This month Liz King gives you inspiration for your next venture in your motorhome.
Durham City is the jewel in the crown of an extraordinary and small county. The dramatic skyline is one of the most stunning city panoramas in Europe, dominated by the iconic Durham Cathedral described by Bill Bryson as “the best cathedral on planet earth” and together with Durham Castle which dates back to the 11th century and home to the powerful Prince Bishops forms a World Heritage Site.
Palace Green is a beautiful spot for a picnic while soaking up the city’s historic atmosphere and there are magical views of the cathedral and castle from the banks of the River Wear, the perfect setting for an afternoon stroll.
For those keen to get a taste of boating, rowing boats are available for hire, while the Prince Bishop River Cruiser offers a particularly stylish trip along the Wear, with a bar, café and commentary onboard.
If museums take your fancy then the university’s Museum of Archaeology at the Old Fulling Mill houses a fascinating collection including pieces from Ancient Greece and Rome. Durham City is also the home of the world renowned Oriental Museum.
One of the city’s hidden gems Crook Hall, a medieval manor house will please the green-fingered visitor with its typically English garden.
In the elegant winding lanes, specialist shops and markets co-exist with boutiques and cosmopolitan restaurants. If you want a great place to eat, then look for establishments displaying the TasteDurham award. TasteDurham is a national standard, awarded by Visit England to businesses based on their menu and quality of food, as well as the comfort and cleanliness of the establishment. The scheme also recognises businesses that source their produce locally.
If you feel the call of the shops, then a regular bus service (no.65) takes you to Dalton Park, the biggest outlet shopping centre in the region, just off the A19 – and save up to 50% off High Street prices on a wide range of top brands inn more than 60 outlet shops from designer labels like Joseph and Radley to high street favourites such as Next Clearance, Marks and Spencer outlet and Gap Outlet. But you must wander the cobbled lanes in the city too, visit Fowler’s Yard for handmade crafts and experience the Victorian charm of Durham Indoor Market.
Be thrifty too, by using Durham Deals; take advantage of exclusive money-saving offers on attractions, restaurants and shopping. Take a look at the Durham Deals website.
Durham City is served by three Park and Ride sites on the key routes into the city – great if you want to avoid taking your motorhome into the city. These are at Belmont, Sniperley and Howlands. A direct bus service runs every 10 minutes to the city centre from each site. The sites offer free parking for users of the Park and Ride bus service and unlimited daily travel into the city centre and back for just £1.70 per person. Park and Ride users can also use the cathedral bus for free. The Park and Ride sites have parking facilities for motorhomes and do not have height barriers. See the Durham County Council website
For more information about Durham City visit www.thisisdurham.com
You could even plan to stay near to Durham in your motorhome. Local campsites we found include:
Strawberry Hill Farm – www.strawberry-hill-farm.co.uk – 10 minutes drive to the centre of Durham City and 10 minutes drive from the Howlands Park and Ride site.
Finchale Abbey – www.finchaleabbey.co.uk – 20 minutes drive to the centre of Durham City and 15 minutes from the Sniperley Park and Ride site.
If you know of any great campsites or must-see attractions in or around Durham, please let us and other readers know in the comments below!