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“An interesting tour - of a British College - great history and insight into college life”
Review of Durham Castle

Durham Castle
Book In Advance
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US$331.11*
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 20 June 2017

The Castle only remains because it was given over to the University in the 19th century - you only get to see the inside with a guided tour, usually by a college member. While the old parts of the castle were interesting, for us the great part was seeing inside a college ( much different idea than college in the US) . The hogwarts-like dinning hall, etc. were really interesting, and the guides, being students, are great insiders to tell stories, I would recommend it, even if you have kids - they will like the Harry Potter feel of the place .

Thank TomaSchultz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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
"open to the public"
in 11 reviews
"world heritage"
in 11 reviews
"harry potter"
in 19 reviews
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217 - 221 of 1,097 reviews

Reviewed 19 June 2017

You can only visit Durham Castle as part of a tour - we were able to book on the day but it may be worth pre-booking. You can only visit certain areas of the Castle as it is part of the Durham University and is used for students including their accommodation. The tour takes between 45 minutes to an hour depending on the number of questions being asked - our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly and you could tell she had a passion in passing of her knowledge. We saw two chapels and the Great Hall (which was being set up for a student dinner) and the guide passed on some interesting facts.

The Castle has a real community feel with a croquet match taking place on the Castle green.

Thank Sue 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 17 July 2017

Thank-you for your review of Durham Castle. We are glad that you found your tour guide was passionate and knowledgeable- all of our tour guides have a great love for the castle and enjoy sharing stories about the castle with visitors. The ‘community feel’ of the castle is a viewpoint we wholeheartedly agree with- Durham Castle is a living working building and so we are happy you felt this during your visit.

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Reviewed 18 June 2017

ACCOMODATION. We stayed at the castle for three nights in their 'chaplains suite' which consists of a bedroom, sitting room and bathroom. I'd recommend staying here for the atmosphere and easy access to the cathedral. The rooms themselves were fine but there are some drawbacks, the worst one being that there is only one key to the room ( it's an old lock). There are two desks, one in each room near the window, which we found useful as we could each sit and dosome research and writing. The bed was extremely comfortable. There is a tv, mini fridge and tea making facilities in the bedroom. The bathroom is through a door in the bedroom, up a few steps and a short corridor where the original castle walls and some arches can be seen which was quite atmospheric. The bathroom itself is adequate but it's hard to use the shower (over the bath) without getting water over the floor. The wifi was quick but we had to log on each time we opened the machine. The suite is next to the senior common room and there was quite a lot of evening activity including piano practice which meant early nights were not possible. Breakfast is canteen, buffet style. All staff were very friendly and helpful. The stay included a guided tour of the castle which was a nice extra.

1  Thank Sterenlicht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2017

Durham Castle is goo to see, however, it is overwhelmed by the Cathedral.

Pros:
Historical building with quite a lot things to see inside the castle.
As it is one of the two most popular (the other is Cathedral) places in Durham, you should take it into account
Contains several rooms with a number of exhibits

Cons:
In order to enter the castle, you have to purchase a tour with guidance. Although it is not that expensive (about 5 pounds), the guidance is not the perfect. The guy who guided us delivered fairly well amount of information, but like a quick review not a detailed which might be good for some.
Starting time of the tour in your badge may not be the same as actual time as they run out of badges and give any. So be careful about that (it happened to me, and I missed first 15 minutes of the tour)

Overall, it is a good place to visit, but not the perfect because of the poorly organised tour.

1  Thank Kamal A
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 17 July 2017

Thank-you for your review of Durham Castle. We are pleased you thought the castle was good, and had lots of things to see inside. However, we are sorry that you did not enjoy your visit more and that you thought the tour was badly organised and you therefore missed the start, we have feed your comments back into our reception.

With regards to your guides delivery of information, all of our guides are very knowledgeable about the castle but have to stick to a time limit for the tour and so cannot go into extremely detailed information about every room and object, as we have found 45-60 minutes to be enough time to give an interesting amount of information about the castle, however, we have been looking into perhaps running a more specialist 2 tours. We have found 45-60 minutes is an appropriate length to keep those particularly interested about Durham’s History engaged and feeling satisfied, while not alienating those members of group who perhaps have less subject knowledge or have families or a limited understanding of English. We hope that next time you visit Durham you enjoy your castle visit a bit more.

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Reviewed 16 June 2017

Durham Castle is a wonder to behold! Ancient yet modern, the tour is an absolute delight and the guide knows his stuff.

Thank Gary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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