Durham Castle, Durham

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Courtyard and Keep

Durham Castle, Durham

In the heart of the City, Durham Castle forms part of Durham's UNESCO World Heritage Site.


  • 13th century buildings (or older)
  • 14th century buildings
  • 15th century buildings
  • 16th century buildings
  • Breakfast included
  • No car parking
  • No smoking
  • Historic Property


  • No Internet access
  • Central heating

Food and Drinks

  • Cooked breakfast (included)
  • Bar

Nearby recreations

  • Pub (walking distance)
  • Museums (walking distance)
  • Historic houses
  • Recommended restaurants (walking distance)
  • Theatre (walking distance)

In the heart of the City, Durham Castle forms part of Durham's UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Grade 1 listed building shares Palace Green with Durham's iconic Norman Cathedral and is a few hundred yards from all the facilities and amenities that the City has to offer.

A wide variety of comfortable bedrooms is available, ranging from standard rooms with shared facilities to magnificent state rooms. Many rooms have been extensively refurbished during 2011.

Accommodation is available during University vacations; January, Easter and throughout July, August and September.

History to the present day

The present Castle began in 1072 as a simple defensive mound commissioned by William the Conqueror to defend the peninsula formed by the meander in the River Wear. Over the centuries, the Castle has been a residence of the Bishops of Durham who added to the buildings and altered them to suit the needs of the time.

The University of Durham was founded in 1832 by Bishop Van Mildert and the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral. After Van Mildert's death in 1836 the Castle was handed over to the University and became University College in 1837, the oldest of the Durham Colleges. Early generations of students lived either in University House, now Cosin's Hall, or in the Castle Keep which was reconstructed in 1840.

The College is an academic community within Durham University of around 600 undergraduates and 50 postgraduates, and members of University staff attached to the College through the Senior Common Room. All members, both academic staff and students, share a common aim: the pursuit of knowledge. There are many other aspects of College life: cultural, sporting and social, but the main purpose of the College is academic.

Food and Drinks

Our rates include a full English breakfast served between 8 and 9am in the medieval Great Hall

The College Undercroft bar is generally open most evenings from 6 to 11pm. Check at Reception for opening times.

Grounds and gardens

The Castle, part of Durham's World Heritage Castle, is located on Palace Green across from the City's iconic Norman Cathedral. Either relax walking around the historic city or take a stroll along the nearby banks of the River Wear.

Due to the nature of Durham Castle it is used as a venue for a variety of events and functions. As such, there may be some noise and minor disruption during your stay, our staff will endeavour to control this where possible.

Durham Cathedral is located next to Durham Castle and as a result guests should be aware the Cathedral bells ring prior to services on a Sunday and between 18.30 and 20.30 each Thursday evening.

Other facilities

Rooms include tea & coffee making facilities. As part of your stay you are welcome to join one of our public guided tours on a complimentary basis. During University vacations tours are normally available every morning of the week at 10:00, 11.00 and 12:00, and in the afternoons when there are no commercial activities (e.g. weddings), from 14:00 to 17:00.

Arrival information and how to find us

Address: University College, Durham Castle, Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RW, United Kingdom

Address: University College, Durham Castle, Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RW.

Check In: From 2pm. Check Out: By 10am Luggage can be stored if required.

On arrival please report to the Reception, which is open 24 hours per day. 

Visitors and guests with mobility problems are advised to contact us well in advance so that we can provide the best advice and assistance.

The entrance to the Castle (the Barbican) is a single track cobbled road with a restricted entrance through the Gatehouse to the Courtyard. The Barbican is approximately 4.2 metres wide and the Gatehouse 2.5 metres wide by 2.6 metres high.

More photos of Durham Castle, Durham

The Keep Entrance to the Great Hall Tunstall Gallery Undercroft Bar Newly refurbished room in the keep View from a room in the Hall Stairs

Customer feedback

We guarantee that all our feedback is genuine and can only be submitted by people who have booked through our websites.

, March 2015: Very helpful staff 5/5

, September 2014: It was a delight to stay in the wonderful and fascinating Durham Castle. So much more character than many hotels which are often very impersonal. Staff in the Porter's Lodge, reception and Great Hall (where breakfast was served) were all friendly and helpful. Also enjoyed the free tour round the castle which was really interesting. Room was spotlessly clean with everything you needed. It was a bit of a hike up to the room, as it was on the third floor in the keep, but I'm reasonably fit so not too much of a problem. 4/5

, September 2014: Very nice atmosphere, very clean rooms. Superb location. Thank you. 5/5

, September 2014: Excellent as always at the Castle. 4/5

, September 2014: what a fab place to stay! Will stay again if I am in Durham again! 5/5

, September 2014: Wonderful - highly recommend staying here! 5/5

, August 2014: Anyone who wants to stay in a stunning Castle and Cathedral setting will not find anywhere better than Durham for the experience of a lifetime! 5/5

, August 2014: too many stairs. Friendly staff Lovely breakfast with lots of choice Great location and unique surroundings 4/5

, August 2014: Exceptional views of the great cathedral, awesome breakfast, immensely satisfying 'real castle' experience. Very knowledgeable and helpful Durham castle reception. Easy to use University Rooms website, with helpful University Rooms email support (although address is hard to obtain). Cautionary tale that Durham Castle reservation support should be coordinated to point back to University Rooms when amendment and change requests involve University Rooms booking. Overall experience and value were excellent. Historic town, and exceptional views. 5/5

, August 2014: It's an experience to sleep in the castle. Furthermore, it is located in the city center and just in front of the cathedral. I definitely recommend it. 5/5

, August 2014: Superb. Everything just right. Better than I expected. Especially the parking. That was fantastic. Thanks guys. 5/5

, August 2014: Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Lots of stairs to climb but we had been warned! 4/5

, August 2014: Ignore the breakfast comment - I missed it. I thought it would be til 9.00am. I work at Christ Church Oxford in the Conference office and we use University Rooms and do B&B. I was most impressed with yours and have gone back with a couple of ideas for improvements in our rooms! Very freindly staff and staying with you added to a wonderful day - going to the wedding of close friends. Durham is a magical place, and attending the Wedding Reception at St Chads and staying in the Castle Keep overnight with coffee on the Green next to the Cathedral the following morning was the icing on the cake! 4/5

, August 2014: I brought my grandson who couldn't believe we were staying in a real castle! The experience lived up to all expectations:- now my wife insists I bring her! 5/5

, August 2014: We found the whole experience fantastic, brilliant location, friendly staff and especially enjoyed breakfast in the great hall. The stairs could be a challenge for some people perhaps. 5/5

, July 2014: Just an outstanding experience from start to finish. The staff was very helpful and the accomodations were excellent. 5/5

, July 2014: Excellent location for the Cathedral and city centre 5/5

, July 2014: Loved it..even the steps...ha ha 5/5

, July 2014: Staying in the castle keep and having breakfast in the great hall was a marvellous experience, although I could have done without 106 steps up to my room. Thankfully I am a fairly fit OAP! I was disappointed not to have any internet access. I understand the reasons for the lack of WiFi but I was not offered or told about the ethernet access which is available in every room. 4/5

, July 2014: Amazing building. Not luxurious , but lovely experience to stay in a castle and great value for money. Would have been great if breakfast was served slightly earlier, as had to catch an early bus each day. Also disappointed that I was not allowed to use the laundry facilities. But would happily stay again. 4/5

, July 2014: It was just right for our purpose and we enjoyed our stay. 4/5

, July 2014: Staying at the castle was a very nice experience! 5/5

, July 2014: What a fantastic setting for a weekend away. 5/5

, July 2014: Absolutely fantastic, still surprised at the price. 5/5

, July 2014: Direcions were not quite clear enough ( the right turn to castle up the cobbled street was not mentioned) The experience was otherwise delightful. 4/5

Ms Mary Goudge, July 2014: The only comment I would add is that WiFi access would be useful for those of us staying there for business rather than holiday. In room J32 it would be useful to have heavier or lined curtains as when the security lights outside come on the room was very bright. Overall I enjoyed my experience of staying in the Castle and the staff I encountered were very friendly and helpful. I would definitely (and laready have) reccomend it to other people. 4/5

Mr Jonathan Dean, April 2014: What an amazing place to stay, what a great deal! I stayed two nights, for very little money, while visiting a friend studying at Durham University. The castle, library, and the fantastic Durham Cathedral are all on the main plateau in the center of town. We took the official castle tour, led by an extremely informative and knowledgable archeology grad student; looked in the amazing Norman Chapel, where there was an exhibit of Cairene tapestries going on; and ate (insitutional food, nothing great) in the Hogwarts-esque Great Hall. The residence hosts and the porters were very obliging about looking after my bicycle for me-much appreciated, as the room where I was staying in the keep was up more than enough stairs. (Alas, given Norman defensive architecture and the murky weather, there wasn't really a view-and that in an extremely scenic and gorgeous town.) The only thing missing is internet service, although the practical difficulties of making that happen are obvious. I was able to get online in the library next door to the castle. 5/5

Mrs Melanie Hill, April 2014: Lovely room 124 floors to climb, alright for me and my husband, but if you have problems with walking not achievable. Great Room, Great views 4/5

Ms Rosemary Dodds, April 2014: Everything good quality - impressed by the Fair Trade, no Nestle and efforts at recycling. As Durham is on many levels a better map or directions would be a great help. Staff helpfully provided this when I 'phoned but easier if it was on the website. 5/5

Ms Gillian Wood, October 2013: A thoroughly enjoyable stay and excellent value. A comfortable room and impressive breakfast. 5/5

Ms sue gibson, September 2013: very high standard of welcome, hospitality and an excellent room. Only minor quibble is that the hot elements of the breakfast - porage, bacon, egg etc - were tepid and could have been warmer. Will book again when next in the area. 5/5

Mrs Janet Blundell, September 2013: A brilliant place to stay - at the heart of the community and my room was well positioned, despite the 121 steps to access it. I am now fitter than I was at the beginning of the week! 5/5

Mrs Elizabeth Johnston, September 2013: Having never stayed in university accommodation before we were delighted with what we found and would use it again. 5/5

Mrs Margaret Bryn, September 2013: 5/5

Mr John Davies, August 2013: Friendly staff (even after they have climbed all those stairs) and nice rooms 4/5

Dr Martin Osborn, August 2013: Extremely friendly & helpful staff. The guided tour was a great extra benefit. 126 stairs to the rooms were challenging - but worth it for the views etc. 4/5

Mrs Gill Markey, August 2013: All staff were extremely helpful and friendly. 4/5

Prof Julien Michel, August 2013: 4/5

Prof Anne MacGregor, August 2013: Staff were extremely helpful. When I mentioned that only 3 of us were checking in, having booked for 4, they immediately offered us a refund for the 4th person, which I had not even considered. All the staff greeted us with smiles and went the 'extra mile', making our stay even better. Thank you! 3/5

Ms Menke van der Leij, August 2013: The atmosphere at the Castle and the proximity to the Cathedral were much better than I expected. The room was rather monastic though. And the stairs were a challenge! 4/5

Mr stephen tyerman, August 2013: I was very happy with my stay and will hopefully be staying again the next time I visit Durham, I will be recommending you to my family and friends. Thank you 5/5

Mrs michele sorlier, August 2013: very interesting and pleasant experience Would not mind being a student there !!!! 5/5

Ms Larainne ROBERTSON, August 2013: We just loved our stay in the castle - even the 127 stairs up to our room did not put us off -a good way to work of the sumptuous breakfast. Breakfast in the great hall was like being a student at Hogwartz. The person at reception when we checked in, Charles, was fantastic. He even carried my very heavy bag up all those stairs to our room. Thanks so much for a wonderful experience we won't forget. 5/5

Mrs Maja Ueberle-Pfaff, August 2013: I expected somwhat anonymous and austere students lodgings and was very pleasantly surprised when everything was quite comfortable and well thought-out. 5/5

Mr Jonathan de Vletter, July 2013: What an affordable opportunity to stay in a 13th century castle. Well recommended 5/5

Mr NIGEL BIBBY, July 2013: I've just returned from my first stay at the castle and can say without hesitation that the castle will be my first choice for my next visit to Durham. The staff were very friendly and extremely helpful. 5/5

Mr Stephen Richards, April 2013: Exellent. I will bring the family next time. Thank you 5/5

Mr John Wollaston, April 2013: Convenient way of booking. Great stay, friendly staff & a unique building. A pleausre, thank-you. 4/5

Miss Katya Manamsa, March 2013: Fab, slight mix up over booking but the room was great as was the breakfast in the Great Hall full of interesting guests. The reception staff were friendly and helpful - lovely. The room was warm, plenty of biscuits, shower was down the hall - but it was big, clean and powerful with the best view! 5/5

Ms Linda Blake, October 2012: Fantastic value for money, enjoyed my stay! 5/5

Mrs susan Gaston, October 2012: Everything to do with our visit to Durham University was excellent, the room was far better than I expected and the reception staff were absolutely fabulous, so knowledgeable, informative and helpful...could not have been better. Thank you a wonderful experience....hope my daughter will be accepted both to the Uni and to University College! 5/5

Mr Rikin Patel, October 2012: This is such a beautiful Castle! The walk up from the station was pleasant, and allowed me to see a bit of the town for the first time. IThe final revelation of the Castle in my journey was breathtaking. I really did splendour the occasion! And that was topped of f by a very warm welcome by the staff on arrival. The room was comfortable, clean, and well decorated (I was in the upper reach). The view from my room was nice and overlooked the courtyard. The showers were hot and clean, and the toilets were likewise clean as well. I would definitely come back here! 5/5

Mr John Halsall, October 2012: Staying in Durham castle was unbeatable for historic atmosphere. As previous visitors noted on the website, it's worth being aware in advance that there are lots of stairs to climb (and no lift), if, like me, your room is on the top floor of the castle tower. Great views. I wore ear plugs from second night because of the sound of the cathedral bells ringing every quarter hour across the green. Super tour of castle included. Thank you. 4/5

Mrs Shelagh Polischuk, September 2012: The young man that checked me in was top notch. My husband had needed to contact me from Canada, and the message was given to me in a very timely manner, and with great consideration to my husband's needs. This was so very much appreciated by both my husband and myself. All of the staff were wonderful, and the accommodation terrific. I would return without hesitation. Thank you for the experience! 5/5

Mrs Elspeth Watson, September 2012: Thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would highly recommend it. The tour and finding out about the history of the castle was very interesting. 5/5

Mrs christine roy, September 2012: a lovely overall experience, gorgeous location and view from the bedroom window 5/5

Mr Colin Taylor, September 2012: From my room high in the castle keep I looked out over the bailey and towards the Great Hall (surely the north of England's most stupendous breakfast room). The atmosphere of the past is all pervasive : it is impossible not to be touched by the magic of the place. But at the same time the needs and comforts of the present day traveller/visitor are more than well supplied. My little room was warm and comfortable, well appointed and quiet. So for two nights, this Englishman's home was indeed a castle. 5/5

Mr Clifford Crawford, September 2012: For me the character of staying in the castle beats a Hotel every time and the staff were friendly and helpful. 5/5

Mrs Lesley Bulmer, August 2012: Excellent service from Reception staff - friendly & extremely helpful. Room looked as if had just been refurbished - very clean & comfortable. Liked the floor covering on the Castle stairs too! Much improved on my last stay in 2010. 5/5

Mr Robin Jasper, August 2012: A very enjoyable stay ! 5/5

Mrs Lorna O'Bryen, August 2012: An enjoyable stay.... 4/5

Mrs mary napper, August 2012: enjoyed my 3 night stay - would definately come again. The views from my window were worth the 126 steps up to my room (even carrying a tuba up twice!) 4/5

Mrs anne hopwood, August 2012: had a leak in room and it was sorted straight awy.Staff fantastic 5/5

Mr Grahame Dovey, August 2012: On arrival I was a little worried because I didn't have the extension lead I'd asked for. I had to ask at the Porters' Lodge for one and they kindly obliged. So big thanks to them. I had a very pleasant stay and would recommend it to others. 4/5

Mrs Marion DAVISON, July 2012: More than a hotel stay - a great experience ! 5/5

Ms Emily Goetsch, July 2012: It was great! Thanks! 5/5

Miss Joanna Fergusson, July 2012: It might be helpful if there was a warning about the number of stairs - I counted 140 up to my room, which was a lot! 4/5

Mr jeffrey gainer, April 2012: a very enjoyable few days in a comfortable setting, Thank you. 5/5

Dr John Thomas, April 2012: A wonderful location,very helpful staff, a well-appointed room and excellent location, choice and presentation for breakfast. 5/5

Mr S J czemerys, April 2012: Excellent service and facilities. 5/5

Dr Alison Wood, April 2012: Rooms were small and stylish with a iPod dock being an unexpected bonus. We were at the top of the Keep, 5 flights of stairs up, but you get that in a castle. Breakfast was in the Great Hall and it was good. 4/5

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