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Five Things to Do in Durham While it’s (Still) Sunny

Spring has hit Durham in full force, so it’s time to go explore and make the most of the weather while we can. If you’re finished with exams, hoping to check some Durham hotspots off your bucket list before you leave, or simply looking for a little adventure, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the experiences and places Durham has to offer that are perfect for this warm weather:

1. Picnic in the Botanic Gardens

It took me five months to realise just how idyllic the Durham Botanic Gardens are! They’re great to walk through, with a range of scenery including a stream with cute little bridges, a bamboo trail, an alpine section and more. In summer, the gardens have a refreshing ambience. The meadow by the water feature is a picturesque place to sit and have a chilled out picnic with pals. There’s even mini rainforest and desert biomes inside the greenhouse resembling those in Kew Gardens, where you’ll also find a few unusual and little animals. Top tip for any Butlerites: there’s a path behind Kirknewton which leads through the sheep field into the Botanic Gardens.

2. Drinks on Observatory Hill / River bank by the race course

The river bank by the racecourse is a great place to go and chill accompanied by the calming sound of the river. Of course there’s Observatory Hill, which you have no excuse to miss if you’re in a Hill College. What could possibly be more romantic than sitting in a field of buttercups at sunset with a glass of wine, some strawberries, and a view of our awe-inspiring cathedral. Hint hint boys!

3. BBQ on the pebble beach

This one’s a bit of a trek, but definitely worth it! A 20-minute amble through the countryside behind Ustinov, will take you to Durham’s own little seaside (well technically riverside but hey ho). Bring towels, a disposable BBQ, a bottle of Pimm’s, and you’re set for a relaxed day. Ideal for swimming, skimming pebbles, or just lying down listening to music, this is one of the most scenic, tranquil parts of Durham.

4. Make the most of outdoor restaurants and bars

Evidently Durham has a bit of a thing for aesthetic cafes. If you haven’t tried out Riverview Kitchen yet, I’d highly recommend it! The outdoor seating area feels like a cute little woodland, while also offering a peaceful view of the river. Durham is also blessed with outdoor sections at the Boat Club, Tango, Coho, and of course the Swan. Moreover, many of the restaurants do take away food, for example, you can buy a burger from Fat Hippo, or a chippy from Bells, and take it to eat on Palace Green. 

5. Go on a day trip

Of course, if you’re feeling adventurous there are plenty of places just a short journey away from Durham that can be enjoyed in the sun! If the pebble beach isn’t enough for you, it’s just a short journey to Whitley Bay or South Shields from Newcastle. Alternatively, you could consider taking a longer train journey to discover the historical city of York (1 hr), go for a scenic hike in the Yorkshire Dales, or discover Arthur’s seat and the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh (2hrs).

Second year Josephine Butler Chemist from Croydon. Love adventures, animals, food, drinks, and HerCampus!
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