When I am travelling, I do not really require any frills as my hotel, gusthouse or whatever is merely a place to sleep and have a wash. A clean comfortable bed and decent bath or shower are quite sufficient. On a recent visit to Durhamthe best deal I could get was at the Queens Head a little bit out of the centre on Sherburn Road. I was quoted £30 per night for a single room with breakfast. In the event, I had single occupancy of a twin room but was only charged the single rate.
Haing dragged my luggage all the way from the train station (it did not look that far on the map!) and up the rather steep Gilesgate I was a little hot and bothered when I arrived. There is no reception as it is effectively a pub / restaurant with rooms above so I wandered into the bar which was empty on a midweek early afternoon. I spoke to the very friendly young barmaid who confirmed my reservation and I enquired whether I could have a drink before being shown to my room. no problem, and that was a feature of the place during my stay. The staff were unfailingly friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. Indeed, when I had checked out, they allowed me to stow my kit in the office so I did not have to drag it around all day whilst sightseeing which I thought was a nice touch.
With my considerable thirst duly quenched, the young lady showed me to my room on the first floor and to the rear so road noise was never going to be a problem. The image gives you an idea. It was basic but clean and the bed turned out to be comfortable and mercifully long enough for my lanky frame. There was a TV and washbasin and the wifi from the bar even worked upstairs although it was a little patchy. In fairness, they had not advertised wifi as a service so it was a bit of a bonus. Again as advertised the bathroom was non ensuite but was directly adjacent with seperate toiket and bath / shower and I never had to wait to use the facilities. Again, they were clean and there always seemed to be plenty of hot water for a shower.
Breakfast is included in the price although I did not avail of it as I rarely eat that meal. I was told that it was of the self-service tea / coffee, cereal and toast variety (pictured) and taken in the rear dining area of the bar. Should you want food at other times of the day, the food here is excellent and I shall deal with that in a seperate restaurant tip.
I can only see two potential problems for people wishing to stay here. Firstly, some may find it a little far out of the centre but I used to enjoy the fifteen or so minute walk into the City. If you do not fancy walking, there is a very regular bus service which stops just outside. The second problem is that it would not be suitable for mobility impaired travellers as all the rooms are upstairs and there is no lift. This is regrettable but just the nature of the building.
I noted at the head of this tip my fairly modest requirments for a B&B. The Queens Head more than met them and it was absolutely ideal for me. I have no hesitation in recommending it.
There are no unique qualities here although I have noted the helpfulness of the staff. It is a clean, comfortable, no-frills place to stay at a very competitive price.
As a way of raising extra revenue, most of the colleges offer a bed & breakfast service out of term time.
On occasions they fill the place out with conference, but this is unusual.
The service is especially useful for single travellers as it avoids any problems with single room supplements.
Collingwood college is probably the smartest to stay in (with unheard of delights like en-suites) whilst the best situated has to be St Chad's college (my old place) on the Bailey.
The most historic is clearly the Castle (see seperate tip)
The picture actually shows my old room at college - I'm sure some people would pay extra for the priviledge !
The Bracken in Shincliffe is a small hotel in an old creaky house. There is a bar, and a restaurant, but the best thing is that it is just opposite the Seven Stars Inn (see restaurants above). Oh, I forgot the old labrador who likes to sniff each guest!!!!
Around £50 bed and breakfast.
(My dad used to stay here when he came to help me move in and out of college, but he hasn't donw that for a while, so this place may not exist anymore. The owner was talking about selling, so check with the tourist office first...)
Rooms are quite small, but I think all have private bathrooms. Some rooms have traffic noise from the busy road outside.
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