Photo: Harry Willis

Durham Castle lies nestled in the heart of the city. The castle itself is Norman, and since 1840 it has been occupied by University College, Durham. Before this the castle was the home of the Prince Bishops of Durham, giving it an unusual history.

The castle stands proudly at the top of a hill above the River Wear on Durham’s peninsula, opposite Durham Cathedral. The castle is open to the general public but only through guided tours due to the nature of its use as a working building, home to over 100 students.

A prime example of an early motte and bailey castle favoured by the Normans, Durham Castle was built in the 11th century as a sign of the Norman King’s power in the north of England. The castle is dominated by the keep, but the older and greater part of the castle is situated to the west of the keep which historically was accessed via a draw bridge.

See the castle’s Great Hall, created by Bishop Antony Bek in the early 14th century. It was once the largest in Britain. Students and staff now take their daily meals in the Great Hall, and it is fantastic to see the Hall still being put to its full use.


University College, The Castle, Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RW
Tel: 0191 334 4108
Times: Open by guided tour only.