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My Favourite Independent Places in Durham

Drinks – The Boat Club Durham

This place has got it all. All of the classic cocktails, beers and gins, as well as a great vibe, and stunning views. If it’s a beautiful day, being sat on the balcony overlooking the river, makes for the perfect afternoon/evening.


Coffee/Hot Chocolate – Leonards Durham

This lovely little place is tucked away behind Durham Market Hall, and is a great place for coffee and hot chocolate! They offer all of your classic coffees – as well as a wide range of hot chocolates (salted caramel, cookies and cream, and orange – just to name a few!). It’s a classic local business, with a homely vibe and friendly staff.

Cake – Vennels

I truly believe that the chocolate cake served in Vennels is undoubtedly the best in Durham. It’s a bold statement, and I recognise that, but honestly – if you consider yourself a cake connoisseur of any form – get yourself down there! It’s simply delicious (and the banoffee pie is pretty beaut too).


Brunch – Flat White

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this place is a true Durham gem. Such lovely staff, a really great vibe, and the most incredible food! I’ve got such a sweet tooth (I’d be surprised if you hadn’t guessed that by this point) so I’m afraid I’ve only sampled the pancakes, but I continue to be impressed!

Lunch – Claypath Deli

I’m incredibly lucky to live literally next door to this lovely little place. With a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options, it’s a great place to have lunch with all of your friends. Staff are bubbly and friendly – and the whole place smells of freshly baked bread – so lush. Would highly recommend. Best place for a sandwich in Durham.


Afternoon Tea – Tealicious

Absolutely unparalleled – if you want an afternoon tea in Durham, this is the place to go. Again, (something that is synonymous with independents) – the staff are lovely and so keen to help. They even offer a vegan version of their famous afternoon tea, which I think is fantastic. Such a special treat, perfect for celebrating birthdays or graduation.

Dinner – Fat Hippo

This was a tricky one I must admit, but every time my brother comes to visit – this is pretty much always our first stop! Great prices and great food – what more could you ask for? The Fat Hippo food van that attended Butler Day was also fantastic – service was great and both the American and Little Hippo burger were both so good! (I halved and halved with a friend, I didn’t have two I promise…)

I know I haven’t even touched the surface of all of the many independent businesses in Durham, and I’m by no means saying the ones that I’ve discussed above are better than any others – they are just ones I’ve personally visited and loved! What are your favourite independent businesses? Let us know! Xo

I run a little insta celebrating all these wonderful businesses so if you’ve enjoyed this article please give it a follow! @independentdurham


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