Durham, July 29 - August 4
Excursion to York, and things to do in Durham
There will be an organized excursion to York leaving at 2pm from Collingwood College on Friday 1st and arriving in York (at the St. John's coach park) at 3pm for an afternoon of sightseeing. The bus will return from York at 9pm. York is one of the finest and best preserved medieval cities in England. Founded by the Romans, "Jorvik" served as the Capital of the Danelaw (The part of England controlled by the Vikings), and was later embroilled in the War of the Roses (a civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York).
Things to do and see: see York Minster (The largest medieval Gothic cathedral north of the Alps, open till 8.30pm, evensong at 5pm, organ rehearsal afterwards) with its fabulous Rose Window; walk the (still intact) city walls; see the Jorvik Viking Exibition in Coppergate; see the Richard IIIrd museum (housed in Monk Bar, the tallest and most impressive of the Medieval Gatehouses, the exhibition tells the story of Richard III, King of England (1483-1485)); see Clifford's Tower (no relation) once the central stronghold of York Castle built by William the Conqueror to control the unruly North. For more information visit this page. Please note that museums will shut at around 5pm (Clifford's tower at 6pm) so you should arrange to see these first.
Durham City is one of the most exciting visual and architectural experiences in Europe. For over nine centuries the magnificent Norman cathedral and castle have dominated the town from their dramatic location high above the River Wear. The castle and cathedral are now a World Heritage Site. The massive cathedral, “Half church of God, half castle ‘gainst the Scot”, is widely acclaimed as one of the world’s finest buildings. It was built to house the shrine of St Cuthbert. Since then the cathedral and St Cuthbert’s shrine have attracted pilgrims and travellers from all over the world. Founded in 1072, Durham Castle remains one of England’s largest and best preserved Norman strongholds and one of its grandest surviving Romanesque Palaces. Downhill from the castle and cathedral you can still trace Durham’s Mediaeval layout in its narrow winding streets and vennels
A list of events in Durham can be found here.
Cathedral Visits: Durham Cathedral was founded in 1093 by William St Carileph. Carileph designed the greater part of the Cathedral of Durham as it stands today and began its construction in the year 1093. Unfortunately Carileph did not live to see the completion of his cathedral in 1135. The Cathedral houses a Museum, with various treasures, including the coffin (barely intact) of St Cuthbert, and ancient manuscripts dating from the 7th century.
Walking the Peninsula: The Cathedral and Castle are situated on a sharp bend in the river Wear known as "The Peninsula"; there is a beautiful riverside walk around it that we recommend. You can get down to the river by the steps at Elvet Bridge. There is a map at the bottom of the steps.
The Botanical Gardens: just behind Collingwood college are the University's botanical gardens. This is a nice place to walk around for an hour or so, with sculptures, and a butterfly house.
Music: Throughout the week there will be a festival of folk music with bands playing at various venues around the City most days. Information can be found in the tourist information centre at the Millenium Centre (just off Market Square).
Guided Walks: Most afternoons there are guided walks around the city. They begin at 2pm from the Tourist Information Centre at the Millenium Centre. Adults 3 pounds, children free. Call 0191 384 3720 for information.
Newcastle is the nearest big city. The impressive waterfront has been recently revamped and is a nice place to while away the afternoon. Things to see there include the famous "blinking" footbridge, and the Baltic Modern Art Gallery which will be showing an Anthony Gourmley exhibition during the meeting. Newcastle can be reached by 20 minute train journey from Durham Station or by taxi (approx 20 pounds). If you have a car, you can visit Hadrian's Wall, Raby Castle (no relation), Alnwick Castle (home of Harry Potter) in about 1hr.