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A Weekend Away in Durham

10 March 2018 | Sian Brett

Whether you want to roam the university grounds, eat and drink in some of the most historic buildings the North East has to offer or just want to stroll by the River Wear, Durham has it all.

Saturday Morning
Describing themselves as “Proudly local. Proudly independent” Flat White Kitchen is the go to for brunch, offering an incredibly extensive range of food and drink to kick-start your weekend in Durham. If you miss brunch, be sure to check out their Small Plates menu later in the day for tapas style dishes, which aims to create an atmosphere of no pressure eating, no matter your “taste or appetite.” Spread across five floors, and located in a historic building erected in the 1600s, it’s an impressive beginning to any weekend.


Image Credit: Flat White Cafe
 
Saturday Afternoon
No trip to Durham is complete without a wander round the gorgeous Durham Cathedral. Built in the 12th century, and full of Anglo Saxon Relics, the Romanesque architecture is stunning, and its location above the woodlands and riverbanks gives it a very dramatic setting that will be sure to go down well on your Instagram. Within the Cathedral itself is the Open Treasure exhibition, which features the most intact monastic buildings in the UK, as well as interactive exhibits for all ages. There’s loads to explore, from monk’s dormitories to the treasures of St. Cuthbert, so you can come away feeling thoroughly cultured.


Image Credit: Barnyz via Flickr
 
Since you’re on a history roll already, why not check out Durham Castle? Thought to have originally been a Saxon fortress, the castle is now one of the colleges at Durham University, and the oldest parts of the building have been around since 1072. You can do a guided tour of the castle to check out all the art, architecture and historical artefacts on offer, and end the trip with café visit for pick me up coffee and cake.
 
Saturday Evening
The smallest bar in Durham, and thought to be the smallest gin bar in the world, Tin of Sardines has 200 brands of gin and 50 mixers from all around the world. If your travelling partner is not as gin minded as you then worry not, there are also wines, beers and other spirits available. There are tasting classes as well, so you can return from your weekend away a gin aficionado, and impress everyone back home.


Image Credit: Tin of Sardines
 
Once you’ve ginned, head over to Shakespeare Tavern, a proper old school pub tucked away on Saddler Street. Originally the pub was a haunt for local theatre actors and patrons, and it has retained much of its original character. There’s loads of pub grub on the menu too, perfect for soaking up all that Saturday night boozing.
 
Sunday Morning
To cure that Sunday morning hangover, Vennels Café is where you want to be. Named after the ancient alleyway’s that lead to the café, and thought to be the building where Mustard was first made, Vennel’s is full of crooked ceilings, fireplaces and history. You can choose from a wide range of homemade cakes, scones, pies, quiches and loads more, as you while away the morning across the café’s three floors.


Image Credit: Vennels Café
 
Sunday Afternoon  
It’s hard to think of a more wholesome Sunday afternoon activity than wandering around Durham’s Botanic Gardens. Located on the outskirts of the city, and with 10 hectares of garden to explore, the gardens are not only an academic resource to the university, but also home to alpine and winter gardens, as well as bird and bat boxes. There are plants from around the world and a native woodland, as well as several pieces of artwork to be found among the greenery. Perfect for clearing away the cobwebs and getting your fill of fresh air.


Image Credit: Baldhiker
 
To keep up the Sunday afternoon culture be sure to check out the Gala Theatre and Cinema to check out the latest releases, or the Binchester Roman Fort, which was once the largest Roman Fort in County Durham. 
 
Sunday Evening
Priding itself on their passion for food and dining experience, Cellar Door Restaurant offers a Mediterranean meets British menu, set in a 13th century cellar conversion. The restaurant also boasts an outside dining area with stunning views of the river. Using quality and locally sourced ingredients, the menu has everything from lamb rump to jack fruit and on Sundays there are not only classic roasts, but mezze dishes too, meaning there’s something for everyone. 


Image Credit: Cellar Door
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