham Gardens
Step back in time with a visit to the Old Durham Gardens – a hidden gem that will transport you to the Victorian era. Nestled on the outskirts of the city, these beautifully restored gardens feature winding paths, vibrant flower beds, and serene water features. Take a leisurely stroll through the rose garden, admire the stunning views of Durham Cathedral, or simply relax on one of the many benches scattered throughout the grounds. The Old Durham Gardens offer a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Whether you are a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a relaxing break, Durham has something to offer everyone. From the awe-inspiring Durham Cathedral and Castle to the tranquil beauty of the Botanic Garden and Old Durham Gardens, this delightful city is sure to captivate and charm you. Plan your visit to Durham today and uncover the countless treasures that await!