Following the river around the Durham peninsular is one of the nicest walks in the city - and best of all it's wheelchair accessible.
With some classic Durham views and decent parking options, this Durham riverside walk is a nice choice when you fancy some fresh air.
We've walked the route to check out any problems you might encounter along the way. Take a look below for our recommendations.
Durham is a hilly place, and even the riverside walk has a few gradients. These should be no problem for a powerchair or scooter, but will require a reasonably
strong pusher or self-propeller. Paths generally are sound although after rain can
be a little muddy in places.
Parking for this walk is most convenient along Framwellgate Waterside, or in the
multi-storey car park at the Riverwalk shopping centre or on the left of
Framwellgate Waterside heading towards the Radisson Blu hotel.
- Start the walk at the riverside, heading right in a southerly direction, keeping to the riverside and heading towards Milburngate Bridge (if you've parked at Framwellgate Waterside), and then passing under the bridge. The path surface is firm and reasonably level. This stretch of the path gives wonderful views of the Castle and Cathedral up to your left.
- As you come level with the cathedral, you'll see a weir across the river in the distance and on the opposite bank, the Old Fulling Mill. You have an iconic view of the Fulling Mill and the Castle and Cathedral from here.
- As you pass the boathouse the path rises quite steeply (but only for a short distance) and then descends again to the riverside, where you will see Prebends Bridge spanning the river. The path rises rather more gently to the bridge which you use to cross the River Wear. You may well see the River
Cruiser, rowing boats and scullers on the river here.
- On reaching the far side of the bridge turn sharp right, signposted "Riverbank
Footpaths". Follow the path down the slope to rejoin the riverside on the peninsula side. Here you can see the Little Count's House, a small Palladian style stone building (visitors to the Town Hall on the market place may be familiar with the story of the Little Count).
- You will pass boathouses belong to the University colleges and Durham School.
The left side of the path is heavily wooded on the steep slope rising to the
- As you proceed you will see high above you the concrete footbridge leading from the modern Students Union on the right bank towards the Cathedral and Castle. There is another slope with a slightly rough surface. As you pass under the footbridge you will see Elvet Bridge with its four arches, framing the serried ranks of Brown's Boats for hire, and the River Cruiser. There are some attractive old buildings at the right hand end of the bridge.
- There is a short, quite sharp ascent under the bridge, rewarded by the possibility of refreshments or an ice cream overlooking the river.
- The walk can now be extend by continuing along the river bank, passing under the road bridge on a good level and well maintained surface. On the opposite bank you will see some townhouses with balconies overlooking the water.
- You then pass a footbridge and find yourself with the Racecourse on your right on the far side of the river, which is where the Durham Gala crowds gather to hear the political speeches, while the brass bands rest after their march through the city. You will also note a bandstand with a Father Time weather vane and sculptures of the Durham ox and some gear wheels.
- Continue a little further then retrace your steps to the area below Elvet Bridge. Behind the Boat Club bar and eatery there is a lift which will take you up to the
Prince Bishops Shopping Centre (press floor “S”).
- As you leave the lift enjoy the view from here of the river and Law Courts, then proceed along the side of TJ Hughes and emerging into the open go straight ahead to the Market Place, where you will see the statue of a mounted Lord Londonderry. The indoor market and town hall lie ahead, but climb gently up past the statue and make your way down cobbled Silver Street on the far side diagonally. The flagged area to the sides make for a slightly more comfortable passage!
- At the bottom of Silver Street follow the road on to Milburngate Bridge where there are fine views both up and down the river as well as up to the ancient buildings above you.
- Follow the pavement to the right around the Riverwalk Shopping Centre. You will need to cross the road and turn right on the opposite pavement as there are no dropped kerbs at the car park entrance. This will lead you back to your starting point on Framwellgate Waterside.