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Durham Travel Guide

Durham Castle



Durham Castle is one of the largest and best preserved Norman castles and Romanesque palaces to survive in England and, it was designated as World Heritage Site in 1987, along with nearby Durham Cathedral.

The Durham Castle was founded in 1072 by the King William the Conqueror, shortly after the Norman Conquest, to help pacify the rebellious Saxons of the North England. During the early medieval ages it was a strategic fortress to defend the border with Scotland. After the castle was the seat of the Prince Bishops of Durham until 1832, and since 1836 the castle has housed the Foundation College of Durham University.

When the castle was turned over to the university, it contained the entire university. As the university grew, the castle became housing for both university officials and students.

Durham Castle lies oppositely to the Cathedral on Palace Green and is an important historical landmark in the city; many times has suffered changes and upgrades over the centuries and there are few original features now left.

The castle can be visited on a guided tour lasting approximately 45 minutes, the highlights of which are the medieval kitchen and the Great Hall with its minstrel gallery. There are tours on most days during term time, and every day during holidays.

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