Durham Cathedral Tower

Durham City

Be warned: it's a breath-taking 355 steps to the top but well worth the spectacular views.

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There’s no other way to put it: the view from the top of Durham’s 11th-century Cathedral Tower is spectacular. You’d hope it would be, too, after climbing the 355-step spiral staircase to reach the top. Shoe fetishists should leave those heels at home; for safety reasons, the cathedral has banned them – along with backless sandals and platforms.

When you do finally reach the top (that’s 218 feet), you get to gaze out over the city and the River Wear below – and across at Durham Castle, which stands opposite. Although both the castle and cathedral are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the latter still wasn’t quite high enough for the makers of Harry Potter, who digitally added spires to its tower for its starring roles as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. ‘Cosmetic surgery’ aside, it still looks gorgeous.

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