Durham City is one of the oldest and possibly most famous cities in the North East of England and it is absolutely one of the most beautiful, perhaps in the world. It has won countless awards for being one of the best places to visit and by the end of this post, you will understand why. Durham City has everything you could possibly want in a city.

Durham Cathedral

Parking in Durham City

In my opinion, there are three car parks which are the best in terms of location and proximity to the city. These are;

Walkergate Car Park
Postcode: DH1 1SW

Prince Bishop Car Park
Postcode: DH1 3UJ

The Riverwalk Car Park 1 and 2
Postcode: DH1 4SL

The Walkergate car park is slightly cheaper than the Prince Bishop during the day, however, for overnight parking, the Prince Bishop is definitely better. However, Prince Bishop is right in the centre of the shops and just down from the Cathedral. Whereas the Walkergate is a short walk from the Cathedral however it is in the Walkergate centre which has a Nandos, Slug and Lettuce, the Theatre and other amenities. So really it is 6 and two 3s.

Personally, I always park at the Prince Bishop car park, but this is mainly because I know how to get there and it’s where my dad always parked when we went to Durham.

Where to Eat and Drink in Durham

Now then, I do have a FULL post about all the best places to eat and drink in Durham conveniently here on mackem life for you. So if food and drink is what you are looking for, click the link below. But be warned, there is an extreme amount of food porn on there so don’t go looking if you’re hungry!

Where to Eat and Drink in Durham

Top Things to do in Durham City

Durham City is full of some really incredible things to see and do, besides eating and drinking.

Visit Durham Cathedral

The Cathedral in Durham is probably deserving of its own entire blog post because of the extensive history behind it, having opened in 1133. There is no way I could do it justice on this post alone. However, it is absolutely worth a visit. It is a simply beautiful building from any angle.

Durham Cathedral

If you get the time go inside too! It is free to go in and they simply ask for donations to help with the upkeep of the building. You can also find a filming location from the early Harry Potter films inside!

Durham Cathedral

If you are local too then you should try and visit while the Museum of the Moon attraction is on. Keep your eyes on their socials and try and visit this if it comes around again this year!

Museum of the Moon, Durham Cathedral

Walk Along the Riverside

The riverside walk in Durham is a really great way to spend a few hours! If you do the full walk, it is a 3-mile circular walk which This is Durham says will take between 1-1.5 hours. Full details can be found on their website here.

Durham Cathedral from the River Wear

If you don’t want to do the full walk, then I absolutely recommend you walk the western path between the A690 and the Prebends bridge as this will offer some really beautiful views of the river and the Cathedral.

Durham Castle and Cathedral from the River Wear

Visit the Umbrella Street

The Umbrella street is only a part-time installation in Durham however it is really pretty to see, and the locals love it! It is above the Prince Bishops shopping area and makes for some really great photos!

The Umbrella Street, Durham

Do Some Shopping

While Durham is not the shopping capital of the world, they do have some decent shops. It has been hit quite hard by the pandemic and a lot of the stores have closed down. However, I do hope that many of the empty spaces do reopen soon!

It feels like Durham is about to transform as all of these empty units fill up again, so keep your eyes peeled for this!

See the Botanical Gardens

Although I am yet to visit it, this one is very high on my list of places I’d love to visit! Photos of it on Instagram look amazing and it just seems to be a really good place to see. They have a huge collection of plants and the gardens are full of artwork too.

They are open 10am-5pm between March and October and close at 4pm from November through till February. It costs £4 for adults, £1.50 for children (5-16yrs) and £3 for concessions to go in. Let me know if you’ve been and if it was worth it!

Visit Crook Hall and Gardens

This site was once a privately owned tourist attraction but has recently been taken over by the national trust. It is just a 10-minute walk from the Riverwalk area and is well worth the visit.

I do have a full guide for visiting here on mackem life so if you are interested, give that a read!

Guide to Crook Hall and Gardens National Trust

Crook Hall and Gardens, National Trust

Places to go in County Durham

Often when you search for ‘things to do in Durham’ you actually get things to do in the wider County Durham. So I thought I would include both in this blog, just so whatever you are looking for is here!

Visit Seaham

Seaham is one of the smaller towns in County Durham and sits right on the County Durham Coastline. It is full of really great restaurants and cafes, fantastic beaches and plenty of places to walk. You could have a really great day out at Seaham if you wanted to use Durham as a base to explore the wider county!

See also: Guide to a Day Out at Seaham Seafront

Seaham Beach

Durham Heritage Coast

The County Durham Heritage Coast is by far one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the country. And the Heritage coastal path is something I HIGHLY recommend you do! I am always adding to my guide to it because I frequent it so often. Check out the post to really understand how incredible this place is, and find out why you should visit it!

See also, Guide to Durham Heritage Coast.

Blast Beach, Durham Heritage Coast

Raby Castle

Raby Castle is one of only 13 castles in the county (and I think one of the prettiest!). The first time I visited was just after the first lockdown lifted and we thought it was going to be over soon…

Nonetheless, it is somewhere I truly suggest you go see! If you get a sunny day then it makes a perfect picnic spot!

See also Lockdown Adventures to Raby Castle

Raby Castle, County Durham

Hamsterley Forest

Hamsterley Forest is by far one of my favourite places to visit in the entire North East of England. We go quite often and I never tire of it. This makes it another spot I implore you to visit while in the County!

See also, Guide to Hamsterley Forest

Hamsterley Forest

Beamish Museum

I have saved the best till last! If you are going to take any of these suggestions, then it really must be this one. Beamish Museum is probably the best museum in the country and really successfully engages its visitors in the history of the region. I cannot stress enough just how necessary it is that you visit this museum! Just do it!!!

See also, An Adventure through History: Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Well thank you for reading this post and I hope it has been helpful for anyone looking to have a day out in Durham, or even stay and explore the wider county! As always, if you have enjoyed this post and want to see more of what I have to offer then drop your email in the box below to be notified of all my new blogs.

Let me know if there is anything you think I have missed off this list, or if you have found somewhere new and visited it, don’t forget to tag me in it! Thank you for your support.

Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring!

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