‘Durham’s cathedral and castle form England’s most dramatic architectural composition. On a high rock over a tight loop in the River Wear, these two massive structures were built to assert Norman authority over a hostile North.

Durham is a city of views. Framwellgate Bridge leads from North Street across to the 300-yard neck of the Durham isthmus at Silver Street. Towering above the bridge is the castle. To the right, the cathedral rises over the trees, with two west towers and the central crossing behind.

The river below forms a canyon of greenery through the heart of the city, with trees falling to the water’s edge. Over the bridge, the houses along Silver Street climb to the market square. Red brick and white woodwork form a pleasing skirt to the dark stone of the castle above ’

Extracted from ‘England’s 100 Best Views’ by Simon Jenkins, to be published by Profile books in October 2013 (£25 hardback)

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