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“An unexpected gem of beauty and history”

Durham City Indoor Market Hall
Ranked #17 of 57 things to do in Durham
Attraction details
North East England
Level Contributor
59 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“An unexpected gem of beauty and history”
Reviewed 25 April 2014

We stumbled into the glories within Durham Town Hall by chance, attracted by an art exhibition in the foyer.

A leaflet on the counter prompted us to ask whether the Town Hall was open to visitors. Not such a daft question as this is still very much a working building. We were fortunate that a meeting had just finished and the staff had started clearing the Main Hall of the furniture and buffet.

Yes, came the response, we could view the building. Better still, the staff would assist us with any questions we might have.

It turns out that the Town Hall is open to visitors but because it is still very much a working building, hosting Council meetings and events, it is not open all the time. Nevertheless the Visitors book suggests that it does attract a small but regular number of people to view this wonderful old building.

We ventured first into what is known as ‘The Crush’, where visitors would crowd before being admitted to the Main Hall. Amongst the exhibits on display is what at first you think is the clothing from a large doll. This turns out to be the real life clothing and artefacts of a person called Count Joseph Boruwlaski – a 3’3”, violin-playing celebrity of the courts of Eurrope who ended his days aged 98 in Durham!

Then into the Main Hall with its impressive wooden panelling, plaques commemorating former Mayors, Chief executives, Clerks and those who have been granted the Freedom of the City, the latter including military figures such as Montgomery, but also such people as Desmond Tutu and Bill Bryson. The Main Hall is dominated at one end by the impressive Great West Window but look out also for the window commemorating the Durham Light Infantry.

At this point one of the staff clearing the area took us under his wing. Although professing not to know as much as his colleague Norman, Shaun was full of interesting insights and took us into places not always open to visitors including the Mayor’s Chamber and the 14th century Guildhall.

We learned about the Mayor’s bodyguards - the Mayor of Durham is the only one outside of London to have a bodyguard – and even got to view one of their magnificent (and heavy) black capes. We learned about how the tax collectors of old used to use their halberds to remove the tiles and thatch off the roof of those reluctant to pay (literally stopping them from keeping a roof over their heads). And we viewed the magnificent silver collection of the Guilds.

Thanks to Shaun what had originally been a quick foray into an art exhibition became a trip back through over 500 years of history. Wonderful!

Visited April 2014
1 Thank MFPthetraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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177 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Elgin, Illinois USA
Level Contributor
215 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Cute little indoor street market.”
Reviewed 4 April 2014

Nice butcher, baker, cheese and herb vendors plus many others. Lovely entryway. Right in the downtown.
Reasonable prices.

Visited April 2014
2 Thank Janhuss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
139 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Whatever it is you want you will find it here!”
Reviewed 25 February 2014

In the old days you could rely on Woolworths to sell you a few nails or odd buttons but now you can go to Durham's indoor market. All the old services you thought had disappeared are here in a mediaeval- like setting; you walk downhill into the dark and crowded chamber to find a hotchpotch of stalls and eating places. The foodstalls are wonderful, much local produce, a local baker, butchers selling game as well as high quality meat, fresh seasonal vegetables, old fashioned sweets, even a smokers' stall. etc. as well as clothes and shoes, household goods, but also modern goods, musical instruments, mobile phone supplies. I came out with the buttons I had long been looking for, a sink basket ditto, some real teacakes and a bunch of freshly picked local snowdrops. I wished I could have filled my basket with meat, cakes and vegetables but I was not going home for a few days.
I agree with a previous reviewer that the City of Durham should cherish its market

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Archaeologist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Good value”
Reviewed 3 January 2014

As it was very cold and wet the indoor market was a good choice. Also nice and warm in there not like the hotel we stayed in

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Joyce838
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great little place”
Reviewed 27 November 2013

Great if you want a watch repair, key cutting or show repair or are into arts and craft and want to buy supplies. The only issue with it its rather cramped but apart from that a very good indoor market.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank Epicpug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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