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Be inspired every day with Living North
Places to go
December 2022
Reading time 4 Minutes

When you want to know where to go… you ask a local

This month, Charlotte McGuan, founder of Image Geek, a community gym in County Durham, gives us an insight into some of her favourite haunts in and around the tiny historic city, letting us into a few of Durham’s best kept secrets along the way.
Elvet & Bailey
Dalton Park


In the city, Elvet & Bailey is where to go for great gifts. It stocks work from lots of local independent artists’ and makers so you can always find something different in here. Moon also showcases lots of different artists’ work and there’s a great choice of unique, contemporary handmade jewellery, art and lighting in this shop on Silver Street. Some of the best places are outside the city centre. Pears Boutique in Langley Moor has a lovely range of day-to-evening clothes for all occasions, and TLC Clothing in Blackhill also has some lovely stuff. Dalton Park is the outlet shopping centre near Seaham with lots of good brands at discounted prices, foodie outlets and a great play area and parkland, making it well worth a trip.

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The Grind

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The Grind in Spennymoor is a great small business which is thriving. Head here for their fresh brunch menu and everything from coffee to cocktails alongside your food. CoHo in Durham is also worth stopping by. They offer a good range of pizzas and burgers, and the staff are lovely. It’s next to the river and down from the city centre so it doesn’t get too overcrowded or noisy. For a special occasion Cellar Door is a cool restaurant in a 13th century cellar with great views of the river; head to Vennels Café on Saddler Street for coffee and cake; or The Food Pit, great for groups, with seven different street food vendors. Out of the city, The Garden House Inn at Framwellgate is a cosy pub worth seeking out for the fantastic food, and in Spennymoor, Bar29 for chilled date nights.


Durham’s riverside walks can take you all around the city and up to the Cathedral, where you must climb the tower to the top for the incredible panoramic view. It is also where part of Harry Potter was filmed. Just outside Durham, the ruined 13th century Finchale Priory is beautiful and well worth exploring. Surrounded by woodland on the banks of the Wear, it was actually a holiday retreat for the monks of Durham. My real personal favourite for a day out has to be Beamish. It’s a great place to get outdoors with lots of activities to keep you busy as you wander through each reconstructed village and learn so much about our own social history, but it’s also great for food – from fresh bread at the bakery to fish and chips, followed by a trip to the traditional sweet shop for dessert.


Not to be Missed

The old disused railway lines, which are now proper paths and stretch from one side of Durham to another, make a perfect day out for a walk or bike ride, and you pass though lots of different villages such as Spennymoor, Blackhill, Sherburn and Wingate, all still connected by this path. Anyone wanting to change-up their lifestyle should head to Image Geek, a safe community-based gym and health space in Spennymoor where anyone can come, work out and get advice on everything from nutrition to mental wellbeing.

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