"Small but interesting town" Durham by uglyscot

Durham Travel Guide: 232 reviews and 567 photos

Some history

Durham seems to be named from its situation, as it is built on a hill in the loop of the river, so almost an island.: 'Dun' Old English for hill, and 'holme' Old Norse for island. Eventually it was corrupted to Durham.
Another alternative origin is a legend of a milkmaid,while searching for her dun cow ,who guided monks from Lindisfarne looking for a site to bury St Cuthbert. One of the first streets in Durham is Dun Cow Lane.

There has been settlement at Durham for 4000 years [about 2000 BC]. It has been a city since 995 AD.

Both the Romans and Normans left their mark on the city. The Cathedral in its present form dates to 1093, with rib vaulting in the nave.
The castle dates to the 11th century and was an early motte and bailey construction. There are still North Bailey and South Bailey as street names.

It was a Loyalist supporter during the Civil War, and both castle and cathedral suffered damage as a result.

Carpet making and coal mining were industries there in 18th century.

The Castle and Cathedral are worth seeing, though the Castle is seldom open to tourists as it is part of Durham University,.
There are some interesting buildings to be seen around the market square. like the Market Hall, St Nicholas Church. There is the Chorister School; and also Elvet Bridge and Framwellgate Bridge among others.

The river

Durham lies in the bend or loop in the River Wear, a position that was a great defence, and why the Castle was the only one in England that was never breached.
There are weirs on the river below the Cathedral. The river floods every year, but makes a pleasant walk.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:a small city full of history
  • Last visit to Durham: Jun 2011
  • Intro Updated Jun 25, 2011
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Reviews (4)

Comments (1)

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2011 at 4:09 AM

    Excellent page on this wonderful town. Loved the pictures of the cathedral and the castle, just gorgeous!


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