At Durham Castle, every stone has a story to tell, and every room is a chapter in a grand narrative that stretches back to the Norman Conquest. Overlooking the River Wear and strategically situated opposite Durham Cathedral, the castle was originally built in 1072 on the orders of William the Conqueror.
Designed to assert Norman power in the region, the castle evolved over the years into not just a defensive stronghold but also a luxurious residence, brimming with historical complexities and architectural marvels.
Begin your tour with the Norman Chapel, one of the oldest parts of the castle and an example of simple yet evocative early Romanesque architecture.
Its rounded arches and stark construction transport you back to a time when the Normans were the new rulers of the land, keen on cementing their religious and political might.
As you move along, the Great Hall unfolds before your eyes. Conceived in the 14th century but modified over time, the hall serves as a symbol of the castle’s evolution from military fortress to noble residence.
With its imposing wooden beams and grand fireplace, you can almost hear the echoes of feasting and festivities that once filled this space.
Since 1837, the castle has been part of University College, Durham, providing student accommodation and academic facilities. Imagine studying in a room where knights might have once slept, or discussing philosophy in a hall where lords and ladies debated matters of state!
Special exhibitions and tours bring other corners of the castle to life. From the Bishop’s Suite, laden with opulent Georgian furnishings, to the Tunstall Gallery, which exhibits portraits of figures linked to the castle’s rich history, each space adds another layer of context and meaning to this iconic structure.
Address – Durham, DH1 3RW
Telephone – 0191 334 3800
Website – https://www.durhamworldheritagesite.com