Durham walk - A short stroll around the banks of the River Wear with fine views of Durham Cathedral


Durham City Centre and its Cathedral from a ‘birds eye’ drone shot. Not many realise the River Wear forms an island like feature around Durham Cathedral, but it makes for a perfect short river walk around Durham's bustling centre. Read on to learn more...

Durham City Walk - A short 1.4 mile route around the River Wear in Durham

Durham is not far from where I live so I like to visit this little city that’s full of history and character as much as possible, whether for shopping, to visit it's wide range of good restaurants and different bars, or to sample it's cultural and historical landmarks, such as Durham Cathedral. Durham is also a World Heritage Site, so by that title alone you know it’s worth a visit and an explore. 

Quite often when at Durham, whatever the season, I'll do this little River Walk of just under 1.5 miles around the banks of the River Wear. Visitors to Durham are often completely unaware of this walk, or even the fact that the river encapsulates Durham Cathedral - almost forming an island. Infact the word Durham comes from the Norse for Dun (hill) and Holme (island), with it being chosen as the place to lay St Cuthbert’s remains to rest after being moved by the monks from Holy Island when the vikings invaded over 1000 years ago. I guess the little island was a safe haven and the rest of Durham developed around this little piece of land. 

On this walk, despite being so close to the hustle and bustle of the main high streets, you feel like you are in the countryside as it's largely through woodland. It's a good little respite from the busyness of this historic city, and the colours in autumn are spectacular on this walk. 

The full short walking route is shown below:

When I visit Durham I usually park at the Prince Bishops car park, which is where this route starts, which is right on the River Wear. It's then a case of tracking the clearly marked riverside footpath in a clockwise direction, and then when you arrive a Prebends Bridge you cross the River Wear and then head north on the Western bank of the river (with fantastic views of Durham Cathedral) until you get to Framwellgate bridge and then cross that into the busy Silver Street and then either head back to the start or sample all that Durham city centre has to offer. It will take you less than 45 minutes and I highly recommend it! Interactive map link below:

Durham City river walk best views cathedral route map
You'll get this classic view of Durham Cathedral over the River Wear on this Durham walk. 

Happy Exploring Durham!

Post by Stuart Hodgson 
'The Hiking Photographer'

I share my adventures as I love the outdoors and it's spectacular natural landscapes. Being outside can also bring many benefits to us, including improvements to our physical & mental health and I want to help others reap these benefits too. I hope you enjoy the blog and it inspires you to plan a trip or two!

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