St Mary the Virgin Church is an excellent example of an English village church, built in the mid 19th century to serve the rapidly expanding population of the county. It’s situated in Shincliffe (near Elvet) and accepts visitors at any time. The church has a number of interesting stained glass windows, which symbolise modern and historic events and Bible stories. There are war memorials on pillars and in stained glass windows respectively, for the First and Second World Wars. You can visit St Mary the Virgin church in Shincliffe on Tuesday evenings to hear the campanologists (bell ringers) in full swing.
Durham boasts the oldest student accommodation anywhere in the world (an immaculately preserved Norman castle), one of the finest cathedrals in Britain, and its entire city centre is an architectural conservation area packed with remarkable listed buildings. Durham might not be the biggest city in the UK, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in history.
Great places to visit in Durham!
In Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson recommended the city so wholeheartedly that its highly regarded university (third in the UK after Oxford and Cambridge) made him Chancellor. The author called Durham a “perfect little city” – and when you’ve spent a few hours wandering its network of cobbled streets, you’ll find it hard to disagree. Well stocked with students, traditional pubs and World Heritage sites, Durham’s the quintessentially English city. Pleasure seekers looking for the temptations of a huge metropolis need not apply. But if beauty’s your thing, Durham’s the place to be.
St Mary the Virgin Church
Durham University Oriental Museum
From Samurai swords to Ming Dynasty porcelain, the Durham University Oriental Museum contains some of the most extensive and respected collections of Chinese; Japanese; Egyptian; Himalayan; Tibetan; and Southeast Asian artefacts in the country. Guest exhibitions add to the romance of the East with a constantly rotating programme of fascinating events. The Museum is open throughout the week and on Bank Holidays, and charges a minimal fee for admission. You can also visit the café and shop without having to pay to get in. A family ticket is offered, which gives great value for money: you can take two adults and as many as three children in.
Durham Castle is the official seat of the University College Durham, which is known simply as “Castle” to its teaching staff and students. Because it’s an active part of the University, you have to arrange a guided tour in order to visit: tours are conducted by enthusiastic students, and include the opportunity to visit the haunted Black Staircase. Tours run daily, seven days per week. You’ll need to call ahead to book a place on an available tour, so make sure you plan your visit before you turn up. Tours run during term time only, and may not take place during exam periods.