Insider Durham – top things to do
Durham’s famous Cathedral is just the tip of the iceberg. Wander heather-topped hills, explore twisty cobbled streets and feed your brain with museums and architecture. Here’s Virgin’s guide to food, fun and fab shopping in Durham.
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Need inspiration? What to see
You’ll get an awesome view of Durham Cathedral as you approach the station on the East Coast Main Line.
To see the magnificent Norman building up-close and personal, walk over Framwellgate Bridge or take the shuttle bus. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – that puts it in the top division of tourist hotspots. Clamber up 325 steps to be rewarded with views that’ll make you go ‘wow!’ – Durham City, the River Wear and the Angel of the North.
Do the locomotion at Shildon National Railway Museum, the little brother of the more famous York attraction. Relive the romance of steam travel in days gone by and admire the workmanship that went into building real steam engines. (It’s locomotives galore, but if you’re looking for cheap train tickets to Durham, booking online with Virgin is still a better bet.)
The Oriental Museum, part of Durham University, gathers together beautiful objects and ancient stories from every corner of Asia and North Africa. Archaeology buffs, art historians and anyone who loves exquisite things will be round-eyed with awe at the Tibetan wall-hangings and Chinese jade. At £1.50 for adult admission and 75p for kids, it’s a total steal.
Get lost in an a-maze-ing maze and lose yourself in a pretty garden inspired by Shakespeare. This medieval idyll is tucked away behind the city’s riverbanks. Every glorious garden here has a different theme. The afternoon tea is good too and there's a pork pie led not for the dainty gentleman's tea too.
Find Boots, New Look, River Island, Topshop and more around the Silver Street area and in Prince Bishops shopping centre.
Vintage shops, independents and homewares
In Durham City you can find one-off shops dedicated to running and fitness, Fairtrade food and crafts, outdoorsy clothing and yummy deli food.
Label lovers – designer shopping
Van Mildert: This award-winning boutique has everything from Stone Island jackets and polo shirts by Ralph Lauren for him to Vivienne Westwood knitwear and Joules floral prints for her.
Where: 19/21 Elvert Bridge DH1 3AA
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