Durham Castle
Durham Castle
4.5
Historic SitesArchitectural BuildingsCastles
About
Experience over 1000 years of living history on a Durham Castle Tour. Built as an imposing fortress by the Normans, Durham Castle's story is entwined with that of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, whose semi-regal status made them some of the country's most powerful and wealthy men. 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. Today Durham Castle is part of the World Heritage Site, but it is also home to University College, the founding college of Durham University with over 300 students living in or around the Castle, making it unique as it remains a living and working castle. We hope you enjoy your visit.
Duration: < 1 hour
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  • JCBShipley
    Shipley, United Kingdom108 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enoyable informative tour
    Smalish castle, formerly the home of the Prince Bishops, bequeathed to the University and used as student accommodation. The tour takes you to 3 parts not used as student rooms - the undercroft chapel (oldest in the UK), the long corridor and former entrance, and great hall used for meals and events. It is good value for £5 and our guide Katy, a history student, was friendly and informative throughout. Pre-booking is essential. Finally a thank you to the helpful lady on reception who, when we arrived 15 minutes early, suggested we visit Bishop Cosin's library in the same building. This hidden gem was very interesting, as was the guide who brought it to life.
    Good afternoon and many thanks for taking the time to review us. We are so glad you enjoyed your tour, and that you found the experience enjoyable and the guide knowledgeable, we will let Katy know for sure! Looking forward to seeing you again in the future,
    Written June 5, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 2, 2023
  • Paul T
    Ridgewell, United Kingdom72 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting historical building
    We visited on a rather wet day, but most of the tour is inside. The guide was a young lady who knew her facts and gave the opportunity to ask questions at each section of the tour. You only see a few areas of the castle as it is used for student accommodation for the university. Well worth a visit if you are in Durham and all for a small entrance fee
    Good afternoon and many thanks for taking the time to review us. We are so glad you enjoyed your tour, and that you found the experience enjoyable. We Looking forward to seeing you again in the future,
    Written August 7, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 23, 2023
  • Sally22
    United Kingdom271 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Best tour guide ever.
    Best tour guide I’ve ever had. Booked in at library. Only £5. Tour started on time and lasted 50 mins. She was excellent. Can’t remember her name. Criminology student. Stunning building.
    Hello and thank you very much for reviewing your visit to Durham Castle. We are really pleased to hear you enjoyed your guided tour and we made sure to let Laura know about your great feedback! Thank you,
    Written September 18, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written August 7, 2023
  • angelawA6201UJ
    326 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great castle tour
    My friend and I went on an organised castle tour whilst visiting Durham for the weekend. Our tour guide (Laura) was friendly, funny and very knowledgeable. The tour was just under an hour and very good value for money. We learnt so much in a short space of time and we’re given regular opportunities and time to take photos. I would like to personally thank Laura for making a dreary and rainy Saturday afternoon much more enjoyable.
    Hello and thank you very much for reviewing your visit to Durham Castle. We are really pleased to hear you enjoyed your guided tour and we made sure to let Laura know about your great feedback! Thank you,
    Written September 18, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 10, 2023
  • Felixstowe2016
    Felixstowe, United Kingdom6,336 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Gem
    Another excellent place if your in Durham a real palace although some areas are difficult for wheelchair users. Self guided or guided tours are available and the entrance price is sensible. Norman castle in the city of Durham, England, which has been occupied since 1837 by University College, Durham after its previous role as the residence of the Bishops of Durham. Designated since 1986 as a cultural World Heritage Site in England
    Many thanks for taking the time to review Durham Castle and for giving such an informative answer! We are really glad you enjoyed the visit - we are trying our best to improve our accessibility challenges so that everyone can enjoy this beautiful building to its full potential. Best wishes,
    Written October 17, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 9, 2023
  • helzie8
    United Kingdom252 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting and great value
    Well worth a visit and right next to the cathedral. we went on a guided tour as the students were there which I think actually made it better. What a place for the lucky uni students to eat lunch! Our guide Jack was excellent, really interesting facts and tales put over in a way that a non history buff like myself could follow. Tickets were only £5 so it’s fantastic value, and the tour lasted about 40 minutes, so perfect amount of time. As a side note we picked up our tour lanyards from the library next door and they have loads of info, guides etc if you are looking for things to see and do in this lovely city-really helpful staff!
    Thank you very much for taking the time to review us and for giving us feedback on your tour of Durham Castle. We are really pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit and we are glad you found visiting the library and its collections so interesting as well. Looking forward to seeing you again soon,
    Written January 10, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 7, 2023
  • Gina Sparkles
    Lisbon, Portugal145 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Magic of a Working Castle
    Highly recommend. It always helps having an expert with you. Nuggets of information or inferences from people who live the place makes the tour wonderfully informative. Laura, was great, from the flying staircase, chapel and great hall. The cathedral and castle are must see tours.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to review us and for giving us feedback on your tour of Durham Castle. We are really pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit and we'll make sure to let the guide know you enjoyed their tour! Looking forward to seeing you again soon,
    Written January 10, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written December 18, 2023
  • Ritu H
    7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good place to visit
    We went on the tour, costing £5 and free to durham uni students. It was really informative and the castle itself has many stories. The medieval church was amazing and held much history. It was really interesting.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to review us and for giving us feedback on your tour of Durham Castle. We are really pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit! Looking forward to seeing you again soon,
    Written March 14, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written February 24, 2024
  • HILARY C
    15 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very informative and great value.
    Directly opposite Durham Cathedral. The courses are run by students (I think), and our guide, Joseph Jack, was very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The castle is now part of Durham university/halls of residence and the tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. Your guide takes you through the grounds of the castle, up to the chapel, and then through to the Hogwarts style dining area, telling about the history of the place. My review doesn't make it sound very interesting, but it is. And it's only £5.00.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to review us and for giving us feedback on your tour of Durham Castle. We are really pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit and we'll make sure to let Joseph know know you enjoyed their tour! Looking forward to seeing you again soon,
    Written March 14, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled with friends
    Written March 2, 2024
  • Kimberly
    Kingwood, Texas17 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very cool 👍
    I went to this castle with my family. I visited this castle on the 5th of March. I was shocked to find out that half of the castle is lived in by students who go to the Durham university. So you have to buy tickets to be taken on the tour. Our tour guide was lovely. However it is bit of shame feeling rushed through the castle and I felt we couldn’t see much of the castle. However what we did get to see, was pretty awesome!
    Thank you very much for reviewing your experience at Durham Castle! The Castle as you say is lived in by the students so areas are not accessible due to its nature as a college/private accommodation - we aim to open to the public everything we can. I am really glad you had a good time in Durham and looking forward to seeing you again!
    Written March 14, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written March 6, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,368 reviews
Excellent
743
Very good
431
Average
118
Poor
39
Terrible
37

Kenny S
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Family
Very disappointed. Booked the tour for 1.15pm.and on arrival we were told that their booking system was faulty and that our tour would not start until 2.15pm
This was no good to us as we needed to return to Scotland and could not wait any longer. No offer was made to fit us into the 1.15pm slot ( which we had in fact booked). We had travelled a considerable distance to view the cathedral and castle and to be declined entry into the castle due to their own system error was, in my view, extremely disappointing.
Written October 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
I am sorry to hear that the tour time that you booked was not suitable for your visit to Durham Castle. As the earlier time was fully booked we offered a full refund which was accepted. We would encourage you to visit Durham Castle at a future date and would be happy to book this for you.
Written October 15, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

AnselmColom
Grays Thurrock, UK2,886 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Family
This beautiful castle over looking Durham next to its equally fine cathedral has to be booked in advance and is only available Tuesday to Thursday at present (see website for latest update). It’s also only available to visit out of university term time so plan in advance. The whole castle is used as part of Durham university and thus you can imagine has been very well kept. You will only see a small part of it on a self guided tour but this includes the Normal chapel and the Great Hall. Can you imagine being a student here and having this as your Halls of Residence? How cool is that!
Written August 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Many thanks for your review. We are really glad you enjoyed your visit of Durham Castle and look forward to seeing you again in the future. Best wishes,
Written October 15, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Country G
Lancashire, UK17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022 • Couples
Having been recommended a visit to the castle by a local we decided to book and were pleasantly surprised to find that a tour was only £5 per person (concessions also available) which is great value for an hour tour. Our tour was led by Tara, a third year student at the university who got the balance of information and time to look around just right. Very interesting and informative I will definitely recommend to others.
Written February 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Many thanks for your review of your tour of Durham Castle. We are really glad you enjoyed your visit and Tara's tour and look forward to seeing you again in the future! Best wishes,
Written March 9, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

StevenWigan
Wigan, UK3,729 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
This castle has stood for 1000 years, through wars, famines and real killer plagues.

However the current owners still havent opened it which is truly sad. They should hang their heads in collective shame.
Written August 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sorry that you were not able to visit the Castle when you came to Durham. Currently the visitor attractions are closed that are part of Durham University and we intend to open once it it is safe to do so.
Written September 11, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Arin
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK434 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Solo
The castle can only be visited as part of a guided tour as it's part of the university facilities. Our guide was a history student and he was very knowledgeable and passionate about the legacy of the castle. We visited the underground chapel, the black staircase and great hall. The tour was quite short at about 30mins but it's right next to the cathedral so I would highly recommend anyone visiting the cathedral to take a tour of the castle too
Written October 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you very much for your review, we are really pleased you enjoyed the experience and the guide's tour! We look forward to seeing you again soon! Best wishes,
Written October 21, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Scott Carter
Durham, UK6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021 • Couples
The Castle is an incredibly historic and awe inspiring building that it has stood alongside the cathedral as the centrepieces of Durham City for nearly a millennium.

The stone fortress was the seat of power in the north and it’s exterior projects it’s strength and history with a hilltop keep surrounded by imposing castle walls.

It’s interior however shows the extreme wealth and extravagance of the Prince Bishops who inhabited the castle in the past. With luxury and expense to be seen in every room.
Written January 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Many thanks for your review of your tour of Durham Castle. We are really glad you enjoyed your visit and look forward to seeing you again in the future! Best wishes,
Written January 17, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Geoff L
Durham, UK4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
I attended Durham Castle with a friend who was visiting Durham for the first time. The students were not in residence, and we walked in to the main courtyard of the castle and looked through the locked doors at the impressive dining area.
We were approached by a female employee who, I can safely say, was one of the most officious and rude people I have encountered in a very long time! We had inadvertently passed a sign at the open entrance, directing people to the porter's office. This employee spoke to us both in an incredibly arrogant, obnoxious and accusatory manner which made us both feel extremely angry and hugely unwelcome. Despite our apologies, she continued to speak to us as though we were trespassing on her own personal fiefdom!
We fully appreciate that security is important, but to greet two middle-aged professional people like this, was totally unnecessary, inappropriate and offensive.
If this is the level of greeting to be expected at such an iconic site (I am a resident of the city, by the way), then I would urge people to avoid Durham Castle like the plague, and, instead, visit the cathedral where the staff are warm, hospitable and polite.
This employee is a disgrace and should be nowhere near visitors (and life-long residents) to our great city. APPALLING!
Written March 29, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Geoff, many thanks for taking the time to write this review. I am really sorry to hear what has happened. The Castle is a college of Durham University, which means our business as Museum (for which this page is set) and the college coexist in the same building - the staff you refer to does not belong to us Castle Tours as it would have likely been a porter on duty in the college reception. I will make sure this review is sent to the college office for staff to review - in the meantime I can only regret the poor rating left to us as a museum venue. I hope next time you will join a castle tour and have the chance to experience this beautiful building with an enjoyable visit. Best wishes,
Written April 3, 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Amy Jiang
Greater London, UK2,579 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
Booked a non-tour experience, as we were both students at Durham anyways, and managed to grab a relatively quiet period in the afternoon and had a lovely, relatively uninterrupted wander around the grounds and inside. The downstairs catacombs were also open that day, as well as the beautiful chapel where the choir usually sing. The Great Hall was also a favourite, with tons of large paintings on the walls and tables laid out as if ready for a dinner.
Written August 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Many thanks for your review of Durham Castle, we are truly glad you have enjoyed your visit. On a little note, Durham Castle doesn't have any catacombs - you possibly refer to the Norman Chapel on the ground floor? Best wishes,
Written September 12, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

John D
3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Bought a ticket for the castle from the tourist information office nearby. We were told to turn up at the entrance to the castle where a guide would meet us. When they turned up with a large party, they told us that we could not join the tour as we did not have lanyards (Lanyards?). We were told to return to the tourist Information office. We did this and they apologised, but then told us that we had to collect our lanyards from the nearby Library (Library?). Gave up at this stage and got a refund!
Written January 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your feedback and the staff did everything to try to help you get to the start of your tour so sorry that you requested a refund instead as you would have really enjoyed the tour as they are excellent. Maybe next time!
Written February 21, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Morag
Highworth, UK34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
This is one of the University Colleges so a lot of the time it is closed, especially during term time. However we were lucky enough to be there in July and as it was not long after lock down they were open for self guided tours. There were plenty of volunteers/staff around who were eager to help and share their knowledge. Fairly small, but steeped in history and well worth a visit.
Written August 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Many thanks for your review. We are really glad you enjoyed your visit of Durham Castle and look forward to seeing you again in the future. Best wishes,
Written October 15, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Durham Castle - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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