Epic Durham City Riverside Walk (Approx. 2.3 Miles)

Durham is a charming, picturesque and stunning city located in the North East of England. This walk takes in some of the best sights around the city.

Durham is a charming, picturesque and stunning city located in the North East of England. It is home to the prestigious University of Durham, Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral, all of which dominate the skyline of this beautifully historic city. There is so much to explore and discover in this city from the cobbled streets and old market hall to the riverside paths and historic buildings. Here, we would like to highlight just one walk that you can take around the city, as you follow the banks of the River Wear, past the Cathedral and boating houses up into the city centre.

The Walk

This beautifully scenic walks begins in the shadows of the towering Durham Cathedral on the Palace Green. Facing the cathedral, the Bishop Cosin’s Library should be on your right. Head towards the cathedral until you come to a small passageway on the right called Windy Gap. This will take you down to the riverside where you will turn left, following the sign for city centre. Now, follow this path which takes the upper bank of the River Wear. You will pass an old fulling mill and the University College Boat House below. Eventually, you will reach Prebends Bridge where you will cross over the river.

Now, the river will be on your right-hand side. As you make you way down to the riverside pathway, you will see a stone sculpture named ‘Reveal’. Continue along this pathway past the Durham School Boat House and you will come to a viewing point where you can soak in the sights of the striking cathedral, mill and weir. As you carry on down the footpath, you will see lots of interesting trees, plants and flowers blooming on the riverside. The River Wear is also home to lots of swans and ducks that regularly swim the length of this walk. As you get closer to the city centre, here you will be greeted with the outstanding views that Durham is famous for, taking in the sight of the historic castle on the hill. When Framwellgate Bridge is ahead of you, take the steps to the left to reach it and cross over the River Wear once again.

City View

Here, you will take the steps down back to the riverside that are hidden down the side of the ‘Rib N Reef’ restaurant. Be careful as these steps are quite steep. Follow the steps past the Riverside kitchen and take the path to the right which goes down onto the riverside rather than high above where you began your walk. This pathway offers a different view of the city to the one above, but follows the same route. Continue along this pathway, passing the old fulling mill and university boat house once again until you reach Prebends Bridge. Here, you will get a closer look at The Storyteller’s Chair sculpture before crossing under the bridge.

Keeping the river on your right, you will pass St Cuthbert’s Society Tennis club on your left before reaching the Count’s House. This is an 1820s class Grecian style building with columns and something unusual to be sighted on the banks of this northern city. As you follow the river this way, you will be able to spot visitors in small rowing boats that they have hired further down river. You will pass St John’s and St Chad’s College Boathouses before passing underneath Kingsgate Bridge. On your right-hand side, you will see King’s Church. Once passing Hatfield College Boathouse, you are almost back into the city centre. Keep following the path until you reach Elvet Bridge where you will take the steps up onto the bridge.

Completing the Walk

Elvet Bridge is a very busy and popular site in Durham with plenty of cafes and restaurants, should you wish to stop for a refreshment. To make your way back to the beginning of the walk, follow the bridge to the left up to the city centre. Here, the bridge meets Saddler Street where you will turn left and make your way up the steep hill back to the cathedral. Please be aware that this is a road and cars will be making their way up and down.

Eventually, the road will split off to the right down Owengate or carry straight ahead. Keep to the road and follow it straight ahead down North Bailey. This is a beautiful road through Durham that really highlights the traditional architecture. You will pass the Assembly Rooms Theatre on your right and Hatfield College Chapel on your left. Once you reach Hatfield Cottage on your left, turn right down Dun Cow Lane and this will bring you back on the Palace Green in front of the wonderful cathedral where your walk began.


Durham is a busy city centre all year round and therefore parking can sometimes be tricky. There are plenty of places to park, but at varying prices. The Prince Bishops car park is a multi-story located within the city centre and there are many on and off street car parks where you can pay and display. The most efficient way to get into the city is via the park and ride system. There are 3 park and ride sites, located at Belmont, Howlands Farm and Sniperley. The buses run every ten/fifteen minutes directly to many stops within the city centre from 7am to 7pm with tickets only costing £2 per person.

Durham is a well-connected city with a train station serving all mainline routes to London and Edinburgh as well as smaller trains to local towns and cities. The station is a short walk from the centre of the city.

Durham is also accessible by bus and has a bus station located near the main road (A690). It serves buses from Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and many more local areas. Please consult their website to find out more information about timetables and routes.

This walk is accessible for dog walkers all year round and is very popular. The paths along the riverside are paved, however, during winter months and rainy seasons, the paths can become very muddy, slippy and sometimes flooded so you must take care. Durham is a city with lots of hills! So please be aware that this walk does include some steep inclines and steps.

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