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Discover Things To Do

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With the launch of our new ‘Things To Do’ website, we’re running a campaign in the summer to promote all of the University’s visitor attractions and the amazing choice of events and activities they deliver in the heart of Durham.

The campaign highlights the valuable contribution we make to our community and visitors from across the country and the world. By inspiring learning through welcoming visitors to our attractions we ensure that the benefits of a world-leading university are shared with everyone.

Keep your eyes peeled for the bus-side advertisements, digital posters on the screens around the city centre and promotion in local press and on social media!

Visit our amazing attractions

Located in two clusters, at the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and to the south of the city, our venues are open year-round and welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Our museums, galleries, collections, and the Botanic Garden offer opportunities for fun and learning for all, with exciting events and activities taking place throughout the year.

All our venues are free for staff and students to visit, and their close proximity provides the perfect opportunity to visit more than one in a day.

Oriental Museum

Our Oriental Museum is the only museum in the North of England devoted entirely to the art and archaeology of Northern Africa and Asia. It has fantastic permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions and hosts a range of family activities and events throughout the year, including religious and cultural festivals.

A young visitor takes in the displays at the Oriental Museum
A young visitor takes in the displays at the Oriental Museum

Botanic Garden

A 5-minute walk away, our 10-hectare Botanic Garden offers a wide variety of landscapes to explore and discover, including plant collections from around the world, glasshouses and native woodland. Hosting family events and activities throughout the year, as well as local artist exhibitions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Visitors exploring our Botanic Garden
Visitors exploring our Botanic Garden

Durham Castle

Sitting at the heart of Durham's World Heritage Site is Durham Castle. Occupied continuously since the 11th century, the Castle is now home to the students at University College. Book a guided tour to discover 1,000 years of history, see our exhibitions and enjoy fun-filled family activities.

Fun activities at Durham Castle
Fun activities at Durham Castle

World Heritage Site Visitor Centre

Housed within Palace Green Library - situated between the Castle and Cathedral - is our World Heritage Site Visitor Centre. Durham World Heritage site was inscribed by UNESCO in 1986 in recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value, becoming one of the first UK sites to be listed. At our visitor centre, learn about the history of Durham and how local partners are working with UNESCO to protect the site for future generations. 

Learning about the history of Durham
Learning about the history of Durham

Cosin’s Library

One of the earliest surviving public libraries in the North East of England, Cosin’s Library is located within the beautiful Palace Green Library. Cosin’s Library was founded in 1669 by Bishop John Cosin to give local people access to good books. Visit the library to discover the conservation work that has recently been completed and experience this wonderful space for yourself.

Taking in the collection at Cosin's Library
Taking in the collection at Cosin's Library

Museum of Archaeology

Visit our Museum of Archaeology during your time in Palace Green Library. The museum’s collections range from the prehistoric to post-medieval and host amazing exhibitions, activities and events. We have a small family-friendly exhibition exploring the Prehistoric and Roman past of Durham, where younger visitors will enjoy dressing up and following a trail through the gallery, where they might even find some of our hidden Roman soldiers!

A big day out this summer

With summer and school holidays just around the corner, there are lots of exciting events and family-friendly activities planned across our venues.

  • Explore, learn and create with our programme of free family activities at our Oriental Museum. Taking inspiration from objects on display, our activities are generally suitable for families with children aged 5 - 11 years, with no booking required. Family activities planned for June include Ancient Egyptian Shabti Making, Beautiful Birds, Interesting X-rays and Taotie Mask Making, with more to be announced for the summer months.
  • Penned and Printed is our new permanent Archives and Special Collections gallery within Palace Green Library. The opening themes are the History of Health and Medicine, Crime and Punishment and Women’s Suffrage, with a particular focus on material which links County Durham, the University and our amazing collections to national and international events, ideas and movements.
  • Our twilight opening hours at Palace Green Library and Oriental Museum allow visitors to explore these venues until 7pm on specific days. Twilight opening at our Oriental Museum is on the first and third Thursday of each month, and Palace Green Library twilight opening is on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.
  • Don’t miss the Botanic Garden annual Fun Day on Sunday 18 June, where visitors can enjoy free entertainment, arts and activities in wonderful surroundings!
  • Our Photographing Tutankhamun exhibition explores how photography turned Tutankhamun into a global sensation. This exhibition is on display at our Outdoor Art Gallery in Bill Bryson Library Square until 24 June.
  • You can find out more about our Art Prize Art School and plans for summer activities on our Summer In The City (SITC) webpages.

For details of all our upcoming events, visit our What’s On Events Calendar on our website.

Visit our new website to find out more...

Visit our brand-new website, Durham University Things To Do, where you will find information about all our wonderful venues, research, outreach initiatives and how you can get involved, all in one place!



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