Take a trip to ‘the Toon’
Just a short bus journey, or only 12 minutes on a train from Durham station and you can be in the heart of Newcastle City centre. As well as a great choice of shops, bars and restaurants, Newcastle offers cinemas, theatres, museums and galleries, as well as a lively music scene to enjoy.
Wander along the Quayside and enjoy the views of the city’s iconic bridges, Sage and Baltic Gallery. The traditional Quayside Market takes place every Sunday morning and with a myriad of cafes and pubs to chose from, it’s a great place to stop and people watch while soaking up the atmosphere.
Explore the countryside
If you have access to a car, there are loads of unique places to visit across County Durham, Weardale and even up into Northumberland, that are perfect for a day trip. Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve is just a few miles from Durham City centre, run by the Durham Wildlife Trust. There are three nature trails to enjoy, as well as a Visitor’s Centre and coffee shop.
Slightly further afield, Weardale is a favourite destination for runners, walkers, photographers, and cyclists. With miles of rural uplands available to walk across, trails that stretch as far as the eye can see, and an incomparable sense of isolation and quietude, Weardale is a haven of the outdoors just 35 minutes drive from Durham. Be warned, there is no phone signal up on the tops, and the roads are winding and challenging in places. If you’re feeling adventurous, the drive over the top of Weardale and out into Teesdale is spectacular, as is the drive from Stanhope up the infamous Crawleyside climb (if you’re a cyclist, you’ll understand!).
Enjoy a day at the beach
County Durham and Tyne and Wear are lucky enough to be home to some wonderful shorelines, from Seaham, to Seaburn and on to South Shields. You can explore rugged coastlines and beautiful sandy beaches, enjoying an ice-cream or traditional fish and chips, all along the coast of northeast England. Find out more about Seaham beach, in a previous blog from English Literature student Kleopatra.
Walk the Roman Wall
Heading north will take you into Northumberland, home to Hadrian’s Wall, the famous demarcation line between England and Scotland, which marked the furthermost outpost of the ancient Roman Empire. Spanning the country from East to West, it is home to many stunning landscapes, such as Sycamore Gap, near The Sill Youth Hostel up in Northumberland. It takes approximately 1 hour to drive from Durham City centre.
Kielder Water and Forest Park
Kielder Water and Forest is quite a drive from Durham (about 90minutes), but if you’re an outdoor person, it would not disappoint if you are looking for the perfect break away from the city. It is situated amidst the gorgeous backdrop of the Northumberland National Park and boasts phenomenal hiking trails, bike trails and days spent by the waterside. Nearby there is the border with Scotland, and the Chiltern Hills, both of which are also worth exploring.
Derwent Reservoir is not to be confused with the famous lake in Cumbria, but is equally as idyllic and accessible. There is a path around the water, with ample car parking and proximity to the cute village of Edmundbyers. Perfect to cycle around, walk along, or for a scenic run.
For more information on places to visit in and around Durham, check out blogs from other students and see what, and where, they recommend.