The Cathedral as seen from the river banks

Getting to Durham

By air:

If you arrive at Newcastle Airport, Durham is 30 minutes’ drive. There are usually taxis waiting in the ranks at the airport, or you could book with Newcastle Airport Taxis , tel: 0191 4490003. Alternatively, you could catch the Metro underground service  from the airport to Newcastle Central Station, and then take a train to Durham .

If you arrive at Durham Tees Valley Airport, Durham is 30 minutes’ drive; Darlington Railway Station, 7 miles from the airport, is the closest railway station for Durham. For transport links, see the airport’s website.

By rail:

Durham is on the main London-Scotland line (under 3 hours from London, 2 hours from Edinburgh). The cheapest and most convenient way to book tickets is to sign up to be alerted by e-mail when cheap tickets are released for sale at www.eastcoast.co.uk or www.thetrainline.com

A taxi from Durham Railway Station to Collingwood College during daytime hours should cost under £10. There are usually taxis waiting in the ranks at the station, but if not then try the taxi numbers below.

By road:

Durham lies on the A1(M) between London and Edinburgh. The service station at Leeming Bar is always worth a visit (it has a huge gift shop full of local produce).

Durham: A World Heritage Site

Palace Green, home to the Cathedral and the Castle. A World Heritage Site.

The historic centre of Durham city, Palace Green, holds not only the Castle but also the Norman Cathedral which dominates the skyline for miles around. This area is well worth a visit.

See the map below for a walking route from Colllingwood College to the World Heritage Site. Some wonderful, traditional English pubs are also marked:

Durham is around a quarter of an hour by public transport from Newcastle Upon Tyne, with frequent trains, and close to Hadrian’s Wall and some of the most important sites of Roman Britain including Housesteads and Vindolanda. For more information about the city and surrounding attractions, visit the City of Durham tourism website .

An Afternoon in Durham

 
Cathedral:

The crowning glory of the Land of the Prince Bishops, the imposing Norman cathedral is inescapable. A real “must-see” attraction. For the most up-to-date guide to what’s going on at the Cathedral, visit the official website.

 
 

The Cloisters at Durham Cathedral (you may remember them from the Harry Potter films)

Castle:

Home to University College, the city’s 11th century castle holds several guided tours a day. For more information, please see the Castle’s website.

 
 

The Castle, home of University College.

River Walks:

A stroll along the scenic river banks, skirting the peninsula and offering stunning views of the cathedral and castle, is always a pleasant way to spend an hour or two. See the map below for a lovely walk from Collingwood to the river banks (then simply pick a path and wander up it for a while) and then on into the historic areas of the Bailey and Palace Green:

Botanical Gardens:

A peaceful and pleasant arboretum next to Collingwood College promises a serene walk and a great place to picnic. Also home to a rare breed of Manx sheep (try to spot Napoleon, the four-horned ram). For more information, see the official website.

Oriental Museum:

The Oriental Museum, close to Collingwood College, is currently hosting a Hokusai exhibition. For more details on this, and other exhibitions, please see the Museum’s website.

An Evening in Durham

While dinner is provided (for those who have booked) and the College bar will be available (and no doubt much-frequented) for after dinner drinks, Durham City also has a few notable highlights that you might want to try.

Restaurants:

Oldfields is a British restaurant, serving a number of traditional dishes with a modern twist, and also specialising in local produce and recipes. Tel: 0191 3709595

The Capital is Durham’s newest Indian restaurant, boasting several award-winning chefs and garnering rave reviews. Tel: 0191 3868803

Zen restaurant is a stylish, modern and atmospheric urban explosion of Thai fusion cuisine. Highly recommended as being the “jewel in the crown” of Durham’s restaurants. Tel: 0191 3849588

The Central restaurant provides much more traditional Thai dishes in a lovely setting by the river, full of Eastern ambience. Tel: 0191 597 8774

Zizzi’s is the new Italian restaurant in town. While being a member of a chain restaurant group, it boasts a delicious menu and user-friendly opening hours. Tel: 0191 3863999

Bell’s Fish and Chips is the best place in town for that signature English dish, cod and chips. You can either take away, or watch the city go by from their restaurant in the Market Place.

Pubs:

The Shakespeare: A very traditional, warm and friendly British Pub. Dating from 1109 AD, the pub boasts many traditional features in the interior decor and a number of snugs. Home to a wide selection of British real ales, it also claims to be the most haunted pub in England.

The Market Tavern: an old fashioned pub that dates from around the 1850s and has an historical (and lasting) relationship with the Durham Miners’ Association.

Swan and Three: a modern British pub with a lovely beer garden overlooking the river.

Bars:

Hide: a modern pub/bar that also serves food.

Fat Buddha: a contemporary and ultra-modern cocktail bar overlooking the river.

Ebony: a stylish champagne bar that also serves a wide variety of classic and modern cocktails.

Nightlife:

While Durham has a very active nightclub scene during term time, some clubs do sporadically and temporarily shut due to the absence of undergraduates during the university holidays. I would recommend taking a train to Newcastle and exploring there. For a guide to the gay scene in Newcastle, try a recent review by So So Gay.

N.B.: These recommendations are made on a purely personal basis, from years of living the “Durham experience”. I would always recommend that you call ahead and book a table (and also check opening hours) before venturing forth.

Essential Information

Taxi numbers

Pratt’s 0191 3864040
Paddy’s 0191 3842853
Chas’s 0191 371 1488
Dunelm 0191 383 1122
Mac’s 0191 384 1329

If coming back from the city late in the evening, it usually faster to catch a taxi from the taxi ranks in the Market Square (outside the Natwest bank) instead of booking.

Weather

While we often experience hot weather during springtime here in Durham, the weather can also be rapidly changeable in England, so we would advise you to bring a warm jumper and an umbrella, just in case.

Cobbles

The centre of Durham City is a world heritage site, full of medieval beauty. The roads are also protected, as they are traditional cobbled streets. Unless you have had years of practice, don’t try to walk in these areas wearing high heels… it ends badly.

Nearest Pharmacy & Doctors’ Surgery

The closest pharmacist to Collingwood College is at Boots in the Market Place. Tel: 0191 3842213

The closest Doctors’ (medical) is the University Health Centre and can be found on Green Lane. Tel: 0191 3865081

LK