Historic Durham, a prominent university city, is the perfect place for a UK weekend break. Here are the best things to do in Durham!

The Best Things to Do in Durham


Go for a Walk in the Durham Dales

The Durham Dales can be found thirty minutes west of the city. The Dales are part of the North Pennines, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as being a European and UNESCO Global Geopark.

Here you'll also find the impressive High Force Waterfall which lies in the grounds of the Raby Estate which is also open to visitors.

Visit Durham's Heritage Coast

The coastline around Durham is stunning, with miles of sand dunes, rugged cliffs, beautiful flora and fauna, and the best Magnesian limestone coastal grasslands in the UK. So, once you've had enough of city life, head east.

You can laze on the beaches, or if you're feeling more active, why not take a hike along Durham's Heritage Coastal Footpath, an 11-mile stretch of the England Coast Path National Trail.


Visit Durham Cathedral

No visit to Durham would be complete without a trip to its stunning cathedral, the second oldest in the UK, second only Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.

If the Durham Cathedral Chapter House looks familiar to you, then it may be because it was used as one of the shooting locations in both Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone and in the Chamber of Secrets.

Learn About History at Durham Castle

Now part of the University of Durham, Durham Castle is an impressive structure, dating back to the eleventh century. The construction of the castle was ordered by William the Conqueror himself.

Both guided and self-guided tours of the castle are available and you can even get married there. The castle, together with the cathedral, makes up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Wander Through the Botanic Garden

Science has proven that being outside is good for our mental health, so take a walk in the Durham University Botanic Garden. Set over 25 acres, this impressive and tranquil garden is a wonderful place to spend a few hours, relaxing in nature.

As well as enjoying the woodland, plants and flowers, you can attend many events throughout the year.

When you get tired, stop by the café for a refresher and admire the local artwork on display.

Tap into Your Inner Indiana Jones

Rainy day? No problem! You can visit the Museum of Archeology, also part of Durham University.

The museum houses artefacts that date back from prehistoric times up to the post-Medieval period. This includes exhibits on ancient Greece, the Romans, and the Anglo-Saxons.


Experience the Brass Durham Festival

There's something so magical about hearing a brass band play and each July the city holds the Brass Durham festival.

Various brass bands, from more traditional to swing and hip hop, perform over a 10-day period, both in the streets, at specific venues and parks around the city.

There are usually also several brass-themed art installations so you can feast your eyes as well as your ears. Make sure to book your Durham hotel early as they can book up quickly!

Take a Boat Trip Down the River Wear

There's no better place to get a view of a city than from the river, so why not take a trip on the Prince Bishop River Cruiser?

Along the route, you'll have wonderful views of many of the major attractions, including the cathedral, castle and the city itself. There is also live commentary from the captain, a sundeck, and a bar.

The boat tour lasts for one hour and sails daily between March and October.


Fill Your Boots at the Full Moon Market

Once a month, Durham plays host to the Full Moon Market.

The event is mostly about the food and you will find various vendors selling delectable dishes from all over the world, as well as craft beers.

The market usually starts at 4pm and runs until 9pm, and there's live music to keep you entertained as you feast.

Experience History the Beamish Museum

The Beamish Museum is a 'living museum' that offers an insight into Britain's past. Most specifically looking at the North East of England, from the 1820's to the 1950's.

Visitors can ride an old tram, see what life was like in the run up to the First World War and wander around a 1940's Home Front farm.

There are also regular events, including tea dances and mini festivals.

Have you been to Durham, or would you like to go? Make sure to check out our Explore by Expedia homepage for more travel inspiration!