Visit Durham by Mouse
Durham in the shire of Durham is 276 miles northeast of London and 18 miles northwest of Newcastle upon Tyne. It has a cathedral and a castle, both dating from early Norman times, i.e., shortly after the invasion of 1066 AD. Both are listed World Heritage sites.
Durham also is noted for venerable Durham University, which either is or shares the claim with other universities of being the third oldest to Oxford and Cambridge. In 1837 the Durham Castle was donated to the University which has operated on the site, quite near the cathedral.
The cathedral has elements of both Norman and Gothic styles.  The columns inside are very heavy and rounded, and there are many round arches in the interior and in the windows, but many of the windows have pointed gothic arches.
There is a passageway in the Cathedral, on the ceiling of which are displayed the coats of arms of many prominent local families. One or these is the Washington coat of arms (see photos), a shield with three stars at the top and red and white horizontal stripes beneath the stars. A placque underneath has the following engraved on it: "Remember in these cloisters which were finished in his day, John Washington of Washington in this county, Prior of this Cathedral Church 1416-1446, whose family has won an everlasting name in lands to him unknown." This placque commemorates the great, great, great...grandfather of the first President of the United States, George Washington. What is especially interesting in this history is that a later John Washington was born to a family that was extremely loyal to King Charles I. After the King was beheaded by the Parliament forces and Oliver Cromwell became head of a new government, the government seized lands belonging to loyalists. Among these were lands belonging to the Washington family. In 1655, John Washington fled England to start a new life in Virginia. It certainly is one of history's ironies that this loyalist John Washington was to become the great grandfather of the George Washington who risked all to side with and command the army of the American Revolution against the tyrannies of the then King of England.
It perhaps should not to be overlooked that this cathedral also has been seen in popular movies. "In the Harry Potter films it was Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where it had a spire added onto the top of the famous towers to make it look less prominent. Interior views of the Cathedral were featured in the 1998 film Elizabeth. In 1996 the Great Western Doorway was the setting for Bill Viola's large-scale video installation The Messenger."--Wikipedia link to Durham Cathedral.
It also should not be overlooked that the city itself and nearby areas are full of attractions, and offers very pleasant walking venues.  One of these in nearby Hexham is Hexham Abbey dating from 1120-1270 AD.
Photos  Slideshow
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