Lucy Irving takes us through some of the best locations to visit only a stone’s throw away from Durham!
Whilst Durham has plenty to offer, whether you’re a student, staff member or visitor, sometimes it’s nice to escape the city for the day. The North has a whole host of amazing places to explore, and in this article, I’ll be sharing my top destinations for a fun day trip!
First up is Newcastle, which is only 12 minutes away by train. Students can get a return ticket for less than £5 with a railcard, so it’s definitely a possibility worth exploring. Offering a bigger city experience, Newcastle is home a varied of selection shops which you could easily spend a day looking around. You could go for a long walk around the Quayside, or if you’re a football fan, then make sure to check out St. James’ Park!
A short walk from the station is Sage Gateshead, a fantastic concert hall which regularly holds concerts where students can get £5 tickets with a free drink included! Home to the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the venue features local artists performing in a range of styles, including concerts featuring Durham University students. If art is more your thing, then why not take a look at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art? Located on the south bank of the River Tyne, it hosts a variety of exhibitions and offers panoramic views of the city. Newcastle is also known for its nightlife – it may even be better than Jimmy’s. Controversial, I know! So if you fancy a night out to remember, get some friends together and have a blast!
Fancy going a little further from Newcastle centre? Hop on a Metro to Jesmond! This leafy suburb boasts a beautiful park, Jesmond Dene, which has a waterfall, pets corner, and lots of wildlife. For something a bit different, head to the Pottery Experience to spend some time painting or making your own piece of pottery to take home. With bookable two hour slots, it’s the perfect way to relax with friends at the weekend and unleash your creativity.
If the weather is looking good, consider taking the metro all the way to Tynemouth or Whitley Bay beach. Have a walk along the coast, breath in the sea air, and grab some lovely fish and chips at these beautiful beaches. Classic!
For somewhere further afield, why not get the train to Edinburgh? Visit the historic castle, walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens, or take a look at one of the many museums in the city, such as the National Portrait Gallery, or the National War Museum. From the 19th of November, the Christmas Markets will be open to get you into the festive spirit, so now is the perfect time to take a trip. Don’t forget to try some haggis!
Also accessible by a 45-minute train journey is York. This picturesque city is home to a huge 13th-century Gothic cathedral, the York Minster, and has plenty of cobbled streets such as the Shambles, which is believed to have been the inspiration behind Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. Similarly to Edinburgh, York’s Christmas Markets will be open from the 17th of November, and this year marks the 30th Anniversary of St Nicholas Fair, so you can expect the occasion to be even more exciting than usual!
These are just some of the wonderful places that you can visit, only a short journey away from Durham. Of course, whether you decide to travel to Newcastle, Jesmond, Edinburgh or York, don’t stay so long that you find yourself getting homesick – you’ll always be welcome back home in John’s!