A Weekend Break In Durham

The City of Durham has become a regular haunt for me over the last few years. As I travel and talk to people, you hear of people going on city breaks to all the usual hotspots both in the north and south of the country but I would highly recommend a break in this city full of things to see and do for all walks of life with varying interests.

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Even I, who has been here on numerous occasions am continuously finding new things to see or even revisiting old sights to take it all in again.

I was here for the Durham Adventure Festival too of course. A weekend full of inspirational speakers, films and shows. I took the opportunity to combine a fresh look around the city as well as take in lots of the festival.

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The festival itself was based around the Gala Theatre. And straight away I was treated to a talk from Jenny Graham who became the fastest woman to cycle around the world.

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Each day there were more and more adventurous treats to take in as well as taking in the city. Helen Glover gave a wonderfully inspirational talk but we got a surprise, as she brought her husband Steve Backshall who inspired adults and children alike with amazing adventure stories from his past year.

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Outside the festival it was indeed time to see old and explore new. The vibe in the centre is unique. It has kept so much if its character, from cobbled streets to old buildings. Plus of course some famous landmarks.

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Towering over above Durham are the castle and the cathedral. I have written about the castle from a last visit and I will give the cathedral its own post soon now I have gathered so much info and photos 🙂

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From the castle and cathedral you can walk down through the beautiful greenery to the River Wear. I can never believe how quiet the riverside walks are here.

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It is a gorgeous walk in any direction. Plus you get to see some of the hidden gems I have spoken about before like The Old Durham Gardens!

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Within half a mile of the centre you are in riverside paradise or you could be walking through woodland trails with no masses spoiling the ambience.

Going the other way from the centre you can take in the views from Wharton Park or discover the Botanical Gardens that a feast for the senses.

For the evenings there are many quaint, quirky or historical places to eat and drink. I have talked about places to eat in Durham before so what about a unique place to drink?

I loved the little gin bar called ‘Tin of Sardines’

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It is proudly the smallest bar in Durham, clue is in the name. Very unique and a menu list of gins and mixers that you would need many an hour to read through. Of course I sampled a few and they were delicious.

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It fits around 10 people inside comfortably I would say and it felt like one of those bars everyone popped in whilst passing. Great vibe.

Another tip for making a great weekend in Durham would be heading out to some of the great things to do in the surrounding area of the county. Beamish Open Air Museum is a must do or head to the delights of the Bowes Museum.

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And don’t forget there was the great accommodation to head back to. The Indigo Hotel Durham is full of its own treats for you.

Phew! A great weekend had in a unique and great City. Will I be back again? Yes, I certainly will. Still lots more to see and discover. There is so much more to Durham than you could possibly think.

Written by Paul Steele

Founder of and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele


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  1. Maybe you could add a visit to Crook Hall and Gardens next time you’re in the area, we are in the centre of Durham City, just a short walk along the river from the Gala Theatre. We look forward to welcoming you!

    • Hi, yes I have an article to come on Crook Hall 🙂 Loved it there. and will add here on things to do too

  2. I’m from Co Durham so am biased but try the walk along the river from Durham City to shincliffe, about 7km,the wooded hills remind me of pictures of the chocolate hills in the Philippines without the heat! shincliffe is on the main road from Stockton to Durham so has lots of buses back if you don’t want to walk.

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