Durham Cathedral

Alexander Iles
Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral

Travelling to Durham by train, one of the first things that you will see is Durham Cathedral majestically overlooking the city, standing on a prominent rocky outcrop above the town and River Wear. Its foundations date back to the establishment of an Anglo-Saxon cathedral in 995AD by the community of St. Cuthbert, who moved St. Cuthbert’s body from Chester-Le-Street to Durham to protect it from renewed Viking assaults on England. The Normans built their own cathedral on the site of the original Anglo-Saxon church from 1093 to 1133, and since then it has been upgraded and added to, finally coming to the form that you see today. At its core it is still a magnificent 12th century Romanesque cathedral – very much deserving of its UNESCO world heritage status.

The cathedral was the first in England to have a vaulted stone roof and upon entering the building you will see this amazing craftsmanship of generations of people who worked together to build this amazing edifice. The cathedral was constructed to hold the mortal remains of St. Cuthbert, who is famous as one of the most important saints in the North East of England. His shrine can still be seen today and it brings pilgrims to visit from all over the world. In the Galilee chapel is the tomb of the Venerable Bede – arguably England’s first historian, as well as being a scientist and brilliant educator. Alongside being a spectacular place of worship, Durham Cathedral may already be familiar to you through featuring in blockbuster films. From Harry Potter as a part of Hogwarts to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where it was used in both Avengers Endgame and Thor: Ragnarök as a part of Asgard.

There are other treasures inside the cathedral, with the Open Treasures being a special museum within the cathedral open to visitors. The Open Treasures are a collection of gifts and artefacts gathered by the bishops of Durham over the last thousand years, with a permanent display of the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon stonework in England. The treasures of St. Cuthbert are also on display, including his personal cross and comb, as well as a changing display within the Open Treasures that tells a story of the various artefacts. This display has already covered a wonderful range of topics from Fantastic Beasts, a display of magical creatures believed to inhabit our world in the middle ages (spoiler: sadly, there were no unicorns or gryphons, the horn on display was a narwhal horn and the claw a horn from an ibex) to the food eaten at Durham cathedral over the centuries and Vikings in the North East. When it comes to Durham Cathedral it is well worth a visit, be it for quiet spiritual reflection to architectural wonder, or a modern pilgrimage in the steps of Marvel’s Thor; there is something for every traveller.

The CollegeDurhamDH1 3EH View map
Telephone: 01913864266 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday11:00am - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday11:00am - 2:00pm
  • Wednesday11:00am - 2:00pm
  • Thursday11:00am - 2:00pm
  • Friday11:00am - 2:00pm
  • Saturday11:00am - 2:00pm
  • Sunday11:00am - 2:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Durham Cathedral

a large mansion house surrounded by three blocks of colour
Until
ExhibitionsLeeds
Colours Uncovered at Harewood House

Explore colour through an amazing range of artefacts at ‘Colours Uncovered’, a new exhibition at Harewood House, from colour theory and pigment to classical painting and contemporary textiles. from £12.00

Where to go near Durham Cathedral

North East
Museum
Museum of Archaeology

Durham University’s specialist museum showcases an exhibition which ranges from the prehistory to modern times, charting the history of Durham.

Durham Castle
Durham
Tourist Attraction
Durham Castle

Durham Castle, initially constructed following the Norman Invasion, now offers guided tours around its historic site, which is also student accommodation.

Assembly Rooms Theatre
Durham
Theatre
Assembly Rooms Theatre

In the heart of Durham, a stone’s throw from the cathedral, is Assembly Rooms Theatre, an historic building showcasing theatre throughout the year.

The Cellar Door
Durham
Restaurant
The Cellar Door

The Cellar Door is a premium restaurant built into an old 13th century baker shop enjoying wonderful, wooded views over the River Wear.

The Mugwump
Durham
Shop
The Mugwump

The Mugwump is a unique boutique on Saddler Street. With a history stretching back to 1966, when it was founded by two art school graduates, it has grown to have something for everyone. The ambition of The Mugwump is to find the most wonderful clothing, glassworks, ceramics, and gifts that can be purchased and bring it together under one roof for all to enjoy and be owned by you.

Nadon Thai
Durham
Restaurant
Nadon Thai

Nadon Thai is part of an independent chain of restaurants with a menu with a traditional and modern palette with a passion for Thai food.

Fat Hippo
Durham
Restaurant
Fat Hippo

Founded in 2010, Fat Hippo offers signature burgers and indulgent desserts at purse-friendly price points.

The People’s Bookshop
Durham
Shop
The People’s Bookshop

The People’s Bookshop sits one of the alleyways that comes off Saddler Street and is a hidden gem and a treat for the book lover. Away from the bustle of the main streets, it is a treasure trove of books from all areas and periods and encourages those to enter to discover a whole new theme of knowledge through the book that they have purchased.

Gavin Shelley Jewellery
Durham
Shop
Gavin Shelley Jewellery

Within the side alleys of Saddlers’ Yard, there is a small shop that many would pass by, but holds a wonderful surprise for those who go in. Going to Gavin Shelley Jewellery you will be able to see a fantastic range of items from rings to pendants, and earrings, it is likely that the piece you are looking to buy has been made by him.

Vennels Café
Durham
Café or Coffee Shop
Vennels Café

Vennels Café is a fantastic venue in the heart of Durham, steeped in the charming history of the city. The word “vennel” comes from a corruption of the French word for an alleyway and the vennels in Durham are the alleyways that date back to the medieval city.

Tango
Durham
Restaurant
Tango

Tango is an independent restaurant providing the best in comfort food with a varied burger menu and in-house deserts.

North East
Theatre
The Durham

A home for theatre in Durham, showcasing many talents such as those of the Durham Dramatic Society at greatly affordable prices.

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