City WalksDurhamHistorical EnterprisesText Box: ‘Half church of God, half castle ‘gainst the Scot’: Durham City’s Defences

In addition to its cathedral, Durham's castle is an integral part of the city skyline, and is a reminder that Durham was a fortress throughout mediaeval times, and also the centre of the administration of the Bishop's Palatinate jurisdiction. The Castle is only one element in the city's defences and this walk looks at what can still be seen of the fortifications and also explores the sites of those parts that are no longer visible.

'Half church of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot': Durham City's defences 

Ghosts and Grisly Death in Durham City

Text Box: Ghosts and Grisly Death in Durham City

In the mid-nineteenth century Durham was an over-crowded, disease-ridden, and filthy town. Its streets were covered in animal dung, blood and mud, and the smells would have been almost unbearable. Explore that Durham through the words of its inhabitants of the time and the government official who inspected the town in 1849, and visit some of the locations (now much changed!) identified in the Public Health Report.

Death, Dirt & Disease in Durham City

The battle of Neville's Cross was fought on 17 October 1346 between English and Scottish armies on Crossgate Moor, on the outskirts of the city. Some of the battlefield is now covered by urban development, but much is still open. Walk around the battlefield site and listen to the story of the battle as it unfolded, from the initial manoeuvres to the capture of king David II of Scotland and the celebrations of the English victory.

The Battle of Neville’s Cross, 1346

In the nineteenth century the north-west quarter of Durham City contained several large estates, among them the Dryburn estate of William Lloyd Wharton, who was a key figure in many of the developments in the city which occurred in the first half of that century. This walk looks at an area of the city not often explored by visitors, and seeks out what can still be seen of the contribution of William Wharton, and his contemporaries, to the city.

A Wharton Wander: North-west Durham City in the nineteenth century

A walk which explores aspects of the history of the city from its founding, one thousand years ago, to the present day, and concentrates on the centre of the city from the Market Place to the Cathedral. Elements from most of the other walks are woven together in this walk and it is probably the most suitable for anyone who only has a limited time in the City, and wishes to understand its history and growth.

An Introduction to the history of Durham City

Durham is encircled by the River Wear and there are now eight bridges spanning the river and built at different times over the last nine hundred years. The river was also the defensive moat to the castle, and worked for its living by powering several water mills. This walk follows Durham's famed tree-covered riverbanks and looks at the river's contribution to the city's life.

Bridges and Mills: Crossing and using the River Wear in Durham City

Elvet, the 'swan-island', is an area of Durham which most visitors do not explore, but this walk features some of the most interesting buildings in the city, including medieval barns, bridge and church, an early nineteenth century prison (with the site for public executions), and the late nineteenth century Shire Hall. Elvet is also the site of a Saxon settlement which predates the present city.

Exploring Elvet: A town walk in south-east Durham City 

Text Box: Exploring Elvet: A town walk in south-east Durham City

In common with all ancient cathedral cities Durham was made up of a number of small parishes each with its parish church, one of which is, literally, within the shadow of the Cathedral. The walk looks at the churches of St. Nicholas, St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Oswald, St. Mary-le-Bow and St. Mary the Less, and also at some of the other places of worship in the City.

A City at Prayer: Durham City’s Churches

Text Box: Crossgate: Town and Country

The medieval Durham suburb of Crossgate had both an urban and a rural aspect.   This walk will look at how these two elements were reflected in the mid-nineteenth century, and how the area developed.

Crossgate: Town and Country

The Durham coalfield was one of the most significant coal-producing areas in the country, but how did this affect the county town?   Find out how much of the city’s mining history is still visible, and discover coal and coal mines within sight of the cathedral.

(Black) Diamonds are forever: Durham City and Durham coal

Themed guided walks are available around Durham City. These walks can be tailored to meet your needs, and can take as little 30 minutes or last for as long as you wish. In distance they range between 1 and 2 miles (1.6 and 3 kilometres).  More (and longer) walks in the immediate vicinity of the city are also available, please contact us.

Text Box: An Introduction to the history of Durham City
Text Box: A Wharton Wander—North-west Durham City in the nineteenth century
Text Box: Bridges and Mills—Crossing and using the River Wear in Durham City
Text Box: A City at Prayer—Durham City’s Churches
Text Box: Death, Dirt & Disease in Durham City
Text Box: The Battle of Neville’s Cross, 1346
Text Box: Durham Railtrail

Durham has been served by four railway stations in the last 170 years, but the ‘Old Main Line’ bypassed the city, trains did not commence running over the magnificent viaduct until 1857, and it was not until 1872 that main-line expresses began to reach the city.   Discover what remains of the city’s railway heritage on this walk (which has some steep climbs).

Durham Railtrail

Text Box: (Black) Diamonds are forever: Durham City and Durham Coal