With a castle, cathedral and beautiful riverside walks, Durham may be small but there are plenty of things to do packed into the city. You’ll never be short of somewhere to get coffee or a bite to eat, and you can easily escape into the surrounding woodland. You also have the definite advantage of being able to walk everywhere, so don’t forget to bring comfy shoes. And if Durham starts to feel too small, Newcastle is just a short train ride away.

Check out our Officers’ personal favourite places in Durham below.

The racecourse

"One of my favourite places in Durham is the racecourse, which is actually more like a playing field on the riverbanks between Hild Bede and Parson's field. It's home to Cuth’s Boat Club, and there are great views into town and along the river. Its one of a handful of places that make you feel like you're not in the middle of the city, and an ideal place to escape to for a while. It's also the place where people gather every year for the Durham Miners' Gala, the biggest trade union event in the world."

Kate McIntosh, SU President


Image courtesy of Durham University


Finchale Priory and The Station House

"I love my cycling and walking so it has to be somewhere outdoors – I'll go with Finchale Priory, the remains of a 13th Century former holiday retreat for the monks of Durham, a couple of miles to the north of the city centre. It's nestled in a bend in the River Wear with forested riverbanks, beautiful on a sunny day. Though another interest of mine is trying real ales, so after the journey back I might get some refreshment at the lovely micropub underneath the viaduct, The Station House, to round off the day!"

David Evans, PG Academic Officer

The river path behind Old Elvet

"Durham is filled with hidden wonders and picturesque areas that seemingly appear from nowhere! One of my favourites is the riverside path behind Old Elvet where you can see an old gazebo and a number of statues that lead to the cricket ground and racecourse. It is the perfect place close to town to have a picnic on a sunny day, whilst still feeling like you are getting away from it all."

Amelia McLoughlin, Welfare and Liberation Officer

Durham Riverside walk

Image courtesy of Durham University

Old Durham Gardens

Old Durham Gardens

"I came across the Old Gardens when I was living in deep Gilesgate and made a wrong turning home. They’re really beautiful and quiet and have some beautiful views from the top of the steps. I love how secluded they are, and you can have a nice peaceful walk round them."

Sam Johnson-Audini, UG Academic Officer


"This café is in a super convenient location. The food is to die for, the people are really nice, and the decor just makes me happy. It’s so aesthetically pleasing! "

Jess Dunning, Opportunities Officer