22nd Biennial New Chaucer Society Congress, Durham 2020
Durham lies in the heart of England's North-East. The lively modern city of Newcastle is just 10 minutes away by train; and the historic city of York can also be reached in less than an hour.
The academic sessions of the Congress will run from Monday 13th July to Thursday 16th 2020 (with the Graduate Workshop, Teachers' Workshop and Trustees' Meeting on Sunday 12th, and excursions on Friday 17th).
Anyone thinking about being in Durham on Saturday 11th July should be aware that this is the day of the Durham Miners' Gala. This is a major event in the city's calendar, and a colourful and lively occasion. However, it also means that the streets will be very full during the day, and that there will be various traffic closures. Accommodation in the city may also be more difficult to come by on the evenings of Friday 10th and Saturday 11th.
Arriving by Train
Durham is located on the main east-coast rail line, with direct services to London King’s Cross (less than 3 hours away), Edinburgh (less than 2 hrs) and Newcastle-upon-Tyne (10 minutes). It is also relatively easy to reach Manchester (2.5 hrs), Leeds (75m) and York (45m). The railway station in Durham is quite central: Collingwood College and the TLC are 20 minutes’ walk away (or a 10-minute taxi-ride). There is also a little bus (the "Cathedral Bus") that runs regularly during the day between the Station and Palace Green: https://www.durham.gov.uk/article/1974/Durham-Cathedral-Bus.
However, the city centre is very compact, and almost everything is within a 20-minute walk. The "Cathedral Bus" runs regularly from the railway station, via North Rd and the marketplace, to Palace Green. There are also several taxi companies based in the city. For a list, see https://www.durhamstudent.co.uk/thedirectory/taxis/.
The nearest international airport is at Newcastle, which has regular flights to London Heathrow, and to other European hubs (such as Amsterdam, Paris and Düsseldorf). It is about 45 minutes away by car from Durham city-centre, with a reliable taxi link via Airport Express (http://airport365.com, £65 return [2019 prices]). It is also possible to use the Metro (light railway) to travel into central Newcastle: there are regular trains to Durham from Newcastle Central Station (via the East Coast rail line).
There is also a small airport near Darlington, now called Teesside International Airport (formerly Durham Tees Airport): it has a regular link to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, and to a few other destinations. To get to Durham from Teesside by public transport, it is necessary to get a taxi to Darlington (there is no direct bus or train): from Darlington it is easy to reach Durham via the East Coast rail line (Durham is one stop north of Darlington). Teesside International also has some car-hire firms.
There are also (much larger) international airports at Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, Edinburgh and Glasgow, all of which can be reached from Durham by train.
The ruins of Finchale Priory lie in a quiet riverside setting just to the north of the city (about 10 minutes drive from the centre). The Priory was built on the site of St Godric's hermitage, and served the monks of Durham Cathedral as a kind of "holiday retreat".
Ruthwell church now gives shelter to the Anglo-Saxon stone cross that bears a runic inscription containing much of the poem known as 'The Dream of the Rood' (which survives elsewhere only in the Vercelli Book). Ruthwell is in Dumfriesshire, about 90 minutes away by car.
Hadrian's Wall runs from Wallsend (in Newcastle) to the Solway Firth. The forts at Vindolanda, Housesteads and Chesters are all within an hour's drive from Durham. There is also a footpath that runs the whole length of the Wall.
Bamburgh is the ancient seat of the Northumbrian earls. Its formidable castle has a spectacular setting overlooking a long, sandy beach. The county of Northumberland has more castles than any other English country, and a beautiful coastline.
Lindisfarne Priory Ruins
Holy Island is 90 minutes away by car, but it can only be reached (via a causeway) at low tide.
Crook Hall, Durham
Crook Hall, parts of which date back to the thirteenth century, has beautiful gardens and a pleasant café. It is just a few minutes walk from Durham city centre.
The Sage Concert Hall, Gateshead
The North-East's premier concert hall is located in a spectacular building overlooking the Quayside and the Millennium ("blinking eye") Bridge. It is just 25 mins from Durham by car (or 10 mins walk from Newcastle Central Station). It always has a varied programme of events.
Escomb, Anglo-Saxon Stone Church
The tiny, seventh-century church at Escomb is the oldest complete Anglo-Saxon church in the UK. In a rather incongruous setting in the middle of a little housing estate, it is 25 minutes away from Durham by car.
Durham Tourist Information
For lots of information about the city and county of Durham, please click the link to the right!