Photograph of Durham Cathedral and Castle high above the river, with green trees on the riverbanks and Framwellgate Bridge in the foreground

About Durham World Heritage Site

Durham’s World Heritage Site is jointly owned and managed by the Cathedral, Durham University and Durham County Council.

Together they are responsible for ensuring that the site is well managed, protected and meets the legal requirements set out by the UK government and UNESCO.

Why is Durham a World Heritage Site?

Durham was inscribed on the World Heritage List because of:

  • The site’s exceptional architecture demonstrating architectural innovation
  • The visual drama of the Cathedral and Castle on the Peninsula and the associations of the site with notions of romantic beauty
  • The site's role as a political statement as one of Britain's most powerful symbols of the Norman Conquest
  • The physical expression of the spiritual and secular powers of the medieval Prince-Bishops that the defended complex provides
  • The relics and material culture of the three saints (Cuthbert, Bede and Oswald) buried at the site, and the cultural and religious traditions and historical memories associated with them
  • The importance of the site's archaeological remains, which are directly related to its history and use over time
  • The continuity of use and ownership of the site as a place of religious worship, learning and residence over the past 1,000 years

Come and join over 700,000 visitors & pilgrims, and 18,000 students who call Durham “home”. Explore some of the greatest medieval architecture in Europe – find out how to get herewhere to stay, and what's on while you are here.