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Durham is situated 13 miles (21 km) to the south west of Sunderland, England. The River Wear flows north through the city, making an incised meander which encloses the centre on three sides to create Durham's "peninsula". Durham is a hilly city, claiming to be built upon the symbolic seven hills. Upon the most central and prominent position high above the Wear, the cathedral dominates the skyline. The steep riverbanks are densely wooded, adding to the picturesque beauty of the city. West of the city centre, another river, the River Browney, drains south to join the Wear to the south of the city.
Durham won the Large Town award in the Britain in Bloom awards of 2005.
The county town of County Durham, Durham is located in the City of Durham local government district, which extends beyond the city, and has a total population of 87,656, and covers 186.68 square kilometres. The unparished area of Durham had a population of 29,091, whilst the built-up area of Durham had a population of 42,939.
The centre ofDurham sits on a peninsula created by the River Wear. At the base of the peninsula is the market square, which still hosts regular markets; a permanent indoor market is also situated on the square. The square and surrounding streets are one of the main commercial and shopping areas of the city. From the market square, The Bailey leads south past Palace Green: The Bailey is almost entirely owned and occupied by the University and Cathedral.
There are three old roads out of the central Market Square. Saddler Street heads South-Easterly out of the square, towards Elvet Bridge, The Bailey and Prebends Bridge. Elvet Bridge leads to the Elvet area of the city, Durham Prison and the South; Prebends Bridge is smaller and provides access from The Bailey to South Durham. Heading west, Silver Street leads out of the Market Square towards Framwellgate Bridge and North Road, the other main shopping area of the city. From here, the the city spreads out into the Framwelgate, Crossgate, Neville's Crossand viaduct districts, the other main shopping area of the city. Beyond the viaduct lie the outlying districts of Framwellgate Moor and Neville's Cross. Heading north from the market place leads to Claypath. The road curves back round to the east and beyond it lie Gilesgate, Gilesgate Moor and Dragonville.
Many of the inner city areas are now inhabited by students living in shared houses. In some roads as many as 70% of the dwellings are occupied by students.
Durham railway station is situated on the East Coast Main Line between Edinburgh and London; rail travellers coming from the south enter Durham over a spectacular Victorian viaduct high above the city. By road, the A1(M), the modern incarnation of the ancient Great North Road, passes just to the east of the city. (Its previous incarnation, now numbered A167, passes just to the west.) Newcastle Airport lies to the north, and Durham Tees Valley Airport to the south, both being about 25 miles away. The Market Place and peninsula form the UK's first (albeit small) congestion charging area, introduced in 2002.
A park and ride service is also available.
Durham City Cricket Club plays on its own ground near the River Wear: Formed in 1829, Durham City was one of the founder members of the Durham Senior Cricket League upon its creation in 1903 and the First XI have been crowned champions on thirteen occasions.
The town's football club Durham City A.F.C. once boasted membership of the Football League between 1921 and 1928 but has long been a non-league club. The 2008/09 season will see them make a step up the pyramid to play in the Unibond League. Their home ground is New Ferens Park, known as The Arnott Stadium for sponsorship reasons.
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