Officially known as The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, Durham Cathedral dates from 995AD. The Shrine of St Cuthbert is at Durham but has its origins at Lindisfarne. The present Cathedral was established one hundred years later in 1093. King Canute was an early pilgrim to the site. It is known as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site along with Durham Castle (which faces the Cathedral across the Palace Green). As well as the relics of St Cuthbert the Cathedral has the head of St Oswald and the remains of the Venerable Bede. Its library has one of the most complete sets of early printed books in England and has three copies of The Magna Carta. So for those wishing to tune in to a chunk of Albion’s history Durham is essential.
The Bishop of Durham always stands at the right hand of the Monarch at Coronations. The shrine at Durham was described as ‘one of the most sumptuous in all England, so great were the offerings and jewels bestowed upon it, and endless the miracles that were wrought at it, even in the last days.’ Last days were in 1538 when Henry Vlll ordered the destruction of Cuthbert’s tomb and the wealth was handed over to the king. The shrine was restored in the 1930’s behind the High Altar. Durham Cathedral features as Hogwart’s School in the Harry Potter films with the added attraction of a digital tower! Bill Bryson gave Durham his vote for best cathedral on Planet Earth in his ‘Notes from a Small Island.’ (1995)
Location: While there is no parking at the Cathedral itself, Durham County Council operates a park & ride scheme during the daytime, and there are city centre car parks.
Coordinates: 54° 46′ 25″ N, 1° 34′ 34″ W
Photo Credit: PJ Marriott, Wiki Images, Creative Commons Licence