Durham Castle has been lived in continuously since the 11th century. It is now home to students of Durham University.
Since 1837, Durham Castle has been home of University College, the oldest of Durham University's Colleges. Often mistaken for simply halls of residence, colleges are much more about belonging to a community, with a common identity, traditions, sports teams, societies and activities. Accommodation is just one aspect of being a member of a college.
Approximately 150 students at University College occupy the keep and the rooms along the Norman Gallery, while in the Great Hall, meals are served to around 300 people three times a day – mainly to student members of the college in their first or final years.
The Three Common Rooms
In addition to the undergraduate body (Junior Common Room), the college has a smaller post-graduate community (Middle Common Room), and a community of invited non-student members – academics, college tutors, and members of the wider community (Senior Common Room). The college is headed by a master who divides time between academic duties and ensuring that college life runs smoothly.
A Public Building
The castle is truly a living building. Like other Durham University colleges, aside from catering to the day-to-day needs of its members, the college hosts a range of special functions, such as formal dinners and balls, in which college members and their guests can participate. There are also occasional public events such as plays, concerts, and exhibitions.
Student guides take visitors on guided tours of the building, explaining both its 900 year old history as well as how it functions today.
The Castle is also used for private functions. In summer, it is a popular venue for wedding receptions, for example. Bed and breakfast accommodation is also available, especially out of term time. Accommodation ranges from standard single or double rooms to the fantastic Bishop's Suite.