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Durham

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom England North East England County Durham Durham

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Introduction

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

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The Cathedral City of Durham is an intriguing and historic small city, built in an imposing location on a high peninsula of the River Wear. Founded around 1000 AD by an order of Lindisfarne monks, attractions here include one of the world's finest cathedrals. The city has about 45,000 inhabitants.

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Sights and Activities

  • Durham Cathedral - built in 1093 AD, one of the finest examples of Norman architecture still existing.
  • Durham Castle - another example of Norman architecture and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site (together with the cathedral).
  • The colleges of The University of Durham - the third oldest university in England (following Oxford and Cambridge), partly housed within the castle but with other listed college buildings including Hatfield College and St John's College.

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Weather

Durham, like the rest of England, has martime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Summers last from June to August when daytime temperatures average between 18 and 20 °C while night are mostly around 10 °C. Winters from December to February see highs of 6-7 °C and nights slightly above zero. Rainfall averages around 650mm a year, with most of the rain falling between August and December, though the rest of the year is marginally drier.

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Getting There

By Plane

The closest airport is Durham Tees Valley Airport (MME), offering direct flights to Aberdeen, Amsterdam, London (Heathrow) and Dublin, as well as a number of airports in Spain. Newcastle International Airport (NCL) is also within a reasonable distance.

By Train

Durham is situated on the main East Coast line between London and Scotland. Direct trains serve destinations including Newcastle, York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

By Car

Durham is a short distance from the A1 motorway.

By Bus

National Express coach services travel direct from various destinations across the UK.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Most locations are served by local buses.

By Foot

The city is compact enough to explore on foot with attractive paths and walkways including the footpath beside the River Wear.

By Bike

Durham is a cycle-friendly city, though it is fairly hilly, so either a high level of fitness or a selection of gears would be required.

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Eat

Choices include The Almshouses, in an old building near the cathedral, and The Pumphouse another restaurant serving English/European dishes. There are several affordable and good quality Indian restaurants in the centre of town.

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Drink

There are plenty of traditional English pubs to choose from including the popular Dun Cow.

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Sleep

Budget

The official YHA Durham City is located in the historic Chad's College building, very close to the Cathedral.

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Durham UniversityConferernce and Tourism Office Mountjoy Research Centre Block 2Hostel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.

Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.

Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.

Post

The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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This is version 19. Last edited at 8:30 on Aug 27, 13 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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