We decided to visit Durham Castle on Saturday afternoon, and rocked up about 2pm to wander around. Although it turns out you can’t do that. You can only look around on a guided tour so we walked around the corner to the visitor information centre to buy our tickets (£5 each) only to be told that the 2:15pm tour was fully booked but there were two places left on the 4:15pm. So we had a couple of hours to wander around Durham before returning for our tour.
Our tour was done by a very confident Durham University maths student, who did a good job of taking us around a few key rooms. The Castle is in use as student accommodation so there are plenty of areas we couldn’t look around as they were student bedrooms. We also weren’t allowed to take photographs inside for the same reason. It was a little strange being shown the great hall and it’s portraits of University patrons while some poor students were trying to do their revision.
The Castle dates from C11th, construction start in 1072 under the orders of William the Conquerer. Modifications and alterations were added throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. We saw a little chapel with carvings that indication to illiterate worshipers where to stand. That room has incredible thick walls to protect against assault on the Castle. We also saw the Black Stairs which were added in 1660 by Biship Cosin who was the last Bishop to make major changes to the Castle before the University took over.