Many of us missed out on a much-needed getaway last year, but it won’t be long till we can all get out and explore new places once again. Whether you love relaxing countryside escapes, historic city breaks, or fun-filled family get togethers, a staycation in Durham is worth the wait. 

To help inspire you we've picked some of the top accommodation, tasty places to eat and unmissable things to do on a staycation in Durham. 

Landscape images of Durham Dales countryside and Durham Heritage Coast beaches

Coast and Countryside Escapes 

Searching for a getaway filled with breathtaking views, cosy accommodation, and plenty of wide-open space to explore? A staycation in the Durham Dales or along the Durham Heritage Coast guarantees all this and more. 

Places to stay 

The picture postcard village of Romaldkirk is home to the Rose and Crown, well-known for its award-winning food and warm welcome, and historic Headlam Hall is a great place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the great outdoors, with on-site luxury spa. 

Nestled in the heart of the Durham Dales and a stone’s throw away from the mighty High Force Waterfall you’ll find the recently refurbished High Force Hotel, surrounded by miles of walking and cycling trails across the North Pennines AONB’s spectacular landscapes. And the 5 star Seaham Hall boutique hotel and Serenity Spa is perfectly placed for exploring the Durham Heritage Coast’s beautiful beaches and stunning clifftop footpaths. 

bedroom inside Headlam Hall, aerial shot of Seaham Hall Hotel, exterior shot of Rose and Crown Inn and bedroom at High Force Hotel

Places to eat 

The lively harbour town of Seaham is bursting with tasty places to eat including Lickety Split Creamery, a 1950’s style ice cream parlour serving up delicious home-made ice cream, and at harbour marina you’ll find cafes serving up delicious food and drink alongside beautiful seaside views. 

The Durham Dales is home to many of Durham’s amazing local producers, including Teesdale Cheese who have recently opened Café Cheesedale – where you can enjoy warming drinks, delicious food and even visit the dairy where the cheese is made. You’ll be spoilt for choice of cafes, restaurants and unique eateries offering up hearty pub grub and tempting local produce across the Durham Dales.   

family walking on beach, couple outside The Bowes Museum, family bike ride at Raby Castle and surfers at Seaham Beach

Things to do 

From coast to countryside you’ll find hundreds of miles of walking and cycling paths to explore on two feet or two wheels. There are also incredible attractions to visit including Raby Castle – one of England’s best-preserved medieval castles, The Bowes Museum – home to incredible collections and fascinating exhibitions, and Dalton Park – the region’s biggest outlet shopping centre. 

Enjoy a spot of wildlife watching and bird spotting at Derwent Waterside Park, discover the wonders of the night sky at Grassholme Observatory, lose yourself in Durham’s largest forest – Hamsterley Forest, and no visit to the Durham Dales is complete without visiting High and Low Force Waterfalls. 

Get-togethers with family and friends 

Whether it’s a family holiday with grandparents, or best friends reuniting, across the county you’ll find cosy home from homes, and amazing family-friendly days out to make lasting memories.

Places to stay 

At Rockliffe Hall you’ll find something for all members of the family to enjoy, from the award-winning spa, world-class golf course and Mischmasch, where little ones can discover a wonderland of curiosities. Or take your pick from fabulous themed hot tub rooms and pet-friendly rooms at South Causey Inn.  

For those looking for a space of their own, across the county you’ll find plenty of self-catering accommodation, and caravan and camp sites. From cosy cottages and farmhouses, to unique glamping pods and modern apartments, perfect spaces for reconnecting with friends and family.

exterior of Rockliffe Hall Hotel, family outside self-catering accommodation on bikes, exterior of South Causey Inn and aerial shot of Doe Park Caravan Site

Places to eat  

At Bradley Burn Farm you can enjoy delicious food and drink in the family-friendly coffee shop, pick up delicious local produce and let the kids blow off some steam at the on-site forest adventure, filled with nature trails and woodland play area. 

Across the county you’ll find lots of family-friendly eateries and restaurants serving up tasty homemade children’s meals, including The Seaton Lane Inn, The Cellar Door and The Food Pit in Durham City, where you’ll find something to tempt everyone’s tastebuds.

family at Locomotion Museum, boy and girl riding donkeys at Hall Hill Farm, family at Beamish Museum and family canoeing at TCR Hub

Things to do

Locomotion is a must-visit for young and old family members who are loco about trains, step back in time at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North or discover the fascinating story of the Prince Bishops of Durham at Auckland Castle, where you’ll also find a beautiful deer park – perfect for relaxing walks and picnics. Meet new furry friends at Hall Hill Farm and enjoy an action-packed day at Diggerland.

For those that love the outdoors, you’ll find lots of wild and wonderful family-friendly activities to enjoy from water sports at Seaham Harbour Marina, to kayaking, rock climbing and more at Weardale Adventure Centre or The Hub at Barnard Castle.     

Durham City market place, couple walking along River Wear Durham City, couple overlooking River Wear and Elvet Bridge.

Heritage City Hideouts 

If City breaks are more your thing, historic Durham City has it all, from Instagram worthy views, to amazing attractions, jaw-dropping architecture, and fantastic food & drink.

Places to stay 

Radisson Blu Hotel overlooking the River Wear is a great base for exploring the city, with riverside footpaths on the doorstep and only a short walk to the city centre. The Kingslodge Inn is located only five minutes’ walk from Durham train station and is dog-friendly too! And right in the heart of the historic city you’ll find Hotel Indigo – a boutique hotel set in the grand Victorian Old Shire Hall.

A short drive out of the city you’ll find the incredible Lumley Castle Hotel, where you can live like a king or queen during your city break.

Bar inside Radisson Blu Hotel, couple with dogs walking out of Kingslodge Inn, woman in hotel room lying on bed and Hut in the Hollow.

Places to eat 

From cosy cafés, to riverside bars and ward-winning restaurants. You’ll be spoilt for choice with what’s on the menu in Durham City. Enjoy delicious comfort food as you people watch from Tango’s outdoor seating on Elvet Bridge, grab a coffee to go at the Insta-famous Flat White Café or dine in Durham Cathedral's beautiful medieval undercroft restaurant.      

Durham University Oriental Museum, couple inside Durham Cathedral, couple shopping and family inside Durham University Botanic Garden

Things to do

For such a small city, there’s so much to explore, with incredible attractions to discover around every corner. Head to Wharton Park to take in spectacular views of the city below, enjoy a relaxing river cruise or uncover the city’s fascinating history at Durham Town Hall.

Pick up unique gifts or treat yourself to something special from the city’s many independent traders, boutiques and historic market hall. On the outskirts of the city you’ll find a real hidden gem – Durham University’s Oriental Museum and the tranquil oasis of the Botanic Garden

And no visit to Durham City is complete without exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Durham Cathedral and Castle

For more inspiration check out our Worth the Wait page >

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