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“Visit by Guided Tour Only”
Review of Durham Castle

Durham Castle
Book In Advance
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US$332.62*
and up
Durham - The Cathedral and Old City
Ranked #10 of 34 things to do in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Uncover 1000 years of history in this undefeated castle built in the Norman period as an imposing fortress, Durham Castle’s story is entwined with that of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, whose semi-regal status made them some of the most powerful and wealthy men in the country. Discover a castle that gradually turned into a lavish palace, which was affected by major historical events from the Reformation to the English Civil War. It was transformed in the Victorian period into a place of learning, as the home of University College, the founding college of Durham University. Today Durham Castle is a Grade I Listed Building, a Museum and remains a living building, evolving to modern day life while retaining its power to impress as part of the iconic Durham skyline. The unique nature of the building means that, entrance to the public is by guided tours only. However, this allows a personal experience that brings history to life. The following tour times are a general guide as it is sometimes necessary to cancel tours at short notice due to University or commercial activities. During term-time: every afternoon at 1.15pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm and 4.15pm.During university vacations: daily 10.15Am, 11.15Am, 12.15am, 1.15pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm and 4pm. Please check the tour times with Palace Green Library or the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre to avoid disappointment.
Reviewed 22 April 2017 via mobile

The castle is used today for student housing and other University activities, so tourists can only view a small portion of it by hourly guided tours. Tickets can be purchased at the World Heritage center and are reasonably priced. Our tour guide was energetic and knowledgeable, but the group was a little too large to squeeze into some of the smaller spaces.

Along with the cathedral, the castle is the main site at the center of historic Durham, but because you can only see about four rooms (two chapels, a hallway, and the main hall), the tour is a little underwhelming. Certainly worth doing if you are visiting Durham... but don't expect a full castle experience like you have at some of Britain's large rural estates.

So no complaints about the experience, but the castle itself is only modestly interesting. If you are waiting for your tour to start, check out the free exhibits inside the university's library.

1  Thank M D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham C, Manager at Durham Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2017

Thank-you for your review of Durham Castle. We are very pleased that you found your visit good value for money, and that you thought that your tour guide was energetic and knowledgeable. We are happy that you think that the visit is worth doing, and we hope that you understand that whilst there are some areas (student associated areas) of the castle visitors do not get to see, the areas that do you see is over 50% of the castle and are the main historical areas. The castle is compact but is designed to look visually impressive and imposing, the Great Hall which is part of the tour can be seen from train station and takes up a large area of the castle. Next door there are two free exhibits, the Museum of Archaeology and Durham Light Infantry.

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"guided tour"
in 160 reviews
"student accommodation"
in 50 reviews
"university students"
in 30 reviews
"student guide"
in 14 reviews
"dining hall"
in 13 reviews
"halls of residence"
in 11 reviews
"knowledgeable guide"
in 11 reviews
"great guide"
in 11 reviews
"excellent tour"
in 10 reviews
"main hall"
in 13 reviews
"interesting facts"
in 12 reviews
"prince bishops"
in 23 reviews
"interesting visit"
in 16 reviews
"well worth a visit"
in 60 reviews
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Reviewed 22 April 2017

The tour guide was very knowledgeable and open to all questions including the numerous silly ones offered by my children.

You don't actually see much of the castle though as it is occupied by students and the tour consists of viewing the oldest stone faced room in the castle followed by a tour of a corridor and a large dinning room. Nevertheless, the place is truly splendid with the dining room screening of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films.

We really enjoyed our visit and for £15 (family ticket) it was worth the fee.

1  Thank HonestMan999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham C, Manager at Durham Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2017

Thank-you for your review of Durham Castle. We are very pleased you and your family enjoyed your visit to the castle and that all of your family’s questions were answered! Children often ask some of the hardest questions and often we have to go and research the answers. We are happy that you enjoyed your visit to our Great Hall (we agree that it looks very similar to the Hogwarts Great Hall especially when its set out for the students).

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Reviewed 22 April 2017

Durham Castle is set overlooking the majority of the town, and now serves as the heart of Durham University. I took one of their guided tours, the only was to see inside of the castle as it is still a working building. The tour guide provided a good overview of the history of the castle from the early structures through to the current usage, showing many beautiful rooms and artifacts along the way. Be sure to book ahead to get on the tour you want.

Thank dmathewYEG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2017 via mobile

Throughly enjoyed visiting this castle. Our guide (Caitlin) was very good, friendly and knowledgeable telling us about the history of the castle, the various prince bishops and also talking about modern day university life at the castle (as its home to the students)

The castle itself is very impressive with a lovely courtyard and gatehouse. You can't take photos inside due to it being students residence but there's an impressive chapel, great hall and gallery.

A very worthwhile and enjoyably visit. Looking lovely in the sunshine as well!

Thank IvyFlood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 April 2017

For me the castle tour was the highlight of Durham, even better than the cathedral. Lovely guide who could explain every detail of this beautiful castle, the highlight being the medieval chapel and the big hall. Would habe loved to study in this historic environment.

Thank Barba23rossa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham C, Manager at Durham Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2017

Thank you for your review. We are very happy that you enjoyed your guided tour around the beautiful castle, and that you thought your guide was very knowledgeable.

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