The famous travel writer Bill Bryson called Durham 'a perfect little city', and wandering its meandering cobbled streets under the impressive Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage which dominate the skyline, it's hard to disagree. With stunning riverside walks, cruises along the Wear and contemporary culture to rival any city in Britain, Durham, steeped as it is in history, is one of those places everyone should visit at least once.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Durham Cathedral was voted Britain's favourite old building in a 2001 BBC poll, and it's easy to see why. A Norman marvel, you'd never guess it was 900 years old such is the impeccable architectural details with breath-taking columns and stone vaulting. Be sure to visit the shrines of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede while you're there.
Built-in 1072 by William the Conqueror, Durham Castle is a citadel unrivalled by any other, but since 1832, the castle has been a college of Durham University, so students act as guides during term time, pacing along the maze of halls and galleries and oak staircases.
When the students go home for summer, the castle becomes a hotel, with majestic stonework walls offering an opulent night's sleep followed by a breakfast in the Great Hall. A night of good sleep will set you up for the fun of the covered market with its list of the city's freemen, including Bishop Desmond Tutu and football manager Bobby Robson, above the fishmonger.
Or you might want to head to one of the museums or exhibitions, Durham University's Oriental, Durham Light Infantry, with one of the best military exhibitions going, and the Durham Art Gallery, with its world-class exhibitions.
To get the cheapest train tickets to Durham, you’ll need to be super-savvy when searching for tickets. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you with our top tips for saving money on rail travel. The more you save, the more money you'll have to splash out during your time in the North East.
Ok, first things first, you’ll want to think about using a national Railcard. If you don’t quite make enough journeys to warrant buying a Season Ticket, but you’re still going to travel by train more than a few times a year, then a Railcard is well-worth your time. Their big selling point is that they can allow you to save up to 1/3 off the price of your train tickets*. Check out our Railcards page if you’d like to purchase one online or see the various eligibility requirements for each type.
Avoid the crowds online and at the station by buying an Advance fare. These tickets typically go on sale 12 weeks in advance, but you can sign up for our handy Ticket Alerts and let us do the work for you. As soon as tickets go on sale for your route, we’ll email you. Remember to combine your Railcard with your Advance ticket for a killer money-saving combo!
Want to learn more? Visit our Advance train tickets page for a complete guide.
When purchasing your Advance ticket, try to book at an Off-Peak time. Make sure to check all the tickets in the drop-down menu when using our Journey Planner, as we’ll highlight the cheapest Off-Peak tickets available. Once again, add your Railcard discount if applicable, and you’ll be laughing!
For more info, head over to our Off-Peak train tickets page.
Before you buy your ticket, make sure to check that the price of your Return ticket is, in fact, lower than that of two single train tickets.
Are you travelling to Durham in a group of three to nine people? Then you may also be able to get a discount of 34% on Off-Peak tickets thanks to GroupSave. This is a useful discount that doesn’t require you to purchase a physical Railcard (but which does appear in the Railcard dropdown when making a booking). Please bear in mind that GroupSave is not applicable for all journeys by the different train companies and will automatically be applied if valid for your journey and selected in the Railcard dropdown. All tickets must be purchased in a single booking, and all passengers must travel together on the day of departure.
If you need a few more hints on getting the cheapest train tickets to Durham, check out our cheap train tickets page.
*Conditions and peak travel time exclusions may apply on some Railcards.