Durham is a city full of historical wonder, and you can still see its medieval influence to this day. Yet, it’s not somewhere stuck in the past – it’s quite the opposite. Regeneration and a vibrant way of life have given Durham the best of both worlds.
But what’s it like living in this city day-to-day? That’s what we’re finding out with our moving to Durham area guide.
A brief history of Durham
Durham’s Norman cathedral became a centre of pilgrimage in medieval England and was the most important religious site in the country. In 1986, both Durham Cathedral and the 11th-century castle adjacent to it were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The castle has been part of the famous Durham University since 1832.
Where is Durham
Durham is located in the northeast of England in County Durham. The city lies on the River Wear and is located to the southwest of Sunderland, south of Newcastle and the north of Darlington.
Moving to Durham
Expect to find winding cobbled streets and architecture dating back thousands of years combined with innovation and regeneration in Durham. This is also reflected in the homes; there are many types of property available, including charming period buildings and new-build properties.
Buying in Durham
The average house value in Durham is £167,986, with paid prices marginally higher at £168,715. Expect to pay around £265,382 for a detached home, £115,583 for a terraced house and £128,861 for an apartment.
While still not the cheapest place to buy a house, Durham property prices are considerably lower than the UK national average of £251,000. Over the last 12 months, house prices have increased by eight per cent and by 14 per cent in the last five years.
There’s a varied selection of estate and letting agents in Durham, with chain and independent options available to help you find a home.
Renting in Durham
One-bedroom homes rent for an average of £695 per month in Durham, with two-bedroom properties fetching in the region of £990 per month. For larger homes, expect to pay an average of £1,000 per month.
Cost of living
If you’re moving to Durham, you can expect to pay similar prices to the UK national average when it comes to everyday living. A meal for one person is around £15, which is the same as the UK average. A cappuccino is £2.69, and one litre of milk is £0.85p.
Utility bills are considerably more affordable than the nationwide average. Electricity, heating, cooling, water and waste disposal cost an average of £115, which is around £40 cheaper than the national average. Broadband is around £28 per month.
Life in Durham
Durham is hugely popular with tourists, meaning there’s plenty to do and see in the city. Whether you’re browsing historical sites or grabbing a bite to eat before doing a spot of shopping, Durham has something for all tastes.
The Durham Regatta on the banks of the river takes place every June and is the second oldest regatta in England. Wharton Park is a popular green space where you can climb up to the 19th-century battlements and enjoy sweeping views of the city.
Durham is well connected with direct services to London King Cross, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Plymouth, Reading and Southampton. It’s also near the A1, which connects to the M1. Newcastle International Airport is also nearby, around a 30-minute drive from the city.
Head to Prince Bishops Shopping Centre for all the major brands. It’s the city’s primary shopping centre, though there are many independent shops to discover as well as local-made goods at Durham Market Hall.
There’s a great selection of eateries in Durham, whether you’re dining in a French-inspired restaurant like Finbarr’s or enjoying Michelin-star delights at the Raby Hunt Inn, which is about a 30-minute drive from the city.
As a university city, Durham has plenty of nightlife options. Klute is a student-friendly spot, while Babylon Durham is also popular. Newcastle is just under 20 minutes away and has some of the best nightlife options in the UK.
Art & culture
The Gala Theatre is the place to go for performances from leading theatre companies. If you’re looking for the latest art pieces, Outstanding Art is a commercial gallery where you can also enjoy champagne, cocktails and tea and coffee.
Things to do
Take a tour of Durham Castle, which is now part of Durham University. It’s one of the city’s most historic monuments, along with Durham Cathedral, which is perhaps Durham’s most recognisable landmark.
What’s not to like?
Durham is small as far as cities go, which means anyone looking for more urban sprawl might find cities like Newcastle slightly more appealing.
Who lives there?
Durham has a population of just over 527,000 and a median age of 33.
Typical broadband speeds
The average broadband speed is 22mbps in Durham, which is lower than the UK national average of 67mbps.
Crime rates in Durham average 2,482 per year and are lower than the national average of 10,000.
Everything you need to know about moving to Durham
Get even more information about moving to Durham with Move iQ’s property report, which provides in-depth information on specific properties in the County Durham city so you can get to know the area before you move there. Arm yourself with the facts before you move!
Last Updated: November 2nd, 2021