The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham (usually known as Durham Cathedral) is one of the famous cathedrals in England. Durham Cathedral occupies a strategic position on a promontory high above the River Wear.
The present cathedral replaced the 10th century "White Church", built as part of a monastic foundation to house the shrine of Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne.
The cathedral is a major tourist attraction within the region. The central tower of 66 m gives wonderful views of Durham and the surrounding area.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
The Castle and the Cathedral were our main purposes to see in Durham. The castle stands on top of a hill above the River Wear on Durham's peninsula, opposite Durham Cathedral.
Durham Castle is a Norman castle. It has been wholly occupied since 1840 by University College.
It is open to the general public to visit, but only through guided tours, since it is in use as a working building and is home to over 100 students.
The castle was originally built in the 11th century as a projection of the Norman king's power in the north of England, following the disruption of the Norman Conquest.
- Historical Travel
I wish I'd gone there at night.
When I was recently in Durham and wandering fairly aimlessly about the place (as is my wont), I stumbled upon the Angel pub in Crossgate. In fairness, I had heard about it before. Whilst asking where there might be live music on a midweek off-season evening, this place was suggested by a helpful local. I didn't manage to get there that night but I eventually got there the next day about lunchtime. I had been told it was a "rockers" pub and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Even before I got into the place, I saw the airbrushed band van outside with a personalised number plate on it. I cannot remember exactly what it was and regretably did not take a photo but it was something featuring the letters "GIG". I was impressed.
On entering what looked from the outside like a fairly old-fashioned bar, it was immediately evident that I was in the right place, if at the wrong time of day. Everything about the place screamed "rockers pub" from the wall decorations to the posters advertising forthcoming events to the wonderful pinball machine, of which more later.
There were maybe half a dozen guys in the bar and a young lady sitting doing something on the wifi. I had a bit of a chat with her and the barman, both of whom were very friendly, and was made to feel most welcome.
I decided on a bit of a look round and in the back room, which obviously doubles as the gig area, I was greeted with the most welcome sight which you can see in the main image on this tip. I am an unashamed pinball fan and lament the fact that there are virtually no pubs that still have them. This was not some old battered up piece of garbage mind you, but a spotless new machine with all the bumpers and functions working absolutely correctly. Yes, I know I am going on about it but it really did excite me that much. As you can see, it was an AC/DC machine, named for the Australian rock band of the same name. Whatever shots you hit correctly triggered a different AC/DC guitar riff. Not only that but it operated at such a volume that it actually drowned out the jukebox that was playing rock music at a fairly lively level itself. I did have a little look round to see if anyone was looking at me disapprovingly but nobody batted an eyelid so I kept trying to hit the shot that played Thunderstruck!
I had already booked a tour round the Palace for 1400 hours so I really had to run (it was brilliant and see seperate tip), which was a shame, but I have stated in my introductory Durham page that I would love to return very soon to Durham and this place will certainly be high on my list of priorities.
Great place if that is your thing.
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
A fine old Church.
Durham is an very religious city, founded effectively by monks on an older prehistoric site and with the Bishop of Durham still being one of the senior clerics in the Anglican church in the UK. No surprise then that the city is endowed with many wonderful old churches and this is one I stumbled across more or less accidentally whilst wandering fairly aimlessly around one day. I do like doing this if I am in a place I do not know as I am never sure what I am going to stumble upon and I invariably do stumble upon something that interests me.
What initially drew my eye to the Church was the rather fine War Memorial (pictured) in the grounds. One of my many interests is in such memorials and I do recommend the portion of the Imperial War Museum website%L% here which is very interesting. I would urge members or casual readers to submit any images or information they have as the internationally regarded institution is attempting to catalogue every such monument in the UK. Remarkably, this has never been done before.
Having duly examined and photographed the memorial, the next thing I saw was a sign indicating that the Church grounds are administered in association with the local authority to encourage wild flower growth in what is essentially an urban environment. So far, so good.
A wander through the pleasant churchyard led me to the door and into the Church proper. As I approached, I could hear that someone was playing the organ inside and apparently with some degree of skill. I wandered in quietly but the organist noticed me and smiled an nodded whilst continuing to play. It was rather pleasant to have my own organ accompaniment as I wandered about the deserted Church. It was relatively plain and I was surprised that there were not too many military memorials inside as seem so common in many English Churches. It was, however, intersting, peaceful and well worth a look.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
- Budget Travel
A fully-functioning Castle.
When I say fully-functioning in the title of this tip, I do not mean that it is functioning as the defensive building it was designed as but rather as one of the more prestigious academic institutions in the UK. It is home to over 100 students from Durham University and, as such, you can only visit as part of an organised tour and I mention this early as I cannot stress it enough, you really need to book as early as you can. I visited midweek in April (well-off season) and, following advice from staff at the excellent nearby Visitor Centre I had booked an afternoon tour early in the morning. By the time the tour began, it was fully subscribed. I can only imagine how far in advance you would need to book at weekends or in high season, so do bear this in mind.
You meet up in the library building, a student from the College and in our case a delightful and very knowledgeable young lady whose name I have now regrettably forgotten. The guide will then take you on the tour which is fascinating although regrettably photography is not allowed inside so all my images are external.
Interestingly, one of the very first places you visit are the kitchens, still feeding the students and staff but housed in what must be one of the most historic cooking locations in the UK. You visit the 14th century Grand Hall with it's portraits of former senior University staff. Although not as large as it once was, it is still about 40 feet hich and certainly deserves the "Great" appellation. The place simply oozes history. You are shown round two different chapels (the Norman and Tunstall's), up a fairly ancient set of stairs and generally guided through what is a magnificent old building. You are, however, reminded occasionally of it's continuing status as a place of learning as students wander past you,apparently oblivious to the gaggle of tourists in what is effectively their home. I'm not sure I would like that myself.
So what is the history of the incredible place? Well, it is long certainly. It stands on the same defensible promontory as the Cathedral and dates to about the same time (late 11th century), having been built by the Normans. After service as the seat of the Prince Bishops here for many centuries, the place had fallen fairly well into disrepair by the early 19th century. When the University was formed in 1832, the then Bishop, Edward Maltby, donated it for student accommodation although this required a major refurbishment. The result is the structure you see today and it really is well worth seeing. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site and rightly so, I really cannot recommend it highly enough.
The following logistical details are taken from the attached website.
Tours during University Term-Time
Tours are normally available every afternoon of the week at 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00. For full details of term dates go to www.dur.ac.uk/dates
Tours during University Vacations
Tours are normally available most mornings of the week at 10:00, 11.00 and 12:00, and in the afternoons when there are no commercial activities, from 14:00 to 17:00. Please note that we are closed for the festive season from late December till 03 January each year.
Visitor’s wishing to take part in a guided tour of Durham Castle need to purchase tickets at Palace Green Library and will be collected from the Library by the tour guide.
Concessions: (Senior Citizens, Students, Children up to 16) £3.50
Family Ticket £12
Group Rates: (for 10+) Adults £4.50;
Child/Senior Citizen £3.00
The nature and layout of the Castle, means that the majority of the building is inaccessible to wheelchair users. The tour route involves many steps and staircases, some of which are uneven. Unfortunately due to these reasons we cannot offer guided to visitors who have difficulties using stairs.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
A well-deserved building.
The title of this tip may appear a little confusing, so let me explain. The complex comprising Durham Cathedral and the Castle is quite properly a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a type of site I am trying to visit as many of as I can. I have noted on my homepage the lamentably few I have managed so far.
I can now add to the list the Cathedral and Castle in durham, both the subject of tips on this page. Before I visited either, however, I had seen a building billing itself as the "World Heritage Site Visitor Centre" and decided to pop in and have a little look. I am very glad I did as it proved to be most interesting and staffed by extremely helpful people who, like everyone else I met in durham, seemed to be intent on being very sociable and welcoming to the visitor. The Northeastern hospitality (which I had experienced, albeit many years before) is certainly all it is cracked up to be.
I was greeted in a very friendly manner by the lady on the desk who politely enquired what it was I needed to know, was I a visitor etc. and was encouraged to have a look round. I should mention at this point that admission is free. I enquired about photography, sometimes a slightly touchy subject and was told to help myself.
On entering,there was a very interesting exhibition about the World Heritage site concept generally, with interactive displays etc. and also more specific information relating to the particular site I was here to see. It was the excellent and knowledgeable lady that advised me to book my tour then for later in the day as they booked out, which I did not know. In the event, even off-season, I may have missed the tour as there are limited numbers and my tour appeared to be at capacity, so I was glad of that tip if nothing else. As an aside, I would suggest the visitor books as far ahead as possible to avoid disappointment. I also watched a twenty or so minute documentary film on a loop and made, I believe, by students from the local University regarding the history of the town. Apart from the obvious merits of allowing the students this chance to showcase their work, it was very professional, informative and useful.
As well as the World Heritage information, the place appears to be a centre for the arts and sale of local crafts / souvenirs and it is a good place to shop if that is your thing.
It is an excellent centre, very near to the attractions it represents, and I do recommend that you pop in for a little while if you are in the area.
- Budget Travel
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Anyone seen a ghost?
Sightseeing has a great habit of making me thirsty and so it was when I was wandering about the centre of Durham. Fortunately, there are plenty of opetions in the area, although rather too many of them are of the "fancy winde bar" variety for my liking. It was with great delight, therefore, that I came upon the Shakespeare, apparently dating back to 1109AD. Just think, the nearby Cathedral, which seems so ancient, would have been less than 30 years old at that time. By 1468AD, it was called the Ostler and Groom, presumably reflecting it's status as some sort of coaching inn (an ostler deals with horses).
The chalkboard sign outside declares it to be one of the most haunted pubs in England and I quizzed tha barman about that. With great candour if slightly less impressive salesmanship he informaed me that he had worked there for years and never seen a ghost. Ah well. If not a spectre, what you will see is a proper old-fashioned pub, no TV on (there was a small one in the corner), no piped music, no games machines or any of the other appurtenances of the modern boozer. It is so old-fashioned it does not even have it's own website! One of very few adornments on the walls was the wonderful old poster for the Newcastle Brewery (now subsumed into Heineken UK).
On a midweek afternoon off-season, I had the place near enough to myself and enjoyed a decent chat with the friendly barman already mentioned. This place really is worth a visit.
- Historical Travel
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
The Jewel in the Crown.
Durham is a fine historic place and there is much to see and do there but I would suggest that most visitors come primarily to visit the Cathedral, a hugely important ecclesiastical building and effectively the reason for the city's very existence. Approximately 600,000 people visit this UNESCO world heritage site every year and it is certainly worth a visit if you are here.
In 995AD a number of monks arrive here having been forced to leave their monastic settlement by raiders. Their most precious possession was the remains of St. Cuthbert which they carried on a bier and several miracles were ascribed to these remains causing the good brothers to establish a settlement in what was to become Durham. The Cathedral itself was begun in 1093 and took about 40 years to complete. I know this sounds a lot but when you see the sheer scale of the place and consider the equipment available to the builders, it really is not a lot. It is almost 500 feet (143 metres) long, built in the Norman (or Roamnesque) style and is regarded as one of the finest examples of that style in Europe. Most of the building is of that style and period although the huge central tower is later, being 15th century.
The Benedictine monastery associated with the Cathedral was closed in 1540 during the dissolution of the monasteries but the Cathedral was re-opened on 1641 albeit under a new religious guise. It contiuned much as before until 1650 during the English Civil War when Cromwell used to to incarcerate 3,000 Scotthish prisoners. It was subsequently refurbished on the Restoration in 1660 albeit perhaps none too sensitively.
The religious community here has long been a place of learning and in 1832 the Dean and Chapter formed a formalised Univerity which is one of the most prestigious in the UK until this day. Naturally it is also a place of great spirituality and, in additon to St. Cuthbert mentioned above, has close associations with Ss. Aidan, Hild, Margaret, Oswald and the Venerable Bede, writer of the first history of the English people. There are altars to the Saints in the Cathedral.
As a functioning place of worship, the Dean and Chapter have decided that photography is not allowed inside the Cathedral which is a puty but understandable. My photos, therefore, are all external and taken on a dull day so apologies for that.
Should you wish to visit, here are the logistics, taken mostly from the website.
The Cathedral is open for worship and private prayer between 7.30am and 9.30am Monday to Saturday; 7.45am and 12.30pm on Sunday
The Cathedral closes at 6.00pm Monday to Saturday, 5.30pm on Sunday.
there was extended opening until 2000 hours during the summer months in 2012, so check with them if this is the case in future.
Admission is free but obviously doneations are very welcome. There are admission charges to go up the Tower or visit the Monks Dormitory. You may further support the Cathedral by visiting thepleasant Undercroft Restaurant or making a purchase from the well-stocked gift shop. You can also pay to thave a guided tour (£5 adult, £4:50 concessions).
Tours are usually held at 10.30am, 11am and 2pm from April to October (except Sundays), but times may vary so please check before you arrive.
Most of the Cathedral and precinct is accessible to wheelchair users, but because this is an old building a few areas are not accessible. If any help whatsoever is needed please contact either a steward (purple or blue gown) or one of the Vergers. We have a Touch-and-Hearing Centre for the visually impaired, and have large print guides. There is further accessibility information on the website.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Great Statue, awful image!
I know I have mentioned it before on a number of my Durham tips on this page but in the couple of days I spent there the weather was, shall we say, less than kind and getting any sort of a decent image was really a non-starter and I apologise again. So it was with this rather impressive statue which stands overlooking the Market Square in the centre of Durham.
The rather stern looking military gentleman astride the horse rejoiced in the wonderful name of Charles William Vane Tempest Stewart (b.1778). Probably just as well he was the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry which is a lot easier to say. Born the son of the First Marquess and educated at Eton, he was commissioned into the British Army at 16, was a Member of the Irish Parliament at 18 and thereafter pursued parallel careers both military and political.
Having first seen action in Flanders at age 16, he subsequently served with distinction in the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and the later Peninsular Wars against Napolen where he was on the staff of the Duke of Wellington in addition toactive service. Politically, he was variously British Ambassador to Vienna and Governor of County Londonderry. Presumably the reason for his statue in Durham City is that he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Durham in 1842. Altogether an interesting character.
The website I have chosen for this tip is interesting albeit designed for schoolchildren. I am certainly not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here but it is an interesting look at the history of the statue, including it's removal for restoration some years ago. If you are wandering round Durham, which is easily navigable on foot, you will inevitably come upon this statue sooner or later. Take a moment to have a look and perhaps reflect on the life of a quite remarkable man.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Go for a walk.
It is well-known here on VT that I love to walk, I walk everywhere but generally if I am going out for a day's walking, i normally have it in my head that that is what I am going to do. It is not that often that I find myself trying to find my way back to where I am staying and end up going for a bit of an unscripted ramble but that is what happened here. I had visited the excellent Durham Light Infantry Museum and attached Durham Art Gallery (see seperate tips on this page) and din't really fancy walking back down the busy A691 road back into the city. When I saw a track with a public footpath sign I thought that if I went along that way, then I might find a road which must cross the nearby railway somewhere and then I could turn right..................., well you get the idea. So, without map or the faintest idea of local geography and wearing only a pair of training shoes as footwear, off I set.
What effectively happened was that I walked a couple of miles in the delightful surroundings of Aykley Heads, had some wonderful views over the city, saw a couple of pieces of outsoor sculpture before having to make my way back to where I had started and walk down the A691 anyway! It was only later that I found out that I had walked, at least in part, a designated path round the area known as the Jubilee Walk, opened in 2002. The walk is pretty gentle and it is suggested you allow 30 - 60 minutes to complete it. Unlike me, sensible footwear is recommended as parts can become slippery after rain. Also, exercise caution if you have children as the pond along the way is a hazard.
I didn't intend to do this but I am glad I did. I would like to do it all one day in decent weather. Best of all, it's free!
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Get your artistic head on.
I had visited the excellent Durham Light Infantry Regimental Museum (see seperate tip on this page) and whilst trying to find my way out, I saw a sign pointing upstairs to the "Durham Art Gallery". I am not normally a fan of art galleries but I was there, I was having a day sightseeing in this very agreeable city and I had no other firm plans, so I walked in and had the place entirely to myself. As I mentioned in my Museum tip it was a weekday morning in April and a fairly miserable one weatherwise so it is maybe not surprising.
Obviously, being an art gallery, the exhibitions are going to change and you should check the attached website for what is currently showing but I will give you a brief idea of the exhibition I saw. It was called "Recording Britain" and was arranged by the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This was a project initiated at the outbreak of the Second World War by the art historian Sir Kenneth Clark and involved 90 artists and photographers being commissioned to "make sympathetic records of vulnerable buildings, landscapes and livelihoods". By the time the project finished in 1843, there were over 1500 pieces and a selection of them were on display.
In truth, I would have thought many of the pieces were better suited to a Museum than an Art Gallery but I do not want to re-rehearse the "what is art?" argument here. They were an excellent social document of a not so long bygone age, certainly within the lifetime of my parents and I enjoyed it. Being an art gallery, there were some things that I would question the artistic validity of but in the main, it was very interesting.
If you want the logistics, here they are, taken from the website.
Open daily 10.00am - 4.00pm (November - March)
Open daily 10.00am - 5.00pm (April - October)
Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Adult Concession £3.70
Child (4 - 16 years) £2.70 (under 4 years free)
Family Pass (2 adults and up to 3 children) £12.40
Adult Concession £2.70
Child (4 - 16 years) £1.70 (under 4 years free)
Family Pass (2 adults and up to 3 children) £9.40
Free parking on site.
Cycle racks provided by main entrance.
Café serving drinks, snacks and light lunches.
Free WiFi throughout the café and whole building.
Shop with souvenirs, books and gifts for all ages.
Lift to all floors.
Assistance dogs allowed.
Landscaped grounds for picnics, relaxing or exploring, with the 'Jubilee Walk' woodland trail and wheelchair/pushchair friendly paths.
The gallery is fully accessible for visitors with disabilities. Please contact them for more information to help plan your visit.
Toilets and baby changing facilities.
If you visit for the military museum, you might as well have a look round here as well. If you are an art lover, well, you might want to come here and then have a quick look round the Museum. If you like both, you are in for a great day.
- Arts and Culture
A brilliant regimental Museum.
I don't believe I have ever done this before on VT and I am certainly not going to make a practice of it but I would like to dedicate this tip, such as it is, to the memory of the late R.S. "Geordie" Taylor, a wonderful man and dear friend now sadly taken from us and a very proud former member of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI).
From the paragraph above, and certainly if you have read some of my other pages, the reader will know that I absolutely adore military history and regimental museums. If there is such a place in town, that is my first port of call and so it was in Durham. I had read about the DLI museum and knew a little of the history of that Regiment and so I wandered a bit out of town on a dismal allegedly Spring day, through a pleasant prk and arrived at the fairly modern building you can see in one of the images. This in itself surprised me a little as, due to a number of factore, not least the constant and pernicious defence cuts, local regiments no longer exist and museums to them are normally tucked away as an adjunct to some other Museum. It seems almost unfashionable these days to commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of our forebears.
It was a dank, overcast day in April when I visited, so it was unsurprisingly quiet. Before I even entered the building and whilst finishing my cigarette, I had a chance to look at a couple of monuments outside, most strikingly the one to all recipients of the Victoria Cross from the Regiment. If you don't know, the VC is the highest bravery award available to British service personnel and is awarded extremely rarely. They range from Private Byrne in the Crimea in 1854 to Private Wakenshaw in North Africa in the Second World War. More of him later. As an ex-soldier, it was very sobering to stand here and think about what these men must have done to be honoured in this way.
Cigarette finished (I know, it is not good for me and I certainly do not recommend it) I wandered inside to be greeted by an extremely friendly chap. i was subsequently to find out that he was not actually an ex-Serviceman himself (not unusual) but an historian and he gave me a few pointers as to what to look for particularly. I took myself into what is a well laid out and very informative Museum which, despite the Regiments long history, seemed to concentrate on the two 20th century World Wars.
It really is a fascinating Museum and I had it more or less to myself. I had intended to spend perhaps an hour or 90 minutes but in the end I spent much longer than that, the place was so fascinating. In the way of VT, I only have space for five images here so I have created a travelogue to showcase some more of the things I saw. I should say that I had asked for permission to take photos (not always allowed in UK museums) and was told I could photograph whatever I wanted. I did not even have to resort to my VT Blogger Pass!
I do not intend to bore the reader here by listing all the individual interesting things I saw in the Museum, I shall explain more in the travelogue but I would just mention the field gun which Pte. Wakenshaw (mentioned above) died heroically serving and the medal room which is wonderful, there are no less than eight VC's on display here. It is still a work in progress but the staff are trying to research histories for all the soldiers whose groups (of medals) are displayed. I spent a lot of time in there.
OK, I have stated my interest in military history and if that is your game, this is one of the very best Regimental Museums it has been my pleasure to visit. Even if you are not so much of a military history buff, it is still a great place to visit and I do recommend it.
Here are the logistics, taken from the attached website and others.
Adult: £3.50, Annual £4.50
Seniors: £2.50, Annual £3.50
Groups: By appointment
Children: £1.50, Annual £2.50
1 Apr - 31 Oct Daily 10am - 5pm. 1 Nov - 31 Mar: Daily 10am - 4pm. Closed Christmas Eve & Day.
For travellers with disabilities I quote, "The DLI is fully accessible for visitors with disabilities. Please contact us for more information to help plan your visit. "
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
A statue of the start.
If you have loked at my indroductory page for Durham, you will know a little of the history of how the "modern" city was founded in 995 AD, albeit there were much earlier settlements dating bac to at least 2,000BC. If you have not read it, here is a very brief precis. Legend has it that a group of monks, having been driven from their monastic settlement in Lindisfarne and wandered for a considerable period with their most sacred relic, the remains of St. Cuthbert, finally arived (by way of a couple of miracles) here to found the city.
I was wandering round the city on a typically British summer dismal and rainy day when I came upon this statue in a local shopping centre. I found it very aesthetically pleasing, even though I know nothing about sculpture. It depicts the monks bearing the bier with St. Cuthbert's relics and the fact that it was in such miserable weather added poignancy to the idea of the original pilgrimage which had ranged over Northern England and Southern Scotland. The work of local sculptor Fenwick Lawson, it was installed in 2008 and now stands in Millenium Square in the centre of the city.
Like most things, I suppose familiarity breeds contempt and I was looked at with open amazement by locals as I stood in the damp condidions taking photos. Well, I am always up for being stared at in the name of a VT tip so here are the results of my labours!
The statue is beautifuly rendered and there are explanatory boards on the wall of the adjacent shop. It really is worth a look.
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
If you have not read other pages of mine you may be wondering why I am putting a food establishment in the things to do category rather than the restaurant category, so allow me to explain. I write many tips that could easily fit into more than one category so I have a general rule that if a place has somewhere to sit and eat, if only a single table and a few chairs outside, it is in the restaurant category and if not it is a thing to do.
Having explained that, let me tell you about Alhana. I wandered in here one night pretty hungry and when just about everything was shut. The first thing that struck me was how extensive the menu was. It really runs the whole gamut of late night munchies with pizza, burgers, kebabs and of course, falafel. I should mention here that there were some extremely attractive special deals but you really would need more than one person to eat them.
Flying solo, I decided that kebab was the order of the day and duly ordered a small doner. I know from long experience that large kebabs are often ordered and rarely finished as the eye is bigger than the belly and all that kind of thing! Actually, when I said I ordered a small doner, I didn't really as that was not an option. Presumably for advertising reasons, I had a choice of large or X large, so I opted for large, that being the smaller of the two. It turned out to be plenty large enough for me.
During the short time I was in the premises, I did have a friendly conversation with the extremely affable cook who gave me some good tips for things to see in the city on my sightseeing the next day. I also had a chance to have a look round the place and it was spotless. Returning to my "digs" for the much-needed midnight feast, I found it to be absolutely excellent. The meat was neither greasy nor horribly dried out as doner meat can so often be and it was served in a nice warm bread with the sauces (garlic and chilli naturally) obviously freshly made and extremely tasty. I was so taken that I returned for another one the next night, which must tell you something.
I realise this is a fairly long tip about a a simple kebab shop but I feel this place deserves it and I really do recommend Alhana.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
Durham cathedral is thought to be one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in England. The church contains the tomb of The Venerable Bede and St Cuthbert, a 7th Century Saxon saint. It is a World Heritage site.
The Cathedral was started in 1093 planned and begun by Bishop Carileph. It was completed in 40 years and it is the only Cathedral in England to retain all of its Norman craftsmanship.
An earlier Cathedral was built to house the shrine of Saint Cuthbert, who was a much loved Saint in Northumberland. His body was brought to Durham in 995 along with the Lindisfarne gospels which were later removed from Durham during Henry VIII’s reformation.
The bones of The Venerable Bede were brought to the previous Cathedral in 1022. Bede died in 735 after writing the first history of England. A shrine was built for him in 1370 but later it was destroyed during the reformation. His tomb lies within the church.
The Cathedral was also used as a prison for captive Scottish troops taken by Oliver Cromwell’s troops at the battle of Dunbar in 1650.
St Cuthbert died in 687 AD. Pilgrims flocked to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to see his resting place. In 793 AD England was invaded by Vikings from Scandinavia. The Vikings ransacked Lindisfarne and killed some of the monks that lived there. The remaining monks fled but came back later to find Cuthbert’s tomb untouched. The Vikings came back 80 years later so the monks of Lindisfarne took Cuthbert’s body in a coffin on a cart to keep them safe. They travelled the North-East with the coffin, taking him from Chester-le-street to Durham. At first the monks pushed the cart but eventually they acquired a horse to pull the cart. Some of the places that Cuthbert’s body was taken to for safe keeping included, Carlisle, Burnsall, Workington, Marton, Ormesby, Wilton, Kirkleatham, Billingham, Chester-le-street, Ripon, Stockton finally resting at Durham. A little church was built of wood at Durham for the bones to rest.
On September 4th 999 a large stone church was erected and dedicated to St Cuthbert. It became known as the white church. Other holy relics were buried at this church including the Venerable Bede. When William the Conqueror invaded England the monks fearing he would destroy the bones of the holy people moved them back to Lindisfarne. After four months they returned to Durham. In 1104 Cuthbert’s shrine was placed in a new Norman Cathedral where they still are today behind the high altar. St Bede’s remains are in the west end of the Cathedral.
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