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North of England

Durham Cathedral crowned Heritage Site of the Year

todayMarch 16, 2017 8

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Durham Cathedral was short-listed for the prestigious Heritage Site of the Year award in January 2017 by Bill Bryson, along with Stonehenge, Rutland Water, Tenby and Skara Brae. 

Yesterday, it was announced that Durham Cathedral had been crowned BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Heritage Site of the Year 2017 following in the footsteps of last year’s winner Hadrian’s Wall, making it the second year in a row that a North East landmark has won this prestigious award.

Part of the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durham Cathedral is renowned as one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe and the resting place of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede. The Cathedral welcomes over 750,000 visitors each year, and was the most visited free attraction in the North East in 2016.

On nominating Durham Cathedral for the award, Bill Bryson said: “I have a sentimental attachment to Durham because I was Chancellor at the University for seven years, so was constantly in and out of the cathedral. Almost 1,000 years old, it is unquestionably one of the supreme achievements of the architectural world, and the most thoroughly satisfying building I know – a wonder to behold from every possible vantage point, inside and out.”

Durham Cathedral

This year’s winners include Durham Cathedral as Heritage Site of the Year, the Northumberland Coast as Holiday Destination of the Year, Embleton Bay as Beach of the Year and the Farne Islands as Runner Up in the National Park of the Year category.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, told Premier: “We are thrilled with this; it’s a fantastic award and an accolade for the cathedral.”

The 11th century cathedral, which is part of the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes more than 750,000 visitors a year.

Rev Andrew said that it was easy to balance being both a popular visitor’s attraction and a place of worship.

He told Premier: “We love having visitors here. Lots of them will come because it’s a beautiful building, world-class architecture with a Romanesque structure.

“But once they come inside the building, the prayers being said over a thousand years seep out through the stones and the stones start to say something back to them about the love of God.”

The Dean also said that a visit to Durham Cathedral was vital to understanding the history of the North East.

“You can’t understand the history of the North East without understanding about the northern saints. St Cuthbert and Bede are buried here – it’s a unique inheritance.”

Premier’s Northern Correspondent Ian Britton was in the Cathedral for the announcement.

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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