Durham is a historic Cathedral city in the North East of England, about 15 miles south of Newcastle. Its most prominent landmark is its ornate Norman cathedral. This dates from 955AD, and was built in honour of Saint Cuthbert. The Cathedral, Monastry and Castle together form the first site in the UK to be awarded the status of "World Heritage Site" by the UN (before Stonehenge or Hadrian's Wall, for example), and is truly one of the most impressive buildings in the world.
It is very much a "University Town", with a large proportion of its population coming from Durham University, which, although spread across the city, is centered around the Cathedral and Castle where it was founded in 1832. The castle itself makes up one of the University's colleges and is a welcome change from the 1960s halls that provide accomodation at many Universities. Meals are taken in the Great hall, and the residential accomodation is situated in areas with names such as "The Norman Gallery" and "The Keep".
Durham is built around a meander of the river Wear. This provided the strategic location for the Cathedral and Castle and also gives the city a very compact centre.