Our Durham Travel Guide includes recommended places to visit and things to do, accommodation options, tips and more for this historic northern city. Everything you need to plan your visit and essential reading for any visitor to Durham!
Plan your visit to Durham
The historic city of Durham (located in county Durham) in the North East of England is one of its prettiest cities and home to an 11th-century castle and Norman cathedral both of which were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1986.
The cathedral is the final resting place of Saint Cuthbert whose body was removed from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland following the Viking invasion in 793.
The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832.
There are over 630 listed buildings in Durham most of which are located in the city centre. This is the perfect city to visit if you have an interest in English history.
What you will find in this complete Durham Travel Guide
- When is the best time of year to visit Durham?
- How many days do you need in Durham?
- What is the best way to explore Durham?
- What is the best way to travel to Durham from London?
Map showing the location of Durham
📖 Durham travel guide – Visiting Durham FAQ’s
When is the best time of year to visit Durham?
Weather-wise the spring and summer months are the perfect time to visit Durham. Days are longer with generally warm weather. This is the UK of course so expect the unexpected! Check the weather forecast before you go..
If you are prepared for 4 seasons in one day you can’t go wrong – layers are always recommended (and waterproofs too) whatever time of year you plan to visit.
In winter snow is a possibility and the days will be cool and crisp. Don’t miss Durham’s Christmas market and decorations in December.
Beamish Open Air Museum is also worth a visit at any time of year.
- Read more about the best time to visit the UK in my detailed guide.
There are a number of festivals and events held in and near Durham during the year including
Kynren – An epic tale of England (Every Saturday 29 July – 9 September 2023)
This live-action outdoor theatre event takes guests on a spellbinding journey through 2 thousand years of history, myth and legend.
Lumiere Durham (16 – 19 November 2023)
The UK’s largest and most successful light festival transforms the city of Durham into a glittering art trail.
How many days do you need in Durham?
Durham is the perfect weekend break (or UK staycation) destination although you can spend a day in the city and explore the main sights if you prefer.
If you are travelling around the UK by train we recommend including Durham in your train trip itinerary. Durham is only a few hours by train from both London and Edinburgh. Durham train station is located a 10-minute walk from the city centre.
What is the best way to explore Durham?
The city of Durham is compact and easily explored on foot or by bicycle.
Local bus services run across the city including from a number of park-and-ride locations. Click here for more information about Durham’s Park & Ride locations.
Good to know – We don’t recommend trying to park in the city but using the park-and-ride scheme or taking the train.
What is the best way to travel to Durham from London?
🚆 By train from London – York – Edinburgh
For timetables and tickets, we recommend the trainline. Take the train to Durham for a short break or incorporate it into your UK train travel itinerary.
- Distance from London: 377 km
- Time taken by train: 3 hours
- Leave from: London Euston or London King’s Cross
Tip – If this is your first time catching a train in the UK read our complete guide to UK train travel which includes all the information you need to know to make travelling around the UK by rail a relaxing and stress-free experience.
🚙 By car
Durham is served by an excellent road network which provide easy access from the north or south of the country.
⬆️ Follow the A1/A1(M) motorway from the south.
⬇️ From the north take the A1 coastal route or A68 cross country route.
➡️ From the Lake District take the A66 cross Pennine route via Barnard Castle.
Read – UK transportation guide
⭐️ Attractions and things to do in Durham (& the North of England)
Click the links for more information about the best places to visit in Durham plus other areas, cities and landmarks of interest in the North East of England.
Coming soon – what to do and see in Durham plus itinerary suggestions.
🏩 Durham Accommodation
Accommodation Quick Picks
2 bedroom apartment with river views and terrace
The King’s Lodge Inn
Free parking on site, cosy bar, a restaurant and easy access to Durham city centre
Radisson Blu Hotel
Fantastic views of the cathedral. Bar, restaurant and health club.
Find more special stays in my Accommodation Guide for England.
🎟 Tickets, tours & attractions in Durham
🏰 Tours of Durham Castle are available – check the official website for times and availability.
⛪ Durham Cathedral offers tours Monday to Saturday: 11 am and 2 pm. Tours last 1 hour. Costs £7.50 per person, £3.50 child and a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) is £20.00
Climb the central tower (a total of 325 steps) and enjoy unrivalled views over the historic city of Durham and see recently completed restoration work up close. Costs – £5.50 adult £2.50 child (8-17 years)
ℹ️ Best day trips from Durham
- Beamish Open Air Museum – Beamish is a world-famous open-air museum, telling the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s. Check online for information about opening times and bookings.
💛 Enjoy your visit to Durham
This guide will have provided inspiration plus practical information to help plan your visit to Durham. These posts will also provide practical advice for travelling around the UK:
Find more inspiration for your travels in my England Travel Guide which includes information about what to see, where to stay, how to get around, travel tips, recommended reading and more to make the most of your trip.