If the Prince-Bishops of Durham had set out to make their cathedral the greatest tourist attraction in the northeast, they could not have done better. In a sense, that is exactly what they did set out to do. For some five centuries, until the Protestant Reformation, pilgrimages were big business. The bones of St Cuthbert and the skull of St Oswald attracted the halt (disabled), the lame and the old to Durham in the hope of a miraculous healing.
The cathedral and the castle were what Durham was all about, from the early Middle Ages onwards, but even without these landmarks the city of Durham would be spectacular. From whichever side you approach, Durham is a magnificent sight. It’s a city that needs to be explored the hard way – on foot.