Durham Cathedral wins Heritage Site of the Year title

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Durham Cathedral has been crowned Heritage Site of the Year after being shortlisted for the award by Bill Bryson.

The historic site won by a landslide in a public vote hosted by BBC Countryfile Magazine.

The nave at Durham Cathedral

The nave at Durham Cathedral

The cathedral was short-listed for the prestigious Heritage Site of the Year award in January by author Bill, along with Stonehenge, Rutland Water, Tenby and Skara Brae.

Now in their sixth year, the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2017 are a celebration of the British countryside and its people – from great heritage attractions to favourite holiday destinations.

This year, 56,000 votes were cast across 12 categories, from Pub of the Year to Holiday Destination of the Year.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, said: “We are delighted to hear that Durham Cathedral has been crowned Heritage Site of the Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards. Not only is Durham Cathedral steeped in history and tradition, it is also a living heritage site which continues to play an important role in the lives of many people today.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, with Durham Cathedral volunteers and the award.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, with Durham Cathedral volunteers and the award.

“This national award stands testament to the enduring charm of Durham Cathedral, not only for people in the North East England but for people across the UK who visit in their hundreds of thousands each year. Thank you to everyone who voted for Durham Cathedral, and congratulations to the other short-listed candidates including Skara Brae which was the runner up in the Heritage Site of the Year category.”

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.”

This year’s winners will appear in the May issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine.