c Beamish, The North of England Open Air Museum is an open-air museum located at Beamish, near the town of Stanley, County Durham, England. The museum's guiding principle is to preserve an example of everyday life in urban and rural North East England at the climax of industrialisation in the early 20th century.
Much of the restoration and interpretation is specific to the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, together with portions of countryside under the influence of industrial revolution in 1825. On its 300 acres (120 ha) estate it utilises a mixture of translocated, original and replica buildings; a huge collection of artifacts, working vehicles and equipment; as well as livestock and costumed interpreters.
The museum has received a number of prestigious awards since it opened its present site to visitors in 1972 and has been influential on other "living museums". It is a significant educational resource, and helps to preserve some traditional north-country and rare livestock breeds.
Durham Lumiere is a bi-annual lights festival featuring a series of light installations and projections on Durham's buildings, streets and bridges. The first edition was in November 2009 (which I missed), and the second in November 2011 (which we did attend). The festival, produced by Artichoke, is expected to return in November 2013, too!
Most of the installations are on from 6pm to 11pm, with the Crown of Light being the main exception - the Cathedral show starts half an hour later, at 6.30pm.
Some other notable light artworks on show were New Moon, Liquid Space, Utopia, Binary Waves, 60 Secon Cathedral, Be Faithful to Your Dreams (by the artist Tracey Emin), as well as several artworks on the city's bridges.
To Keep in Mind:
The festival is very popular with both locals and tourists so expect the city centre to be crowded. We had to queue for over 30 minutes to go up to the Durham Cathedral to see Lumiere's centerpiece - the Crown of Light show on the walls of the Cathedral.
There are 325 steps to the top of the tower. It's quite a climb and the upper part is very narrow. However the view from the top of the Cathedral, city of Durham and surrounding countryside is pretty spectacular.
The Tower is open all year round. It's closed though during most services and events. Also at times of bad weather.
The current admission is £5.00.
We arrived at Prince Bishops car park, and shortly after reached Market square. So many interesting things meet the eye. St Nicholas church stands at one corner. The Market Hall is magnificent. The Market Tavern catches the eye, and there are the war memorial and the statue of Neptune, which dates to 1729.
Around the square are banks, shops and cafes.
Cobbled streets lead from it.
Durham lies in the loop on the River Wear. From the Cathedral we walked down to the river and along , coming up the steps beside Elvet Bridge, This gives wonderful views of the cathedral, weirs and Framwellgate Bridge.
The river itself is rather dirty, and fallen trees can be seen., probably deposited by flood.
The castle was built in the 11th century. It is the only castle in England that was never breached.
Nowadays it is used as residences for the University of Durham, and it is not always open to the public.
It was closed when we visited, but we were able to see the quadrangle with its lovely buildings ; some with heraldic adornment, others with creeper -clad walls; and the lawns. The heavy doors have a heavy iron bar to keep it closed.
I particularly admired the pepper-pots on the roof, and the heraldic shields.
The cathedral as we know it today was built by the Normans in 1093. The earliest part is where the bones of the Venerable Bede are buried, and the relics of St Cuthbert.I really liked the arched ceiling.
The main body of the cathedral is rather dark, with light entering through the various stained glass windows. A font stands near the entry, with a tall wooden structure around and above it.
Photography is not allowed in the Cathedral.
The Cathedral is well worth a visit to see its interior - photography is not allowed but you can visit various websites for photos of that. I contented myself with walkin around the outside in the lovely sunshine, enjoying all the angles possible! This view shows off the cathedral window.
Durham is famous for its castle and cathedral atop the hill above the city. These buildings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle is not always open as it's also part of Durham university, but was the first building here from the late 11th century, on the same site is the Norman cathedral (dedicated to Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the saints Cuthbert and Bede) which although free to enter, a donation is appreciated. However at 11.00 and 14.30 one of the chaplains will take visitors for a tour with commentary for about an hour. Questions are welcome. The grounds also contain the original cloisters from when the cathedral was a monastery. These buildings contain accommodation for the university and a refrectory.
This Norman Fortress began to be built in 1073. These days the castle is now part of Durham University. You're able to look round the exteriors and the grounds but you'll need to join a guided tour (cost 5 GBP) to look inside.
The Norman Cathedral was built between 1093 and 1274 by Bishop Carileph and was the church of the Benedictine Monastry until The Reformation during the 16th Century. The cathedral has a variety of architectural designs including ribbed vaults and the lozenge and chevron carvings on the structures suggesting Moorish influence from Spain.
You're able to explore most of the Cathedral including the Nave, the Quire, the Sanctuary and High Alter, St. Cuthbert's Shrine, the Galilee Chapel and the Cloisters. There is no charge to look around the cathedral although a donation is always appreciated. For a charge, 5 GBP, you can go up one of the towers for great views over the city centre.
I had an enjoyable visit to the Cathedral, and the quite and cool of the Cathedral of a welcome change from the heat and bustle of the area around this building. The University was in full swing when I made the visit, and the students were lively and noisy.
The visit took place on a late Friday afternoon. The facilities were closed; however I did encounter the Choirsters (school boys) who were sitting in fully costume. They were in fact being told of by a clerical gentleman.
It was a pleasant place to visit, scale and style of architecture was awesome.
Market place is Durham's main town square. It is dominated by two statues. The largest is an equestrian bronze, by Raffaelle Monti, of Charles William Vane Stewart, 3rd Marquis of Londonderry and Lord Lieutenant of County of Durham, wearing his hussar uniform. It was unveiled on December 2nd, 1861. The second statue, which is much older, is a stone figure of Neptune, wearing a crown and carrying a trident, astride a small dolphin. It was commissioned by George Bowes, who gave it to the town, in 1729, as a symbol of the scheme to link Durham to the sea by improved navigation of the River Wear.
Market Place is flanked by the Town Hall, Guildhall and St. Nicholas Church. It is a very pretty square.
Okay, so the pits are all closed in County Durham now (as in most of the UK), but the Gala goes from strength to strength. There's a lot less emphasis on the politics now, but you finds what you needs. The banners from the pits parade through the town from around 0900 along with the brass bands, each stopping to play to the dignitaries on the balcony of the Royal County Hotel before marching onwards to the Racecourse and relaxation. You can often find a band or a bit of live music impromptu in the bars throughout the evening. A great day.
There's also a service in the Cathedral at 3pm.
The gala takes place on the 2nd Saturday of July each year. Come along, you're all more than welcome.
Durham Castle started as a fort on a mound, commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1072. It has a traditional motte and bailey design. For centuries it served as the residence of the Bishops of Durham, but since the 1830s it has been taken over by University College, Durham.
The Castle doubles as Hogwarts School in Harry Potter films.
Entrance is by guided tour only. The tours are usually given by a university don or student. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes.They take place on most days outside of term-time, and each day from Easter to 30th September. For other periods tours are on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Adults £5, Senior Citizens, Students, Children up to 16 £3.50