weekend city break in durham

The City of Durham has become a regular place to visit 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 Durham.

It is full of things to see and do for all people with varying interests in what you like to do.

durham cathedral over the river

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.

BaldHiker Retreats

Durham Old City Centre

A great place to start is the Old Durham City Centre. The vibe here is quite unique. It has kept so much if its character, from cobbled streets to old buildings. Plus of course some famous landmarks.

old streets of durham

Durham Castle and Cathedral

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.

Inside Durham Cathedral

The castle and cathedral are the main stops people make on a visit to Durham and it is easy to understand why.

Durham castle weekend break

Riverside Walks

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.

durham river

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!

The Old Durham Gardens visit

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 is a feast for the senses.

Where To eat and Drink In Durham

For the evenings there are many quaint, quirky or historical places to eat and drink.

Enjoy A Gin In The Tin of Sardines

In the city there are many bars, pubs and restaurants to choose from. I loved the little gin bar called ‘Tin of Sardines’

Tin of sardines pub in Durham

It is proudly the smallest bar in Durham, the clue is in the name. Very quirky and with 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.

gin night out in Durham

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.

Zen, Inspired By Asia

My first food tip for dining will be Zen. And before you walk in the door you get a real sense of the modern, fresh design of the place.

This is a restaurant built up locally within Durham, but truly inspired by Asia. The colours, the lights, the decor, a totally inspiring and refreshing atmosphere yet it does not overwhelm. Very well done!

Food and Drink On A Durham City Break

Of course I couldn’t go mad with photos sorry as there were people enjoying a lovely meal and don’t want me sticking a camera in their direction.

Saying that I thought the ambience was superb. The Asian tree coming out from and over the centre of the restaurant is inspired and works greatly.

inside Zen restaurant

As for the food, I went more traditional as you can see. I was in the mood for some spice. Being a Pan-Asian Restaurant I can honestly say the longest part of my stop here was in choosing what to order, the menu is vast with so much variety.

The staff here are fantastic and help well when needed or leave alone when needed, I like that.

Pad Kapao Gai at Zen

I went for traditional Bangkok and the Pad Kapao Gai. It was served very very quick and my word the taste and smells were delicious. Exactly what I needed.

A Gourmet Burger At Tango

For a completely different option on style of food, but absolutely tasty nonetheless, I again wasn’t let down one little bit by Tango K-G-B. the K-G-B standing for Kebab-Gourmet-Burgers.

This was eating delicious burgers in style.

tango durham

A great friendly ambience as soon as you walk in the door. And was bustling with people chatting, smiling and eating merrily.

I got handed a menu and saw immediately this was no ordinary place for a burger, so so many choices and could have chosen many of them. Decisions!

There were classics with beef and chicken but also many original style burgers with a whole plethora of meats including lamb.

Chic kebabs on offer as well as huge sounding steaks. Nachos, calamari, bratwurst dogs… I could go on. I asked advice from the waiter and plumped for the Tango Burger, with jack cheese and bacon, and of course a side of real chips.

Tango Burger Durham

Again the staff were great and actually with a super sense of having a good time in their work. Always smiling, naturally, no matter how busy it was, and it was busy but not at the expense of spoiling the experience.

street dining at Tango Durham

Some places can do that well and here does indeed. Will be back on my next visit to Durham for definite!

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 for all the family, or head to the historical delights of the Bowes Museum.

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.

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  1. Siobhan McDermid says:

    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!

    1. Paul Steele says:

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

  2. kevan hubbard says:

    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.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thanks kevan! Sounds amazing, will try that one when next up 🙂

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