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Durham – County birthplace of Rowan Atkinson and “Mr. Bean”

There is evidence to suggest that a settlement appeared in the region as early as 2000 BC and the City itself can be traced back to 995 AD.

Although Durham is located inland, there were proposals in 1720 to make it a sea port. This was to be achieved by creating a canal that would join the River Team. Nothing became of this plan, but the idea was again suggested in 1759, where it was hoped that the Wear could be made navigable from Durham to Sunderland, which would involve altering the course of the river. But because of the increasing size of the ships and the fact that Sunderland had already grown into a main port, this idea was abandoned as well.

By the beginning of the 19th century Durham was well known for carpet making, weaving, mustard and coal extraction.

A number of famous people are connected with the City and County, such as Tony Blair, who spent much of his childhood in Durham, and Rowan Atkinson (creator of Mr. Bean), who was born in Consett, not far from the City.

Reasons to visit Durham

There are many scenic areas to visit, including a good selection of historical buildings such as Durham Castle, a Norman Castle that stands on top of a hill above the River Wear. The castle has been occupied as a university since 1840, although guided tours are allowed.

Other places of interest include Durham Cathedral, which was founded in 1093 AD and is regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture. Elvet Bridge crosses the River Wear and is a mediaeval masonry arch bridge constructed in 1160. There are a number of other bridges (old and new) like the Framwellgate, Kingsgate and Prebends bridges.

Entertainment and Dining in Durham

Durham offers theatres, cinemas, nightclubs and a good selection of pubs. There are many interesting places to eat such as Finbarr’s Restaurant (British Food), El Coto (Mediterranean) and the Gourmet Spot (European).

Accommodation in Durham

There are Guest Houses, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation available, and camping facilities outside the City. Hotels include the Premier Inn in the City Centre, the Radisson Blu Hotel and Lumley Castle Hotel.