Earlier this month, I made my first visit to the northern town of Durham, England to atend the Historical Novel Society’s biannual conference.
For each conference, they choose a historical city in the UK – so it was a great chance to explore a new destination I hadn’t yet seen.
Durham is a beautiful, medieval town, which also plays host to Durham University. But the bell of the ball in Durham is definitely its spectacular xxth century cathedral dedicated to Saint Cuthbert. While I’ll write about that in a future post, today’s post is dedicated to climbing the cathedral bell tower to enjoy views over the medieval town.
Whether ancient or modern, one of the first things I like to do in a new destination is to head to its highest point to enjoy the views from on high and to get an idea of its layout. In medieval towns like Durham, that almost always means the cathedral bell tower.
I was lucky it was open on my visit – and that my first day in Durham we enjoyed spectacular, clear blue skies with lots of sun (as you can imagine, not a given in northern England).
I bought my ticket to climb the 325 steps to the top – and let me tell you, I felt each and every one of those steps. : ) While the curving steps start off wide, they narrow as you got to the top. While there weren’t that many tourists climbing up and down, it was pretty tight quarters when other visitors did have to pass.
Of course, I do often climb these towers with my younger son, who is a sprinter and a glutton for punishment and always sees these climbs as a challenge. He is usually sprinting up these steps and calling down to me to ask why I am being too slow … so it was lovely to have a leisurely climb up, without pressure.
The views from the top made it more than worth it!
Great to see the winding streets of the medieval town, the winding river and the bridges that crossed it, and the modern university campus and rolling green hills that bordered the town.
Lots of work to get up, but well worth the effort!
I greatly enjoyed views from the pinnacle of the Durham Cathedral – and would tackle those 325 steps again on a future visit.