Durham University Attractions

Durham Castle

Sitting at the heart of Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage site, Durham Castle is one of the city’s best known landmarks. Originally built as an imposing fortress, the Castle was witness to some of England’s most momentous historic events - from the Norman Conquest to the English Civil War.

The story of Durham Castle is entwined with that of the famed Prince-Bishops of Durham, some of the most powerful and wealthy men ever to live in England. Over the centuries this military stronghold evolved first into a luxurious palace and then, in the Victorian period, into a place of learning, as the first college of Durham University.

Discover the unique magic of Durham Castle for yourself on one of our guided tours, or walk around at your own pace on one of our summer self-guided days.

Palace Green Library

Palace Green Library, nestled between Durham Cathedral and Castle, was originally built as an administrative centre for the medieval bishops of Durham. The site was later developed as a library by Bishop John Cosin in the 17th century, and served as the University’s main library for 150 years.

Today, Palace Green Library is open to anyone who wishes to explore the University’s amazing treasures and collections.  Researchers can browse our archives and book collections in the Reading Room, whilst our Special Exhibitions Gallery offers a regularly changing programme of displays, sharing world class collections and bringing Durham University research to life for visitors of all ages. Palace Green Library also boasts a comfortable café and a well-stocked shop.

Durham Light Infantry Collection Gallery

The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) has a special place in the story of Durham. Find out why at the DLI Collection Gallery: Courage, Comrades, Community.

Located within Palace Green Library, the DLI Collection Gallery tells the story of the regiment through the lives of the soldiers who served in it. Learn more about their brave deeds and see the Victoria Cross awarded to Private Michael Heaviside for saving the life of an injured comrade.

Museum of Archaeology

Journey through 10,000 years of Durham’s history at the Museum of Archaeology. This family-friendly museum tells the story of Durham from the end of the last Ice Age onwards. If you are visiting with children, there’s plenty to do at the Museum of Archaeology.

Try dressing up, follow our museum trails, or explore our Iron Age round house. Our collection focuses on the archaeology of North East England but also includes both national and international treasures. Find us upstairs or via the accessible lift at Palace Green Library.

The Gallery

The Gallery is a new public platform for Durham University’s outstanding permanent collection of modern art, containing the work of some of the greatest names in 20th and 21st century Western art, as well as works by emerging artists.

The Gallery is the focus for an ambitious programme of changing exhibitions and art projects. Inspired by the artworks on display, we run talks, workshops and family-friendly activities alongside each exhibition.

Oriental Museum

Home to amazing artefacts from Ancient Egypt and the Near and Middle East, China, Japan, Korea, South Asia and Southeast Asia, the Oriental Museum is one of County Durham’s ‘hidden gems’. 

There is plenty for all the family to do including family trails, games and dressing up.  The collections range in date from prehistoric pottery more than 6,000 years old to modern works of art.  See ancient Egyptian mummies and stunning jades from the Chinese imperial workshops alongside Japanese samurai weapons and armour and Indian jewellery.  The museum is open daily and has both a small café and attractive gift shop.

Botanic Garden 

Durham University’s 10 hectare Botanic Garden is set amongst beautiful mature woodlands on the southern outskirts of Durham city.  A popular visitor destination for visitors and locals alike, the garden attracts guests both young and old throughout the year. Wander through the alpine garden, winter garden, bamboo grove, glass houses and our recently developed woodland garden and wild flower meadow.

Explore this unique garden and discover something new around each corner over the changing seasons. Our visitor centre is open daily, for you to treat yourself to something refreshing in the coffee shop and visit the gift shop.

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Durham Castle Tours

Durham Castle Tours

Durham Castle is part of the Durham City World Heritage Site. Entrance by guided tour only. Opening…

Palace Green Library: DLI Collection Gallery

DLI Collection at Palace Green Library

Explore the history of the Durham Light Infantry enjoying items from the collection with…

Entrance of Oriental Museum

Durham University Oriental Museum

Explore Ancient Egypt and Western Asia, the Himalayas, China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia all…

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