950th Birthday of Durham Castle

Commissioned by William the Conqueror six years after the Norman Conquest of England, Durham Castle is simultaneously part of the history of our county, the history of Durham University, and the history of our College. Our Castle holds a focal point on the iconic Durham skyline and yet belongs to everyone: from the 4,000 schoolchildren who visit every year, our 30,000 visitors on tours and visit days, to nearly 12,000 alumni and 1600 members of University College who call the Castle home. As we celebrate 950th birthday of this wonderful building, we embrace the theme of reawakening: from Fortress to Palace to University and beyond.

Redevelopment of the North Terrace and Fellows’ Garden, which are launched as part of our celebrations of this special anniversary, constitute the first stage of an exciting development programme for the College’s future: marking and remembering 950 years of the Castle’s history and creating renewed drive and momentum as we look towards and beyond the next millennium.

Designed to support student enrichment, we will shortly begin work to remodel Fellows’ Garden into an Arts, Culture and Heritage space. This £500,000 project is designed to benefit our student performers and events as well as becoming a summertime events venue for our local community. 

The North Terrace Restoration Project aims to restore the historic walkway once used by Prince Bishops of Durham. The redevelopment will create a unique “Journey of Discovery” allowing students and visitors to admire both the castle and the wider Durham cityscape from a unique perspective. The project introduces paving on one end of the terrace – which will allow for gatherings, events and receptions – as well as a less formal walkway and a reading garden for students (with benches, sculpture and heritage appropriate planting).

"The demand for student support and wellbeing interventions is tremendous – in all my years educating university students, I’ve never seen the need this great.  Professional staffing and peer welfare support are critical to this work, but we’re also aware that time and space for quiet reflection and self-care is helpful" Professor Wendy Powers, Principal and Associate Vice Provost

The total cost of this project is £350,000. Thanks to a generous legacy gift from one of our alumni, we are already in a very good position to complete the project by July 2023. But we can only reach our target, and create this much needed enrichment space, with the support of our community.

Support North Terrace Restoration


As part of the celebrations, we are also excited to announce the return of Durham Castle Lectures! Step into the Great Hall (in person or virtually) as leading experts from around the world grapple with the big questions of our age and the times past.  These talks invite the wider community to engage with both the intellectual and social life of the college in this extraordinary historic setting.

You can watch recordings from some of our most recent Castle lectures by clicking on the images below.

Castle 950 Talk: 'A strong castle, in their language called Durham' Dr John Munns

Curator in Conversation: Dr Barbara Drake Boehm

As we approach a millennium of the Durham Castle we recognize that it is the people who live and work here that make it such a unique place be a part of shaping future history and share how castle has impacted you, use the hashtag #castle950 #castleimpact and #futurehistory be sure to stay up to date on our upcoming events through these channels and let us know how you’ll be celebrating.