How to spend a day in Durham

Durham is a beautiful medieval city, bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025. So with that in mind, we thought we’d share why this is a destination to be explored!

Durham is a city full of culture, history and photo opportunities! This picturesque corner of North East England has everything you need for a city break away.

Durham Botanic Garden

Located within the grounds of Durham University, Durham’s Botanic Gardens are set amongst 10 hectares of mature woodlands. This is the perfect place to start the day and explore plant collections from North America, the Himalayas and China. 

Visit their website to find out more: Botanic Garden - Durham University

The gardens are a 20-minute walk from Palace Green or you can catch the 6 Sapphire from Leazes Road to South Road Colleges.

A walk along the River Wear

After a morning exploring the Botanical Gardens, you can catch the 6 Sapphire Service from South Road Colleges to St Oswald’s Church.

From here, you can wander alongside the River Wear. The riverside path will take you past the cathedral and offers fantastic views of both the church and the castle. 
Crossing the Prebends Bridge will take you through cobbled streets, and bring you to the doorstep of Durham Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral

Built in 1093, Durham Catherdral is one of Northern Europes most well-preserved examples of Romanesque architecture. Author Bill Bryson famously claimed it ‘The best Cathedral on Planet Earth’ for its intricate stained glass and outstanding architecture. 

During your visit, you can discover how the cathedral has been a filming location for films such as Avengers: Infinity War and Harry Potter and also climb 325 winding steps for spectacular views over Durham city and beyond.

Find out more and plan your visit on the Durham Cathedral website.

Durham Castle

After marvelling at the Cathedral, it’s just a short 3-minute walk to Durham Castle. Durham Castle has been an icon of the Durham skyline since 1072. Within its grounds, you can explore the Castle’s rich history and discover how it has been affected by major historical events, from the Norman Conquest to the English Civil War.

Interestingly, the castle has been occupied since the 11th century and is currently a residential college meaning some lucky students of the university get to live within its walls! 

Due to the residential nature of the building, access is by guided tour only. However, these do run throughout the year and can be booked through the Durham Castle website.

Rib n Reef Durham
After a busy day exploring Durham city, you’ll most likely be looking for somewhere to enjoy dinner. Look no further than Rib n Reef who offer delicious high-end food in comfortable and stylish surroundings.

Find out more and book a table online.

Assembly Rooms Theatre

Situated in the most historic part of Durham, the Assembly Rooms Theatre is filled with history and tradition. The theatre was originally used as a ballroom, built in the 18th century but had since been renovated and restored.

The theatre plays host to a variety of entertainment, from musical performances to comedy shows. So don’t miss the chance to catch a show. 

Make sure to check the Assembly Rooms website to see what’s on before your visit to Durham.

Arriva Bus

Bus Travel in Durham

We offer 15+ routes around Durham so why not explore the city by bus.


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Image Credits: Durham Skyline by David Ross / Durham Castle provided by Durham University / The Assembly Rooms Theatre provided by The Assembly Rooms Theatre

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