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Explore Durham – Your Insider’s Guide to the Best of the City

Go beyond the guidebooks and discover the true heart of Durham. Our team of local experts uncovers the best activities, from must-see attractions to those cherished hidden gems. Let our curated guides lead you to unforgettable Durham experiences.

Why Trust Us? Your Durham Experts, Your Unbiased Guides

Discovering the best things to do in a city requires more than just online searches. It takes local knowledge, on-the-ground exploration, and a genuine passion for uncovering both must-see highlights and hidden gems.

At Secret Durham, we’re committed to being your ultimate resource for planning extraordinary adventures in this vibrant city. Here’s why you can trust our recommendations:


The Durham Connection: We Live and Breathe This City

  • Locals and Explorers: Our team is made up of long-time Durham residents and those who have fallen in love with its charm and endless possibilities. We’re not just writing about the city; we’re actively experiencing everything it offers.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Our reviewers represent a mix of backgrounds, ages, and interests, ensuring our guides cater to a wide range of travellers and locals looking for a fresh perspective.
  • Passion Project: Secret Durham isn’t just a website; it’s our way of sharing our collective love for this city with both visitors and those who call it home.

Our Relentless Pursuit of the Best Experiences

  • In-Person Exploration: We don’t simply rely on online reviews or hearsay. We visit attractions, both the iconic and the under-the-radar, to provide first-hand, authentic assessments.
  • Beyond the Hype: We look deeper than just the tourist hotspots. Our goal is to unearth hidden experiences that reveal Durham’s true spirit.
  • Evolving with the City: Durham is dynamic. We monitor new openings, changing exhibits, and seasonal events to ensure our guides remain timely and relevant.

Honest Reviews, Always

  • Unbiased & Independent: We never accept payment, freebies, or special favours in exchange for favourable coverage. Our loyalty is to you, the user, and we provide information you can rely on.
  • Transparency Matters: We’ll share the good and the not-so-good. Our reviews aim to give you a clear picture of what to expect so you can find experiences that perfectly align with your interests and preferences.

It’s a Collaboration: Your Voice Shapes Our Guides

We believe the best way to discover Durham is by working together.

  • Share Your Favourites: Leave comments about your top Durham activities and hidden treasures – they might just be featured in future updates!
  • We’re Listening: Your feedback helps us understand what you value most and ensures our guides continue to offer the information you need to plan the best Durham adventures.

Our Approach: How We Curate the Best Experiences

Finding that perfect Durham activity goes beyond mere popularity. The most memorable experiences often come from careful curation and a deep understanding of what makes Durham tick. Here’s a glimpse into how we approach our activity reviews and guide creation:

Understanding Your Needs: Because Not Every Adventure Is One-Size-Fits-All

We recognise that travellers and locals alike have diverse interests and needs when seeking out activities. Our evaluations consider:

  • Audience: Is this perfect for families with young children, couples seeking a romantic outing, history buffs, or thrill-seekers?
  • Occasion: Are we seeking iconic, must-do Durham experiences, rainy-day options, or unique date night ideas?
  • Budget: We showcase free and paid activities, ensuring options for every traveller.

The Key Factors: Evaluating What Makes an Activity Shine

  • Uniqueness: Does this experience offer something special that sets it apart or captures the essence of Durham?
  • Quality: Is the attraction well-maintained, and the experience well-delivered? Do they provide good customer service?
  • Accessibility: We consider location, ease of access, and whether the activity caters to visitors with diverse needs.
  • Reputation & Reviews: While not the sole deciding factor, we factor in existing visitor feedback to gain a well-rounded perspective.
  • Value: Does the experience justify the cost of admission or participation, considering the overall quality and time spent?

Staying Informed: Adapting to Durham’s Evolving Scene

Durham is a city with a pulse. We’re dedicated to remaining your go-to resource by:

  • Revisiting Attractions: Even established favourites get reassessed to ensure consistency and that they still hold up to our standards.
  • Seeking the New: We actively monitor for new openings, exciting pop-ups, and unique events that enrich Durham’s offerings.
  • Seasonal Celebrations: Our guides reflect the changing seasons, highlighting holiday events, outdoor activities best suited for specific weather, and more.

Beyond Ratings: Crafting Guides That Inspire

Our goal isn’t simply to list activities but to spark excitement and help you visualise your perfect Durham adventure. Our guides include:

  • Descriptive Overviews: We’ll paint a picture of what to expect, so you can determine if an activity aligns with your needs.
  • Practical Tips: Information on pricing, hours, booking in advance, etc., empowers you with logistical know-how.
  • Themed Roundups: Lists like “5 Historic Durham Walks” or “Best Free Family Outings” make finding options based on your interests easy.

Finding Your Perfect Durham Experience: Your Adventure, Your Way

We understand that navigating the endless possibilities of a vibrant city like Durham can be both exciting and a little overwhelming. That’s why we tailor our guides to help you zero in on experiences that best suit your interests, timeframe, and desired vibe.

Get Inspired by these Guide Categories:

  • The Iconic Durham Experience: Dive into the city’s rich history and heritage with visits to must-see landmarks like Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle, and other architectural gems.
  • Hidden Treasures: Venture off the beaten path and uncover those charming cafes, quirky shops, independent art galleries, and unexpected pockets of beauty that many visitors miss.
  • Family Adventures: Kid-friendly museums, outdoor spaces perfect for running off energy, animal encounters, and activities designed to delight both young and old.
  • Outdoor Escapes: Explore Durham’s riverside walks, scenic parks and gardens, and nearby destinations perfect for hiking, cycling, or a relaxing picnic.
  • Foodie Delights: Curated guides to the city’s top restaurants, cosy cafes with delectable treats, and bustling markets filled with local delicacies.
  • Experience the Arts: Discover Durham’s vibrant cultural pulse with listings for theatre shows, art exhibitions, music events, and lively festivals throughout the year.

Make It Your Own: Personalise Your Adventure

  • Mix & Match: Combine iconic must-sees with hidden gems for a well-rounded experience that’s uniquely yours.
  • Time Matters: Are you planning a whirlwind day trip or a leisurely week-long stay? Our guides will offer options that fit your timeframe.
  • Embrace the Unexpected: Leave room for serendipity! Durham is full of surprises – a street performer might catch your eye, or a charming side street might beckon you to explore further.

Not Sure Where to Start?

  • Themed Roundups: Look for our curated lists like “Top 10 Romantic Durham Date Ideas” or “Best Free Things to Do in Durham” for ready-made inspiration.
  • Seasonal Activities: Our guides are updated regularly to include festivals, holiday markets, and seasonal highlights, so you’re always in the know.
  • Ask Us! Browse our site’s search function, or leave a comment – we’re happy to offer personalised recommendations based on your specific interests.

Explore Durham: Finding the Best Activities

We’re committed to providing you with the tools to curate extraordinary Durham experiences tailored to your preferences. Our guides serve as a starting point, designed to fuel your exploration and ignite a sense of discovery that will lead you to your own unique and unforgettable adventures in this captivating city.