Durham Loop

This walk takes in the main visitor attractions in Durham, starting from the Howlands Park and Ride, visiting the Oriental Museum, Botanical Gardens, Castle, Cathedral and Market Place. There are some steep hills, but a bus can be caught from Elvet back to the Park and Ride.

Technical sheet
No. 6616926
A Durham walk posted on 20/03/21 by sarahhcfe. Update : 06/12/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h55[?]
Distance Distance : 6.15km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 62m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 57m
Highest point Highest point : 89m
Lowest point Lowest point : 38m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Durham
Starting point Starting point : N 54.761198° / W 1.580969°
Download : -


(D/A) Howlands Park and Ride - Leave the Park and Ride on foot and head towards Durham. Turn left at the first junction signposted Oriental Museum.

(1) From the Oriental Museum walk carry on the Elvet Hill Road past Trevelyan College bearing right at the junction. There is a good view of the Cathedral here in winter but obscured by the trees in Summer. Continue past St Mary's College.

(2) At the roundabout turn left on Quarry Heads Lane and then cross the road. Go through the white gates. Walk down the road until you reach Prebands Bridge.

(3) Cross the bridge and walk up the steep hill and through the Water Gate, you are now in South Bailey.
Continue along the road, you will pass an archway on your left which will take you to The College, the rear entrance to the Cathedral. Alternatively continue walking along the Bailey until you reach the Cathedral (left) and the Heritage Centre (right).

(4) Turn left into Dun Cow Lane. You will now be on Palace Green, you can enter the Cathedral via the front door,
When you have finished visiting Palace Green, walk down Owengate and then turn left into Saddler Street. Continue down Saddler Street to the Market Place.

(5) From the Market Place, walk down Silver Street towards the river. At the bottom of Silver Street you will see a flight of steps to your left between the shops (before the bridge).

(6) Walk down the steps and follow the footpath around the river bank. You will pass Prebends Bridge again but this time underneath it. Then, carry on along the water and you will pass underneath Kingsgate Bridge (footbridge) and Elvet Bridge.

(7) When you reach the Boat House take the steps up to Elvet Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right and walk up New Elvet, bearing right at Dunelm House on Church Street. Continue to walk along the road on South Road until you reach the car park. Howlands Park and Ride (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 84m - Howlands Park and Ride
1 : km 0.44 - alt. 88m - Road Junction, Pedestrian Crossing.
2 : km 1.11 - alt. 65m - Quarryheads Lane Roundabout
3 : km 1.35 - alt. 65m - Prebends Bridge
4 : km 1.97 - alt. 65m - Heritage Centre/Durham Cathedral
5 : km 2.46 - alt. 52m - Durham Market Place
6 : km 2.62 - alt. 44m - Milburngate Bridge
7 : km 4.15 - alt. 45m - Boat House.
D/A : km 6.15 - alt. 83m - Howlands Park and Ride

Useful Information

  1. Toilets and cafe are open at both the Oriental Museum, Botanical Gardens and Cathedral. (2) (4)
  2. Public toilets are available on the Palace Green and Market Place. (4)
  3. Places to eat are located on Saddler Street, Milennium Place (just off the Market Place) and Elvet Bridge. (5) (7)
  4. There is a branch of Tesco's in the market place. (4)

This walk can be started in the Market Place and should take between around 1-2 hours but this could be a full day in Durham if you stop to take in the attractions.
The end back to the car park is a long walk up hill, you can catch the bus back to the park and ride from New Elvet if you wish.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  1. You can visit the Oriental Museum and or Botanical Gardens either now or on the return journey. Note the Oriental Museum is opens 12-5 on weekends, so visit this on the return journey. (2)
  2. There are several attractions on the Palace Green. In addition to the Cathedral, you can visit the exhibitions on the Palace Green Library, take a tour of the castle, tickets available from the World Heritage Visitor Centre on Owengate, the road that leads to Palace Green. (4)
  3. The indoor market is well worth a visit. (5)
  4. Hire a rowing boat at the boat house, or just have a coffee and enjoy the view. (7)

Other walks in the area

distance 2.55km Vertical gain +34m Vertical drop -34m Durée 0h50 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This short walk around the university showcases the best the campus has to offer. It is suitable for a lunchtime walk for staff and students, and for a longer walk taking in the Botanical Gardens and Oriental Museum. The walk is accessible, but be ready for a steep climb through the Botanical Gardens.

distance 7.7km Vertical gain +29m Vertical drop -67m Durée 2h15 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This walk, around Durham area, is easy to access allowing interesting heritage discoveries.

distance 4.11km Vertical gain +34m Vertical drop -34m Durée 1h15 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This short, relatively flat walk loops around the River Wear from the Boathouse to Maiden Castle and back along the other side of the river giving views of the castle and cathedral and plenty of places for a picnic. This walk is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

distance 2.8km Vertical gain +22m Vertical drop -23m Durée 0h50 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This loop will take you around the peninsula giving great views of Durham Castle, Cathedral and the River Wear. This relatively flat and therefore suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

distance 4.93km Vertical gain +54m Vertical drop -46m Durée 1h35 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This walk starts in Durham City Centre, but takes a more unusual path around the city affording views of the castle and cathedral from several view points. The walk descends from the Market Place to the river bank and then passes the law courts and prison, Durham University, Durham School, then passes the listed buildings on South Street before returning to the start via the new Riverwalk Development.

distance 7.62km Vertical gain +45m Vertical drop -44m Durée 2h20 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Brandon and Byshottles - Durham

On the western outskirts of Durham. Good pathways through a mixture of the farming and industrial landscape.

distance 7.13km Vertical gain +47m Vertical drop -51m Durée 2h10 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This is a relaxing walk around the River Wear in Durham City. The footpaths are mostly paved making this suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Where there are steps, alternatives have been provided. There are some lovely visitas from which the castle and cathedral can be viewed.

distance 8.61km Vertical gain +82m Vertical drop -88m Durée 2h40 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This walk is a little more challenging and includes some steep gradients but finishes with a more leisurely walk along the river banks in the city itself finishing at Brown's Boat House next to Elvet Bridge. Along the way the route passes several farms, Croxdale Hall with its Chapel and Shincliffe Hall. These are closed to the public but make good route points.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.