Guide To Durham
|| With its mix of
historic architecture, informative museums, scenic parks
and a trendy theatre, Durham has a lot to offer those
seeking a taste of good old English culture.
For starters why not take a peek inside the magnificent Durham Cathedral [map].
Designed by Bishop William St Carileph in 1093, the building
was completed in 1135, although there have been many additions
since. Among the exhibits on display here are the shrines
of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede.
Next door to the cathedral you’ll find another astounding
piece of architecture, Durham Castle [map],
which dates back to 1072. The castle, which contains a
Norman Chapel, the Great Hall and a 57ft high Black Staircase,
was the seat of the Prince Bishops until 1832 when it
became the foundation college of the University of Durham.
Together the cathedral and the castle stand proud in Durham’s
breathtaking skyline, putting the views across the city
among the best sights in Britain.
As well as other important historic buildings, such as
the Guildhall and Town Hall, Durham also
has some interesting museums and art galleries.
One of the city’s best is Durham University’s
Museum of Archaeology [map], which is home to
archaeological displays from excavations in and around
the city of Durham. As you wander around the museum you
will uncover a lot about the city’s illustrious
past, like when the Anglo-Saxon monks came to Durham with
the body of St Cuthbert and how the castle was constructed.
Or you could visit the famous Durham Light Infantry
Museum [map], which traces the proud history of
the county’s regiment. Here you’ll discover
a superb collection of more than 3,000 medals awarded
to more than 1,000 men who served in one of the finest
County Regiments – The Durham Light Infantry. Along
with medals there are many other artefacts on display,
such as uniforms, regimental record books and a memorial
book, which you can write in.
For a trip to the historical Far East head to the Oriental
Museum [map], the only museum in the UK devoted
to art and archaeology from cultures throughout the Orient.
As far as art galleries go there are not many to choose from, however the main
establishment, Durham Art Gallery [map], is
spot on with its ever-changing exhibitions of top quality
traditional and modern paintings, designs and crafts.
Located on North Road in the heart of the city, Angelos [map] is Durham’s other art gallery, which is popular
with those looking to buy contemporary works by local
Durham may also only have one theatre but it’s certainly
worth checking out as the Gala Theatre [map] plays host
to top class national drama, music, opera and ballet.
Situated on Millennium Place, the theatre forms
part of Durham’s new Millennium City development
that includes a visitor centre, cinema, tourist information
centre, café bars and a restaurant.
To get back to nature why not pay a visit to the Durham
University Botanic Gardens [map] on Hollingside Lane, an 18-acre site set in mature
woodland that features exotic trees, the Prince Bishops
Garden, and a tropical house with butterflies and insects.
Finally, if you want to head out of the city centre to
see what cultural delights lie in County Durham, the Land
of Bishops, you should make the trip to Raby Castle
[map] near Darlington. As well as being home to Lord Barnard,
this medieval castle was where 700 knights gathered to
plot the Rising of the North.
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