Durham is one of the UK's most picturesque cities and is perfectly sized for walking around. Whether you're local to the area or visiting from further afield, you may know that there are plenty of beautiful walks and trails around the surrounding countryside to get to know the landscape. However, there are also some stunning city walks in Durham to enjoy too!
We've picked our favourite three routes for exploring Durham city centre on foot. All of these walks are easily accessible from Durham train station and are a lovely way to see the sights. Check out CrossCountry's picks for the best walks in Durham.
Circular River Walk
- Distance: 3.2 miles
- Duration: 1-1.5 hours
- Start & finish: Durham City Cricket Club
- Getting there: Durham City Cricket Club is a 20-minute walk from Durham station
Starting at Durham City Cricket Club, this riverside walk follows the water and feels particularly rural, despite being close to the town centre. Heading east, follow the sports ground round until you find the riverbank. Cross Baths Bridge and continue along the river, walk past New Elvet Bridge and the Cathedral, and then cross Prebends Bridge.
Head back in the direction you came, this time appreciating the views from the other side of the river. Walk past the back of St Oswald’s Church and cross back over the river once you reach Kingsgate Footbridge. You’ll find yourself on the same path now in the heart of the city. Why not stray off-piste slightly and enjoy the beautiful Durham Castle? Then, grab some takeaway pancakes at Flat White Café and find a peaceful spot along the river to eat.
You can either stay in town or walk back the way you came to complete the loop.
Durham City Peninsula
- Distance: 5.1 miles
- Duration: 2 hours
- Start: Durham Market Place
- Finish: New Elvet Bridge
- Getting there: Durham Market Place is around 10 minutes from the station
This circular loop begins at Durham Market Place. Head down the cobbled streets to the Framwellgate Bridge, taking in the gorgeous view of the castle behind you. Follow the river south until Prebends Bridge is on your left. Rather than crossing, turn right and follow the road, merging onto Quarryheads Lane. Turn right at the roundabout and follow the road up to Observatory Hill.
Take in the views, then head back down to Prebends Bridge, crossing to the other side. Follow South Bailey road and turn right just before the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre, continuing across Kingsgate Bridge.
Turn left on Church Street and then a tight right onto Hallgarth Street. Follow it for a little while and you’ll reach a small crossing in the road. Cross over, and follow the signs into the trees. This path will go through Maiden Castle Woods – feel free to stray off the path and explore here.
When you’ve finished wandering, find the path again and walk over the Maiden Castle Footbridge, turning left after you’ve reached the other side. Follow the riverside path until you reach the New Elvet Bridge. From here you can walk back into the Market Place or grab a coffee from one of the cafes that fill the city.
Aykley Wood Reserve
- Distance: 1.7km to the destination. From there you can follow a 4.5km long loop or branch off early.
- Duration: 2 hours
- Start: Durham Station
- Finish: Aykley Wood Nature Reserve
- Getting there: Walking from the station to the nature reserve takes around 25 minutes
Aykley Wood Reserve is a 4.5km loop popular with walkers, runners and hikers. The good news is that there are numerous routes and trails you can take, so whether you want to go for an extended hike or just want a leisurely stroll, there’s an option for you at Aykley Wood Reserve.
It is also extremely convenient to get to the town centre. From Durham station, follow the windy path down the hill until you reach the Framwellgate Road. Follow the road for a few minutes and you’ll find a right turn that heads onto a woodland trail. You can either go straight through the woods or follow the road round to the left.
Now you’ve arrived in the Aykley Woods area. There is the recreation ground where you can wander round and get some steps in, or you can follow the path into the nature reserve area. Stay here for as long as you like, then head back into town for a well-deserved takeaway cup of tea.
The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best historical places in the UK, the best forests in the UK, or the best cinemas in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.
Written by Julia