A Travellerspoint blog

September 6, 2018 — Durham

Drove from Thirsk to Durham to see the outstanding Cathedral there.

The Golden Fleece Hotel - breakfast in Thirsk

The Golden Fleece Hotel - breakfast in Thirsk


We had breakfast at the Golden Fleece, a very elegant hotel with a very reasonable breakfast. We had tea cakes and orange juice. Somehow the full English breakfast at our hotel seemed way too much food.

Packed the car and checked out. We stopped at a tire store and a nice man checked and filled all our tires so we had a very nice easy trip to Shincliffe. We parked in front of our hotel, Seven Stars, and walked to the nearby bus stop. Took the bus into Durham. The driver was very helpful and gave us directions to the Cathedral.

Driving from Thirsk to Durham, UK

Driving from Thirsk to Durham, UK

Prince Bishops Shopping Centre from the Elvet Bridge in Durham

Prince Bishops Shopping Centre from the Elvet Bridge in Durham

Durham is a beautiful small university town. We walked to the bridge and were greeted with huge floral displays across the pedestrian bridge. Walked across shooting pictures of flowers, the river Wear and rowers on the river. Walked up the hill and followed signs to the Cathedral. It is huge! It also had the top of the central tower swathed in white tarps . . . construction. So much for dramatic outside photos. We found the entrance and were informed no inside photos either. Never been in a church that forbade photos. Bummer! My rebellion was refusing to buy their book. The printed guide was less than useful but had a map and a few explanations. I’ll look up the rest online. They had several stunning modern stained glass windows and most of them had explanatory plaques. The entire main floor and at least one side were set up with dinner tables for twelve for a Chamber dinner tonight. There was a special exhibit on St. Cuthbert that was 7.50£ each that we skipped but his shrine was open behind the main altar so we did see that.

Elvet Bridge in Durham, UK

Elvet Bridge in Durham, UK

The Shakespeare Restaurant on Saddler Street, Durham

The Shakespeare Restaurant on Saddler Street, Durham

Café Durham on Owengate in Durham

Café Durham on Owengate in Durham

Durham Cathedral with the central tower under wraps

Durham Cathedral with the central tower under wraps

Floral Display of Saint Cuthbert's Cross in front of Durham University Library

Floral Display of Saint Cuthbert's Cross in front of Durham University Library

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Cloister of Durham Cathedral

Cloister of Durham Cathedral

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Statues on the Durham Cathedral - interesting

Statues on the Durham Cathedral - interesting


There is a very interesting story about how Saint Cuthbert’s final resting place was chosen. In 995 the monks were searching for a suitable site when they followed two milkmaids who were looking for a brown cow to a rocky peninsula in the River Dee. This was Dun Holme and the cathedral was built here to house Cuthbert’s shrine. The legend was portrayed in a stone carving described in 1593 as "a monument of a milk maid milking her cow … on the outside of the north-west turret of the cathedral." The one you see today is its replacement dating from 1775.

Bill's Restaurant on Saddler Street

Bill's Restaurant on Saddler Street

Walked down to Bill’s for lunch. We had the fish pie and it was excellent. Had a window seat which was fun. Then we walked back up the hill to continue the Cathedral and our education about St. Cuthbert and Lindisfarne where we’re going tomorrow.

  • ****

Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Durham Museum and Heritage Centre


Left the Cathedral in search of the Durham Museum and found it down a hill behind the church. It used to be the church St.-Mary-le-Bow and is now a very nice small museum. There is an attached sculpture garden that was a graveyard and now houses two immense wood sculptures by Fenwick Lawson, one of Saint Cuthbert that we’ll see again tomorrow in bronze on Lindisfarne.

Walked back up and then downhill to Market Square . . . very impressive . . . sculptures and flowers. It was time to go home so we wound our way back to the bus stop where we met a local couple about to leave for three months in New Zealand visiting their daughter and her husband. The bus arrived and it was a quick trip back to the Seven Stars Inn in Shincliffe where we finally checked in. It’s very old and creaky and the hallway walls are dark paneling like a church, but our room was pleasant and clean and the staff are very welcoming.

Stained glass and exhibits at the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Stained glass and exhibits at the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Fenwick Lawson sculpture of Saint Cuthbert<br />at Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Fenwick Lawson sculpture of Saint Cuthbert
at Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Went down to dinner at seven o’clock and were impressed by the quite elegant restaurant. We both ordered the poached sea trout with prawn risotto and had Prosecco to drink. The fish and rice were fabulous, perfectly seasoned and the rice had so many shrimp and prawns that it could have been dinner by itself. I got the Mixed Fruit Mess for dessert and Ed watched. The entire meal was spectacular. With the nearby bus stop, this was the perfect way to visit Durham with a car.

Posted by Beausoleil 16:29 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged cathedral uk durham shincliffe

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Comments

Durham is a beautiful place. Glad you enjoyed it.

by irenevt

I"m enjoyng your journey, can"t wait for next.

by alectrevor

Durham is lovely but it’s a shame the cathedral tower was under wraps, and these ‘no photos’ rules really infuriate me!

by ToonSarah

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