Durham University

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Durham City

In Durham City you're among some of the world's finest architecture. This is a truly beautiful City, where the famous Castle and Cathedral - together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site - dominate the skyline. 

With a population of around 43,000 Durham has a compact, friendly feel but still provides the facilities you would expect of a thriving city including a number of cafés, bars and restaurants.

Depending on which of our colleges you belong to, you could be based right in the historic centre of the City or just a short walk away in one of our purpose-built, landscaped colleges. 

Durham is only ten minutes away from Newcastle by train, with a regular rail service linking the cities. In Newcastle you'll find a wide range of choices for entertainment, culture and shopping.

Living in Durham City really is the best of both worlds.

Around Durham City

In Durham City, you will find there is a mix of popular high-street shops such as H&M, Next, Topshop, New Look, and Jack Wills to name but a few. There is also a vibrant indoor market and individual boutiques with their own ranges of goods. 

The Gala Theatre and Cinema in the City’s Millennium Square hosts a range of national touring productions as well as amateur shows from student and local groups. For comedy fans, the Comedy Store features big names from the stand-up scene.

Adding to this, the exciting new Riverwalk development will bring new bars, restaurants an Odeon Cinema and Lane 7 bowling to Durham from autumn/winter 2018, providing further leisure destinations within the City.

The University’s colleges and Durham Students’ Union also organise a busy schedule of events that cater for a wide range of tastes. For example, our sketch group, Durham Revue produces a new show each term and the best material from each year’s shows goes to the Edinburgh Fringe. 

There is also a highly successful public concert seriesMusicon, which showcases international professional musicians. Many of our colleges also stage theatre and music productions for all tastes, to which all students are welcome.

As well as the spectacular architecture around the City, you can also enjoy some fascinating museums. The Oriental Museum specialises in all the major civilisations of the East, from Egypt to Japan. We are also home to the Durham Book Festival; we work very closely with the organisers and support a Festival Laureate – every year a diverse range of major writers come here to read their work in venues around the City.

The City also plays host to the hugely popular Lumiere Festival. One of the largest light festivals in the UK (pictured left), this spectacular array of installations and projections illuminates Durham’s buildings, streets and bridges and provides an exciting time to be in the City.

For those moments when you seek a bit of tranquillity, there are plenty of green spaces around and many quiet walks to enjoy. For the more adventurous you can also hire a rowing boat on the River Wear and take in the views of Durham. 

Set in 10 hectares of mature woodland, the University’s Botanic Garden is an oasis of calm.

Free to enter for Durham University students, it holds many events and exhibitions during the year. Students find it a peaceful place to escape to during busy periods to help relax and unwind, with the on-site coffee shop serving a range of drinks and light bites.