Durham Castle was bequeathed to Durham University many years ago, and is used principally by them as student accommodation. Visits are therefore by guided tour only, mainly in afternoons, and avoid the student areas.
There is still much to see however. The exterior is a magnificent example of the ‘motte’ in ‘motte and bailey’ as the castle was built to guard the equally magnificent cathedral on the other side of the palace green. Tours visit the former main rooms of the castle and the chapel, all of which are very interesting. The biggest attraction is the main hall, now used for student graduation ceremonies, which has a superb ceiling reminiscent of St George’s Hall in Windsor Castle.
Some areas have been modernised/updated to meet the demands of the university, which is a pity as some of the older features have become hidden. The tour was still very worthwhile however, and a ‘must-do’ for the visitor to Durham.