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Durham is well known for its Norman cathedral and 11th-century castle, both designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has built a reputation as a major seat of learning – the University of Durham is the third-oldest university in England. Although the city centre is small, it is magnificent, with a central Market Place, cobbled streets, Georgian houses, ancient bridges spanning the River Wear – all in all drawing thousands of visitors each year. Durham Indoor Market, established in 1851, showcases a wide range of local producers, although eating out in the city tends to be dominated by popular chain restaurants and cafés pandering to students and tourists. However, independent restaurants in Durham such as Oldfields Restaurant, noted for British food cooked simply, and the well-established Bistro 21 are particularly popular, while Gourmet Spot has earned plaudits locally and nationally for its innovative and imaginative cooking.
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