Things To Do In Durham

Durham is a special place.

It’s a timeless locale that offers travellers arresting beauty throughout the four seasons, home to the world-renowned Durham Cathedral and now enjoying a rich seam of vibrant independent businesses that are attracting visitors from across the globe to this pocket-sized city.

The River Wear slithers around the banks of the city as, the century-old cobblestone streets are packed with speckles of historic
moments, and legendary figures continue to shape the city through their story.

A city that has universal appeal for people from Tokyo to Seattle, but also for local living in and around the centre, here are some of Durham’s top spots for those looking to live luxe…


Where to eat >>


Barrio Comida

A relative newcomer to Durham’s burgeoning restaurant scene, this vivacious eatery on Church Street serves up an intense and oh-so delightful menu of authentic Mexican cuisine.

Inspired by the neighbourhood taquerias of Tijuana, Guadalajara and Mexico City, Barrio Comida has become one of the region’s go-to spots for lip-smackingly good tostadas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos and botanas.

The team goes to great lengths to import artisanal products from smallholdings across Mexico, their aguas frescas and mezcales are made fresh daily and the Latin-American style restaurant comes alive when the sun begins to set.





Zen is arguably the best Thai restaurant here in the North East.

A sumptuous restaurant that emanates tranquillity thanks to its superb Far Eastern interior and foodie influence, this spot on Court Lane is a spectacular place for those looking to indulge in pan-fusion cuisine.

Their menu features the likes of Authentic Tom Yum soup, Lava Shrimp Tempura, Traditional Pad Thai, Tropical Duck Curry and much more.

A reservation at this restaurant is a must because once night rolls in, Zen sparks into life as the lights go low and the tempo steps up a notch.




The Cellar Door

Housed in a stunning 12th century cellar conversion down by the riverside, The Cellar Door has a refined aesthetic that perfectly complements its delightful a la carte menu.

Widely regarded as one the best restaurants in the city, everything is a labour of love and passion here; from the tuna carpaccio and the curried lamb shanks, to the wine list and the dark chocolate cremeux, expect perfection at every touchpoint.



The Curious Mr Fox

Those who love authentic, British food with a gastro twist are in for a treat with The Curious Mr Fox.

Having opened its doors in June 2021, this restaurant on Riverview Walk arrived in the city with a stand-out food offering that provides diners with some of the best local dishes made from the freshest seasonal ingredients from across the North East.

The food is brilliant and it’s an absolute must try this summer for laidback bites and sophisticated sipping.




Tin of Sardines

Sitting in a prime position on Elvet Bridge, Tin of Sardines Gin Bar is a small but spectacular bar and one of our favourite spots to pull up a stool, try one of 300 gins and chill over a tipple or two.

It might be Durham’s tiniest bar, but it’s a big deal when it comes to living luxe in the city and the staff and bohemian interior ensure that a trip to this pint-sized watering hole lives long in the memory.

With an ever-changing array of renowned gin distillers, a cool collection of tonics and a cosy interior that will help you unwind in style, this truly is an excellent Elvet enterprise. It’s not hard to see why Tin of Sardines always has a queue of patrons eager to get a sip of the action.




Where to shop >>


Freya Lillie

Carrying the torch for truly environment-conscious fashion is Freya Lille, down by the riverside nestled between other Fowlers Yard independents.

From linen rompers and decadent frilly dresses, to baby clothes and everything in between, it is a beautiful local clothing brand that places a huge emphasis on producing sustainable luxury fashion, and they’re taking independent fashion design by

Their made-to-order policy allows them to create minimum waste whilst also guaranteeing the highest quality garment and, unlike the fast fashion industry, products are designed for the modern parent with traditional elements and they’re designed to be worn all year round too.




Durham Markets

Now over 150-years old, Durham Market Hall and the weekly Saturday Outdoor Market are an iconic fixture when it comes to the city’s offering and are home to roughly 70 independent local businesses passionate and knowledgeable about what they’re selling or the service they offer.

From horticulturalists and fishmongers, to artisanal wine stockists and jewellers, these small businesses are the heartbeat of the city’s shopping scene and add a colourful strand of personality to a place otherwise known for its traditional characteristics.





Georgia Stanley and her team have wasted no time in becoming one of the city’s best places to shop handpicked vintage items and limited-edition streetwear.

Waceland first started with pop-up stalls and numerous clothing events in and around the North East before opening a charming bricks and mortar store on Saddler Street.

With more people ‘switching on’ to sustainable clothing and enjoying vintage clothing, 34 Saddler Street is the place for leading brands such as Palace, Supreme, YSL, and Ralph Lauren kit as the summer season rolls in.




Somewhere to stay >>


Hotel Indigo

Located in the former Old Shire Hall building on Old Elvet just a stone’s throw away from the railway station, Hotel Indigo is a decadent destination that is not only brimming with sleek rooms and contemporary finishes, but is perfectly positioned to experience all that this charming city has to offer.

Marco Pierre White has opened a signature restaurant serving timeless English and French classics inside a beautiful Victorian façade – a perfect combination for the weekend explorer.



The Town House Durham

An Americana bohemian dreamland paired with British stateliness lies within a stopover at The Town House Durham.

A boutique hotel in the vibrant student area of Old Elvet, those visiting one of Durham’s top lodgings can choose from 11 extravagantly kitted out rooms, all of which exude their own personality thanks to carefully curated interior design and bespoke furnishings.

Expect ultra glam decor, free-standing clawfoot baths and sumptuous surroundings all round.



Where to visit >>


Durham Cathedral

The jewel in the region’s crown and a world-famous landmark that attracts over 700,000 through its doors, Durham Cathedral is one of the greatest buildings out there.

Set grandly on a rocky promontory next to the Castle with the medieval city huddled below and the river sweeping round, the profile of the World Heritage Site is instantly recognisable to folks around the world.

Excitingly, the Cathedral is migrating towards a visitor-led experience thanks to the introduction of live music, family days-out and other cultural activities whilst maintaining its sense of worship.



Old Cinema Launderette

By day, Kathy and Richard Turner operate a fabulous retro launderette and coffee shop. By night, the space transforms into a twinkling live music venue that attracts award-winning artists and regional rising stars to the stage.

An excellent local affair just minutes away from the city centre, the Old Cinema Launderette opened back in 2012 and has become an integral venue of the North East’s resurgent live music scene that also caters to everyday people looking for a first-rate laundry service.

From cappuccinos to craft beers, fancy gins and flat whites, the cafe and fully-stocked bar will quench your thirst day and night, but it will also help with your laundry.



Places to walk >>

Riverside meander

The best way to explore Durham’s beauty is by foot.

From front to back and side to side, this city is easily navigable thanks to its historic footbridges, medieval staircases and meandering paths.

Clocking in at roughly 1.5 miles, a walk from the railway station through Framwellgate, down by the river bankside and up to the city centre is a must – especially on a warm summer’s day.

Here, you’re likely to see the university’s rowing team racing by, herons keeping a watchful eye on the water and emerald green trees gently swaying in the breeze.

Don’t forget your camera!



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