Durham Castle

Durham Castle, County Durham
Durham Castle - © Jungpionier

Durham Castle is part of the World Heritage Site (WHS) is located in County Durham and includes the famous Cathedral. The site was accredited with UNESCO WHS status back in 1986, it is a firm favourite with visitors to the area in this scenic part of the North East of England. The castle is an ancient Norman fortress and its splendid location and setting make for an interesting and scenic place for travellers to visit.


Durham Castle is part of the World Heritage Site along with the Cathedral located close by. The castle is also a Grade 1 Listed Building and is currently a working castle, it is part of University College the oldest college in Durham University. The castle acts as host to a very historic and impressive place for students to study and live during their time here. Previously the castle has been the chief residence of the Bishops of Durham. Along with Durham Cathedral, the castle has become a well known icon of Durham and the North East of England.

The castle was commissioned by William the Conqueror with the constructed supervised by the Earl of Northumberland. The aim of the castle was to defend the peninsula that formed in the River Wear. The castle has been changed over the years in keeping with the needs at the time with rooms being altered and added.

The Tudor period saw Bishop Tunstal add the Chapel in 1540, the building suffered during the Civil War and Commonwealth in the 17th century and sold to the Lord Mayor of London. There followed a period of restoration and the Castle once again reverted to being the home of the Bishops of Durham.

When Durham University was founded it was then given the castle and has been responsible for it since. There has been much more put in on the building to ensure it is looked after including major work such as installing new foundations to help ensure the stability and survival of the castle. The castle has been subject to some major restoration work over the past few years with work still continuing.

The castle is steeped in history and culture of the area and its importance has been recognised with its place in the WHS list. The castle is seen as being one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the UK.

How To Get There

By Car:

The closest main road is the A1(M). From the A1(M) drive until the exit signposted as A690 Durham and follow the road until the second major roundabout, take the second turn on to Leazes Road, then turn left at Walkergate and then left at Back Silver Street. For those with Satellite Navigation systems the postcode is DH1 3RW.

By Bus:

The Durham Cathedral bus No. 40A & 40B operate with a frequency of approx every 20 minutes and link the Cathedral and Castle to the Market Place, Coach Park and the Railway Station.

By Train:

The closest train station is Durham Station, from here visitors should take the Durham Cathedral bus that links the rail station to Durham Cathedral and Castle. The frequency of the bus is approx every 20 minutes.

Contact Details


Durham Castle
Palace Green

Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2932

Website: Durham Castle

Facilities and Information

Opening Times:

When there are no private events booked, tours are usually available every day at 1.15pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm and 4.15pm. During University vacations, tours are also normally offered at 10.15am, 11.15am and 12.15 noon.

Tours are available by guided tour only and the approx length of the tour is around 45 minutes.

It is recommended visitors check all opening and closing times and specific days visits are open when booking to get the latest information & avoid disappointment, as changes can occur.

Further Information:

Ticket prices start from approx £4 for Children (aged 5 to 16), £4 for Concessions, approx £5 for Adults & £15 for a Family Ticket (2 adults and 3 children). Children under 5 have free entry.


View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Durham Castle Map

Tips & Other Considerations

There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and other events. Visitors are advised to double check before going to ensure the Castle is open and avoid disappointment.

Always remain alert and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to the Castle ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the Route Planner for useful door to door directions for car journeys and public transport.

If you are looking for car parking near the castle or in the city of Durham, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The parking rules can be complex & confusing if you are not sure it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, it is useful to check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

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