Living in Durham
Situated in the north east of England, Durham is a stunning city to look at and makes an impressive setting for Durham University, one of the oldest universities in the country.
First impressions of Durham suggest that someone accidentally dropped the film set from Harry Potter between a couple of hills and let the bits slide all over the place. Everywhere you go in the city centre there are old-fashioned paved streets and medieval road systems, Georgian buildings and Victorian houses.
The two best-known sights in Durham face each other across the river from the tops of their hills (You’re going to find a lot of hills in Durham). One is Durham Cathedral, called the “finest Norman building in Europe’ - so there! It’s an amazing building to visit both inside and out, and since you’ll be having your graduation ceremony here too it’s best to scope it out sooner rather than later to figure out where the best seats are. On the opposite hill is Durham Castle, now used by Durham University as a college and residential hall. It makes quite a dramatic sight perched on it’s rocky outcrop overlooking the river.
All the students are well provided for in the city centre, where you’ll find a good amount of shopping including big name brands, but also a lot of independant places and a covered market for picking up bargains and groceries. There’s also a lot of classy cafes and restaurants you can use to impress your mum when she comes to visit. The nightlife in Durham is distinctly one-sided in favour of pubs, but there are a few clubs. One worth mentioning is Klute, formerly named the worst club in Britain! However they’ve cleaned up their act -although the music is as cheesy as ever- and it’s now a student favourite, along with Loveshack and Jimmy Allen’s. For those who prefer a proper pint of real ale and a shady pub corner, The Dun Cow, Shakespeare or Woodman come highly recommended.
Day off! What should I do?
- Sport: Despite all those hills, Durham has managed to find some flat areas for sports fields. There are professional cricket, football, and rugby clubs, and an awful lot of rowing on the River Wear including several big races and a regatta every year.
- Durham Dales: This area of the North Pennines is known for its amazing views, and is a great place for stretching your legs and getting some fresh air. Try and find High Force, the highest unbroken waterfall in England with a 20m straight drop.
- Wharton Park: Keeping it nice and simple. Bring some mates, a couple of sandwiches, and some revision books (As if!) and spend the afternoon lazing around in the sun and enjoying some of the best views Durham has to offer.
Good to know
- Taxi: Mac’s Taxis
- The infamous slope that runs through the science buildings is nicknamed “Cardiac Hill”. Consider yourself notified.
- Ladies, Durham is beautiful but it’s also cobbled. If you want to keep your ankles intact then only wear your sensible heels, or else stuff a pair of flip flops in your bag for the walk home. You’ll thank us later.
Read Durham Reviews
A cute, cozy city, Durham can appeal to all- the culturally inclined (with an eclectic mix of local restaurants, cafes, and of course the cathedral), the sporting inclined (with acres of sports fields and facilities), and night owls (the clubbing scene is a true experience, with no night complete without a trip to the infamous Klute).