Best Places to Visit in Durham (United Kingdom)

Are you searching for the Best Places to Visit in Durham? Are you thinking of a trip to Europe and wondering what to explore in Durham? We’ve got you covered. The old center of Durham, with its magnificent cathedral perched high above the River Wear, is a never-to-be-forgotten sight. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city’s old center is home to 600 listed structures, including Crook Hall, Kingsgate Bridge, Elvet Bridge, and Town Hall. Town Hall.

Durham is among the most popular of England’s gorgeous cities and has many activities to enjoy. The highlights include:

  • Exploring the city’s historic architectural style.
  • Dining in one of the numerous restaurants in the area.
  • Shopping in places such as the renowned Indoor Market.

To find out more about why Durham is among the top places to visit, read our list of top things to see and do in Durham.


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Seaham is one of the best places to visit in Durham. Hidden away in The County of Durham are some of the finest county houses – including one of the top five-star hotels in Durham, Seaham Hall. The hotel has been voted one of the top spots for a relaxing spa break in the North East.

The Georgian hotel’s prize-winning Serenity Spa is home to an array of spas, hot tubs outdoors, and various relaxing treatments that will leave you feeling radiant. In the evenings, you can enjoy a delicious meal inside The Dining Room or be transported to the Far East in an Asian-inspired Ozone restaurant before making your way to your suite (one of that is named in honor of Lady Byron’s daughter. Lord Byron).

Each room has its distinct character. They all have beautiful décor and stunning views. Can we book now?

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Why not go one step further and experience your fantasies of an English royal castle? Lumley Castle Hotel, located on the River Wear, has dominated the Durham landscape for over 600 years. The hotel prides itself on offering guests the opportunity to experience a time capsule with modern conveniences.

You can relax in a luxurious four-poster bed, sip an afternoon cup of tea within the castle’s quaint courtyard, relax to a drink after dinner before a roaring log fire, and relax and let your worries melt away.

Durham Cathedral

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Durham Cathedral – or, to use its full title, The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin, and St. Cuthbert of Durham is renowned for its gorgeous British Romanesque-style architecture. It is accessible via its narrow roads of Old City across Palace Green or from the banks of the River Wear over Prebends Bridge. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is truly breathtaking.

The building was completed between 1093 between 1133 and 1093 (with some 15th-century embellishments). The structure is accessible via the northwest door to fugitives looking for refuge. Inside, visitors will be presented with a myriad of stunning places to see.

Highlights include the beautiful Galilee Chapel, the Norman Nave with its enormous columns and piers, and the Cathedral Tower (a 325-step climb to reach the summit, so prepare for some effort).

The cathedral also houses the largest and most complete collection of medieval claustral architecture in the UK. It includes the 14th-century Cloister, which was the subject of the first Harry Potter film. Tours with guides within Durham Cathedral are offered daily and can last 1.25 hours.

The cathedral also offers an excellent adult-oriented program for visitors who wish to learn more about the region’s past and also includes workshops, lectures, and walks through the woods and riverbanks.

The Cathedral Library and Archive are also open for those interested in particular areas of the cathedral’s past. If you want to stay for a while, a cafe and gift shop are within the building.

Location: The College, Durham

Official site:

Grassholme Reservoir

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From the 16 dark-sky discovery sites scattered throughout The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark (some of the darkest skies in England, do you not know?) There are 12 of them within the Durham Dales.

If you’re looking to gaze into the immense beauty and vastness of the Universe, go for the Grassholme Observatory, an observatory explicitly designed for Teasdale’s Grassholme Reservoir. Utilizing various high-tech equipment and computer systems, visitors will be taken into the stars to watch gas clouds spin, planets rotate, shine, and galaxies illuminate the night sky.

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For an unforgettable night-time show, book any of Gary’s astrophotography adventures. When you go into one of the North Pennies’ dark skies, Gary will help you learn the basics of dark sky photography so that you will be able to capture that perfect photo.

All backgrounds and experience levels are welcome, and a great time is guaranteed. This will be an unforgettable night-time excursion that you’ll never forget.


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Discover Durham’s rich history in Beamish, the Living Museum of the North. The museum’s workings are set in the 300-acre Durham countryside that brings an era of the Industrial Revolution (and the early 20th century) to life with costumed village people, workshops for agriculture, and historic buildings transported brick-by-brick from the region before being built on Beamish property.

Take a stroll through the streets of the cobbled Pit Village and visit the friendly shopkeepers who line the main street. You can also practice handwriting in the school, observe what’s on the menu in the cottages, and enjoy a ride through the Beamish Tramway while taking a bite of battered cod at Davy’s Fish and Chip Shop.

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Experience thousands of years of myth, history, and legends in Kynren’s Live-action outdoor show presented by the cast and crew of 1000. You’ll be able to experience 29 epic scenes and tales that span from Arthur’s enthralling trip through time and the ferocity of the Industrial Victorians and even include stunts including water jets, pyrotechnics, and water jets.

In 2021, the 11Arches Park will be packed with more thrilling attractions, including the Viking Village, Maze of Fame, and the Georgian Animal Croft. Kynren’s will be open on specific dates during the summer, making it the ideal gift for your kids during the holidays.

The Treasures of St. Cuthbert

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The Treasures of St. Cuthbert is one of the best places to visit in Durham. The site is located in the area within Durham Cathedral, which once served as a monastery dormitory. Its Treasures of St. Cuthbert comprise a range of the most significant collections and relics that span more than 900 years.

The most famous exhibits are the coffin made of wood from the 7th century by St. Cuthbert, a silver plate collection owned by Prince Bishops of Durham. Prince Bishops of Durham, as well as a variety of ancient books.

The most exciting thing to look at is The Conyers Falchion, an old sword made to kill Sir John Conyers, the famous Sockburn Worm. The only thing the sword is used for is when it is presented to the new Bishop of Durham after they have entered the diocese of Croft Bridge for the first time.

These monks’ apartments themselves are worthwhile to visit. The highlight is the monks’ kitchen, which has a stunningly beautiful octagonal ceiling that is well-preserved and has at least eight fireplaces. It is also worth a look at the exciting displays depicting the lives of monks.

This well-known tourist attraction has the original knocker used by those seeking sanctuary in the medieval era, a replica of which can be seen on the cathedral’s main entrance.

Location: The College, Durham

Official site:


Travel through the trees of the awe-inspiring and reach the breathtaking High Force Waterfall, One of Durham’s most stunning natural wonders and the most significant falls in England. Starting its journey in the fells that make up the Northern Pennine AONB, it is River Tees swells before plunging 21 meters into the deep gorge below.

While the falls are beautiful throughout the year, the ideal time to visit them is during the winter and autumn months, when, because of massive rainfall, the water is at its highest power and, if cool enough, you could be lucky enough to witness it freeze. After stopping to take in the waterfalls (and taking a photo or two), continue your trip by following the variety of marked trails that can take you along and across the countryside.

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If you continue on this circular path, you’ll pass by Low Force Waterfall, another of Durham’s stunning natural wonders. This spouting waterfall flows through an area known as the Whin Sill, a layer of dolerite rocks that formed around 295 million years ago.

In the Durham Dales, you’ll discover various scenic routes, including cycling routes (including Killhope Cross – England’s highest A Road) and hiking trails that will provide a break from the bustle and noise of daily life.

Durham Castle

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Built as a fortress by Earl Northumberland at the time of 1072. Durham Castle is also part of Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was given to William the Conqueror to the city’s prince-bishops. Fascinating areas are the Norman Chapel, which has beautiful archaic capitals carved with exquisite detail, the dining hall built in the 14th century, the 16th-century chapel, and the 17th-century Black Stairs, complete with pineapple carvings.

The castle also houses University College, the founding college of Durham University. There are more than 100 students there, creating an exceptional building with more than 900 years of living historical significance. If you want to experience a truly unforgettable experience, consider booking one from the exclusive B&B stay (during students’ vacations only). The castle tours are included in the stay.

Location: Palace Green, Durham

Official site:

Durham University Museum of Archaeology

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Durham University Museum of Archaeology is one of the best places to visit in Durham.

The Museum of Archaeology – located at Durham’s Palace Green Library – houses objects from the Roman Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods. The museum also has an extensive assortment of artifacts from the medieval period, most of which were discovered in the city’s old center during major excavations during the latter part of the 20th century.

The library also houses the extraordinary collections of the university archives, the first printed book, such as more than 70 000 books published before 1850. Admission to the library and museum is cost-free, as is admission to seminars and educational programs.

Location: Palace Green Library, Durham

Official site:

Durham Heritage Coast

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If you’re looking for a walk, You’re fortunate as Durham is a great place to go. The County of Durham is chock-a-block with must-do hikes. Durham Heritage Coast, For instance, offers eleven miles of trail on the England Coast Path National Trail that offer stunning views of Bays and yellow Limestone cliffs. There are also numerous spots to observe wildlife. Visit Seaham, where you can find the county’s sole marina, and search for the world-famous multi-colored ocean glass.

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Perhaps you could tackle some of the Northern Saints Trails that meander across the county and the northeast of England? They are based on pilgrimage trails used for centuries throughout The North East. The trails include Angel’s Way, The Way of Learning, The Way of Life, The Way of Light, The Way of Love, and The Way of The Sea. The Way of the Sea – bringing intriguing tales from the region’s Saints into the present.

One of the most popular trails for visitors and residents alike is The Way of Light, which takes you past magnificent abbeys through battlegrounds in the Dark Ages and across sweeping valleys, forests, and the fells.


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Stanley is one of the best places to visit in Durham. If you’re looking for thrilling experiences, why not go on the steam train journey through the past? Through Tanfield Railway – the oldest railroad in the world – you’ll take six miles of forests and rolling hills that makeup Durham County.

County of Durham, aboard an antique steam train with Victorian carriages. The train will pass Causey Arch on your steam adventure, which is believed to be the oldest single-arch bridge still in existence. You can also take the 18-mile heritage trail that connects with the Weardale Railroad that extends through Bishop Auckland to East gate. Train services are available throughout the year, with particular afternoon and evening services scattered throughout the calendar.

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County Durham is the cradle of British railways – what better place to find out the details of our country’s railway heritage than to visit the town that was the place where it all started? In the fascinating Locomotion Museum, You’ll learn the first place where the world’s steam-powered public railway came into existence, see stunning locomotives, and learn how trains’ introduction to Sheldon changed the town’s image forever.

The museum is home to over 70 rail vehicles, ranging from steam engines with impressive designs to more bizarre objects, such as the elaborate private coach owned by Queen Alexandra (wife of Edward VII). Edward VII) – Locomotion is among the most visited tourist destinations throughout The North East.


All destinations are awesome! According to my opinion, Seaham is the best to start. I hope you have enjoyed our list of Best Places to Visit in Durham.

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Hi! I'm Henry. I'm a best-selling travel writer who has been teaching people how to travel on a budget for sixteen years. 

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