Seemingly happy to go nowhere, Durham sits along the tight curve of its river, snug below its castle and magnificently situated cathedral. It has a medieval, cobbled atmosphere and a scraggly peasant's indoor market just off the main square. Durham has a youthful liveliness and a small-town warmth that shines — especially on sunny days, when most everyone is out licking ice cream cones. The nearby countryside harbors some of the country's best historical sights. Go for a Roman ramble at Hadrian's Wall, a reminder that Britain was an important Roman colony 2,000 years ago. Make a pilgrimage to Holy Island, where Christianity gained its first toehold in Britain. At the excellent Beamish Museum, travel back in time to the 19th and early 20th centuries.