Durham — An English Gem
Durham — United Kingdom
Durham can astound out of all proportion to its size. I don’t know any place that manages to be more intimate and infinite at once.
Durham is a small city up in the north of England close to Newcastle. The town itself is tiny but lovely to explore. Walking around the cobbled streets, you’ll be fascinated by its singular beauty. It’s suitable for a weekend trip, but if you have longer, you can go hiking in the nearby Pennines or on the coast (20 minutes drive away) for dramatic scenery – see below.
To get there, you need to take the train, which is about 3 hours from London King’s Cross. If you are a frequent traveller who travels a lot in the UK, it is worth getting a Railcard. You save 30% on trains, which can be very expensive in the UK. Check it out here: Railcard
Explore Durham is fun at night is interesting when all the students and locals are out on the town, and the castle and cathedral are illuminated.
Book your accommodation at the Marriott, which is an excellent option in the centre of town. The room was comfortable, and there was a superb leisure centre with saunas, pool and jacuzzi that made our day start.
The next day, we saw all the main sights in the morning (the historic cathedral, the castle and the old town don’t take long to see as Durham is a tiny place) but I also recommend the following tours:
In the afternoon it began to rain, so we went café and hopping in the many cute eateries – see below for my food recommendations.
If it rains, you can find many indoor activities to do a tour of the castle or even a game in the Escape Room!
Places for breakfast/brunch:
– Flat White Kitchen – worth the queue! Great pancakes, eggs, coffee and avocado on toast. Yummy veggie and vegan options too.
– Riverside Kitchen – delicious smoothies and milkshakes, full English breakfasts and ciabattas. It has a great view of the rowers, swans and dog walkers by the river.
The breathtaking beauty of the Durham Dales and North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark provide ample opportunity to go wild in Durham’s great outdoors.
The AONB is home to more dark sky discovery sites than anywhere else in the UK, so bring your binoculars to admire the majesty of the night sky. Nature reigns supreme as the area is home to globally significant wildlife, landscapes and geology.
Marvel at the mighty High Force waterfall, explore serene reservoirs, take on national walking and cycle routes, or tackle the terrain at Hamsterley Forest with over 30 miles of adrenaline-filled cycling tracks.
The Durham coast is home to a dramatic stretch of designated Heritage coastline. Rugged yet beautiful, it has been reclaimed from its industrial past to offer magnificent beaches, clifftop walks and coastal charm. Bustling towns and villages dot the landscape, such as Seaham — a lively harbour town with a Marina and water sports centre.
The Vale of Durham has been shaped by the county’s rich social and industrial past. Step back in time at the award-winning Beamish, The Living Museum of the North or discover the county’s pivotal role in the development of the railways at Locomotion Admire Bishop Auckland from above at the market town come to life. Explore the emotive artworks on display in the Mining Art Gallery and don’t miss the chance to set foot in one of the best-preserved bishop’s palaces in Europe as Auckland Castle reopened to the public.
Discover medieval splendour in the heart of the Durham Dales at Ruby Castle and be inspired by the 19th-century architecture, art collection and international exhibitions at The Bowes Museum.
Get your taste buds tingling with Durham’s delicious food and drink. Whether it’s a hearty lunch in a country pub, a tasty tearoom treat or an evening of fine dining, look out for Taste Durham mark – a sign of great food and service.
And for those who enjoy a spot of retail therapy, in Durham City, you’ll find independent retailers and boutiques alongside high street favourites, or bag a bargain at Dalton Park – the biggest outlet shopping centre in the North East.
There is only one little thing for it
stay a little longer!