In the spotlight: Durham

‘In the spotlight’ is back for another month, and this month we’re heading north once again. Idu Nwokolo, one of the assistants in our programme team, went to university in Durham, and it’s safe to say she’s a fan of the place. Here’s her thoughts on why you should visit the city of Durham.

One of the most picturesque cities in the UK in my opinion, Durham is a must see on a tour of the North of England. Situated on a hill, Durham epitomises why bigger is not always better. Famous for its university, Durham is home to roughly 30,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students living on a ‘Hill’ or ‘Bailey’ (by the river) college. If you visit during term time, it will not be uncommon to see large group of students in fancy dress, singing their college song proudly! However there is more to Durham than formals, fancy dress and re-enacting Harry Potter scenes in the Cathedral (parts of Durham Cathedral were used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone  film as a location for Hogwarts). Despite being able to walk from one end of town to the other in less than an hour, Durham’s got a vast array of restaurants to suit all budgets, such as La Spaghettata (affectionately known as Spags) where you can get a two course meal for under £10.

Durham Cathedral is a must see on your visit. Built in the 11th century, its splendour and stunning stain glass windows leaves visitors entranced. If you’re feeling really energetic, climbing the steps to the top is another step on your Durham bucket list but proceed with caution and wear sensible shoes- there are 325 steps! After all that climbing, another Durham rite of passage is cake. Going to Durham and not eating cake is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Durham’s plethora of independently owned cake shops and cafes are an integral part of Durham’s economy, thanks to the sweet tooth of many students and locals alike. If you’re still feeling energetic after your cake (my personal favourite is Café Continental), a walk along the river path from to Prebends Bridge is the perfect way to start off your afternoon, with the views of the cathedral and castle banks enough to take your breath away.