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“A castle full of history,and with a bright future!”
Review of Durham Castle

Durham Castle
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US$336.27*
and up
Durham - The Cathedral and Old City
Ranked #11 of 60 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 10 June 2017

This castle is very much part of the future, as well as being of historical interest. It is part of the university and used as a seat of learning, indeed our guide was a graduate of the university himself, which only enhanced his love of the subject matter, which made for a very interesting, informative, and amusing tour. The guide was more than happy to take and answer questions, and the tour was easy on the body and at 4 POUNDS(concession rate)normally 5 I think, very good value for money. I have forgotten guides name , else would mention in dispatches, but he was a credit to the university. Remember as its a living ,working, castle, tours must be pre-booked, and tickets are available from the visitor centre , which can be found on the walk from market square up to cathedral, also from starting point of tour , the library twixt cathedral and castle, tour will last max 1 hour, enjoy.

Thank pirate012015
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 14 June 2017

Thank-you for your review of Durham Castle. We are very happy that you enjoyed your visit, and that you were impressed by your tour guide. We look forward to seeing you again on your next visit to Durham.

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"guided tour"
in 159 reviews
"student accommodation"
in 50 reviews
"university students"
in 30 reviews
"student guide"
in 13 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
"open to the public"
in 11 reviews
"world heritage"
in 11 reviews
"harry potter"
in 19 reviews
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218 - 222 of 1,092 reviews

Reviewed 9 June 2017

You can only visit the castle as part of a tour but we were able to book a tour the same afternoon we arrived. The castle is still used by the university in Durham.

The tour was essential to get a feel for the place anyway. The chapel inside the castle was fascinating and was built right around the time King Henry VIII was destroying the abbeys. There is another, older chapel that is covered in the tour and the discussions about the chapel pillars was worth the admission price. Photos are allowed.

Thank Sue H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 June 2017 via mobile

Took the tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Guide made the tour interesting and informative for the 45 minutes that it lasted, giving a brief history of the castle (given in the courtyard) followed by a more in depth look at 4 rooms inside the castle. Excellent.

It would have been nice to have seen more of the castle but I fully appreciate that much of it has been converted into billets for students attending the university. However, those 4 rooms contained many more artefacts that were ignored/overlooked by the Guide. They looked interesting!!!

The tour cost £5 (£4 for concessions), but my advice is if you see something that interests you, don't miss the opportunity to ask about it to get the best value out of the tour!

Worth a visit!

Thank Ian S
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 14 June 2017

Thank-you for your review of Durham Castle. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your visit and that you understood that because it is a working, living building and a home to students. Your advice of asking questions if you want to find out more about objects or artefacts is exactly what we encourage visitors on tours to do. Our guides are all enthusiastic and love answering questions. We cannot go into detail on all artefacts on the tour route, as this could prove challenging to those who aren’t as interested(for instance we get a lot of children on tours), but if you would like to look at the collection in a more in depth manner and spend longer exploring the history of specific objects, we are running ‘Self-Guided Days’ of the castle on Wednesdays and Thursdays in August, where you would have the opportunity to spend longer in the spaces, in the company of enthusiastic room stewards, who are also knowledgeable about the arefacts. For more information on these days, please visit our website and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

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Reviewed 7 June 2017 via mobile

We visited the cathedral then walked over to the castle and found you have to buy a tour ticket and they were sold out for several hours so we didn't get to go inside. Very disappointed. Be sure to plan better than us!!

Thank Shelly T
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 14 June 2017

Thank-you for your review. As Durham Castle is a working College of Durham University, it is a student home, which means that for most of the year visitors can only enter via guided tour. We do have number limits on these tours for conservation reasons and to ensure that groups aren't too big, and so unfortunately they do sometimes sell out. However, tickets can be reserved in advance up to seven days in advance of your tour by calling Palace Green Library on 0191 3342932.

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Reviewed 6 June 2017 via mobile

You can only visit the castle with a tour guide and then you only see a tiny bit of it - most is used by the students. I think the tour should be advertised to reflect this. We were a bit disappointed.

1  Thank Helen K
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 14 June 2017

Thank-you for your review of Durham Castle. Typically, visitors to the castle are shown all public areas, visitors normally see the Courtyard, Norman Chapel, Tunstall Chapel, Tunstall Gallery, Black Staircase and the Great Hall-which takes up nearly 25% of the Castle. We are sad that you were disappointed by your visit, and hope that you understand that because this is a living, working building and a home, we unfortunately can not take visitors into bedroom areas.

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