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We recommend Durham for:
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Places to go and things to see;
County Durham might not be one of the top UK tourist destinations, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful. It’s a place of unspoilt traditional charm, where quiet cobbled streets wind past heritage sites of international importance. The county’s pronounced Norman history is a joy to explore. And it’s all set against a backdrop of breathtaking rural scenery. For peace, prettiness, and a fascinating look at the past, there are few better places. What will you discover?
Our Bay Eden Arms Hotel is just eight miles from Durham, a quiet city set on the densely wooded banks of the River Wear. The picturesque city centre has changed very little over the past 200 years and is largely defined by two spectacular buildings: Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, which tower over the rest of the city. You can’t miss them. And you wouldn’t want to.
Durham Cathedral was founded in its present form way back in 1093 and remains a centre for Christian worship today. Daily Church of England services are held with signing from the Durham Cathedral Choir every day except Mondays. But the main reason behind the cathedral’s 600,000 annual visitors is its spectacular beauty and revolutionary design. It’s been described as one of the great architectural experiences of Europe and is regarded as a Romanesque masterpiece. So it’s no surprise that the cathedral has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an accolade it shares with nearby Durham Castle.
Durham Castle was originally built in the eleventh century as a show of Norman power in the north of England. Interestingly, it’s the only Norman castle in the world that never suffered a breach. Since 1840, however, the castle has been occupied by University College Durham. But don’t think that means you can’t go exploring! The castle is open for guided tours every afternoon during term time and every morning during the holidays. Well worth a visit.
Also near the castle and cathedral is the Durham Heritage Centre and Museum. You’ll find it housed in an historic church. It tells the terrific tale of Durham’s history, from the tenth century to the present day. But if you fancy really soaking up some culture then a trip to Durham’s Oriental Museum is an absolute must. It’s the only museum in northern England dedicated to the art and archaeology of the Orient. One of the largest collections of Chinese artefacts in Europe awaits its visitors.
Crook Hall and Gardens is another one of the gems of the city and never fails to impress visitors. This gorgeous medieval hall is set in four acres of beautiful gardens that are bursting with colour and fragrance. You’ll find walled gardens, a maze, a silver and white garden and a Shakespeare garden. For horticultural heritage fans, it doesn’t get much better. And the cream teas served in Crook Hall’s dining room and courtyard are pretty decent too!
But there’s more to County Durham than its namesake city. Just a few miles to the northwest of Durham in Consett is the Glass & Art Gallery, where art enthusiasts can cast a discerning eye over the work of more than 120 artists from the North East. You’ll find everything from stained glass and wood-carvings to pottery and paintings. Meanwhile, the Durham Dales offer a spectacular expanse of walking territory and there are plenty of places for golf fans to work on their swing. Try the fairways at Mount Oswald Manor – they’re some of the most beautiful around. Fore!
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