Top tips for an evening in Durham

Discover how to fill your evenings in this culturally rich university city, from theatre shows, local breweries, guided tours to bars and clubs. Although famous for its historic features, such as the cathedral and castle, there is much more waiting to be uncovered in Durham.  

On first appearance, Durham gives off a historic vibe from the incredible architecture that surrounds you, but delve a little deeper and you’ll find a vibrant university city. There are cultural experiences waiting around every corner, whether you want to sip cocktails in a wine bar, sample local beers in the brewery, take in a spellbinding theatre show or catch a concert.

You may be visiting Durham for business or leisure reasons, regardless of which, there are plenty happenings taking place to fill your evenings with fun and laughter.

Sample the local brew

Durham Brewery, Unit 6a Bowburn, North Industrial Estate

Leave time in your afternoon schedule to stop by Durham Brewery, which closes at 16:00. It’s the oldest brewery in the city, renowned for innovative beers made to a high standard. This is a family business, which makes both cask and bottled beers using traditional methods. They come without artificial additives or filtration. The brewery also has a bar and shop, so you can sample and take home your favourites. Tours are available every Saturday, but book ahead to secure your spot.

A Quick Caffeine Boost

Durham, Coffee shop

21A Elvet Bridge

After a long day of working, sightseeing or shopping, you may need to stop off for a caffeine boost to take you gently into the evening’s activities. Flat White Durham Café has a bit of a retro style in their approach to the café’s design, which gives a charming and relaxed feel to the place. When it comes to coffee, they know their stuff and much care is taken in each cup. A coffee would of course not be the same without some delicious baking on the side. Make sure you go late afternoon as it shuts at 17:00.

Take in a show at Gala Theatre and Cinema

Described as the centrepiece of Durham´s arts programme, this highly modern pearl in a city surrounded by history houses a state-of-the-art theatre. In addition to spectacular shows, the Gala Theatre also offers a spacious and comfortable café-bar, two cinema screens and versatile conference facilities. If you are visiting this Christmas, make sure you book your seats for this year’s pantomime, the much-loved story of Aladdin. The building is pulsating with life. There is always something happening here, whether you are in the mood for theatre, action, comedy, concerts or dance. The cinema programme has all the latest blockbusters, as well as independent and classic films if your prefer. Gala Theatre and Cinema is located on the banks of River Wear in the heart of the city.

Ghost Walks

River Wear and Framwellgate Bridge

If you are not yet ready to head indoors, then why not book a ghost walk and delve into the city’s darker side? Ghosts and Grisly Death takes you on a journey through the heart if Durham’s medieval streets, alleyways and river-side lanes. Although, unfortunately, not available in the winter months it is something to include in your schedule if visiting in the summer or autumn.

Out for a refreshment

Whether you’re looking for pre-theatre drinks at a pub or cosy wine bar, in and around the city of Durham is surrounded by an array of pubs, inns, wine bars and clubs. This university city is bustling with young enthusiasm due to the student population, so there is plenty to choose from. Here are some of the best Tripadvisor tips:

Ebony Champagne Bar

8 Walkergate

If you want to live it up a little, visit Ebony Champagne and Cocktail Bar. Located close to Gala Theatre, this makes the perfect stopover before taking in a show. Otherwise, it is just a great place to start an evening out, with a sophisticated menu of champagnes, cocktails, wines and beers.

Whisky River

47 Prince Bishops Shopping Centre

Whisky River is a cosy cocktail bar with an extensive and unique drinks menu. Said to be one of the best bars in Durham, it is a great place for a quiet drink after work or with friends for a night out. Relax in a great atmosphere, with live music on Fridays, and don’t forget to ask the staff about the Prohibition Menu, only available on request.

This is a taste of how you can fill your evenings exploring all that Durham has to offer. This list is by no means exhaustive but if it sounds interesting then come and check out the city for yourself. There is always something new and exciting to discover around the next corner. Simply strolling around the local streets and taking in the beautiful attractions and riverside settings makes for a perfect evening out. The Bar at Radisson Blu Hotel, Durham is the ideal base for both business and leisure trips and is the perfect spot to begin and end your evening. Start with Afternoon Tea or a beer after a busy day of sightseeing or working before going out to explore the city by night. It’s also the perfect place to have a last refreshment before turning in for the night.

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