I have lived in Durham over the past 3 years and have some tips and warnings for women (and couples!) wanting to visit Durham, but are concerned by the reports that 'its rough at night'.
I work late night at a bar and walk home on my own regularly at 2.30am!
Durham is A VERY SAFE PLACE. As long as you use some common sense when you are out and about!
North Road gets busy and rowdy like any other British town on a weekend - its nothing out of the ordinary! If you feel intimidated by large groups of drunken students/men/women, just avoid this area at night - its only one road in the entire town! I have walked through this area and apart from the drunken shouts and Wolf-whistles (just ignore them!!), nothing bad has ever happened!
If you want to be safe and would prefer not to walk around at night, grab a taxi! Durham is very small so taxis are very cheap! Taxi ranks at night can be found in the Market Square, Claypath (just North of the main square) and on North Road.
Do not go walking down by the river in the dark. Its a stupid idea - don't put yourself at risk! Would you do this anywhere else in a town you didn't know?
Careful of the cobbles! The locals and students may have perfected running on the cobbles in wet weather/snow/ice wearing high heels, but they have had practice! Especially when they can be slippery - take care!
Once again, I want to state that Durham is an incredibly safe place - don't be put off!
For quite a small town, Durham can seem a bit rough in places after dark. Don't panic, it's not a no-go zone once the sun sets, but you may need to be a bit careful down North Road late at night...this is the livelier end of town, and once the bars anc clubs start turfing people out, things can turn nasty. Friday and Saturday nights are the worst, although there is usually a high police presence on these nights. After a few drinks, student-local tensions occasionally flare up and people have been badly beaten up. The best advice is probably not to walk around town alone late at night...doubly so if you're female.
Don't go down the riverbank paths at night either...groups of kids/teenagers like to hang out here causing trouble, and the area around Prebends Bridge (the old pedestrian one at the end of the Bailey) has been known to attract the odd flasher...there were a couple of cases of sexual assault and robbery up here a few years ago, so unless you're with a group, save this bridge for the daytime.
Durham is really one of the most beautiful towns in Europe but when the sun goes down, get the the hell out of there! (it can get quite rough..) If you are really brave though, walk through North Road at 2 am!!
Was voted the worst night club in Europe! And at least I haven't been to a worse one yet. However, the queue to get inside is always quite long - then again, there isn't that many night clubs in Durham...
Durham has inroduced it's own congestion charge for access up Saddler street which leads to the Castle, Cathedral and several of the colleges.
At two pounds a time (between 10 Am and 4Pm), it does seem more like a simple money-making scheme by the local council, rather than a serious attempt to try and reduce car use.
The scheme is controlled by an automatic barrier. And the ever-present security cameras. Trying to dodge it will set you back Thirty Quid.
Student life and alcohol go together like public washing machines and oddsocks.
Anytime in termtime, you are almost bound to encounter drunk students - on a bender for some reason or another, and at any time of the day.
I remember in particular one 'College day' when we downed well over 30 Buck's fizzes before breakfast. As the 'colour' of the college was green we then sunk several pints of Green beer (just food colouring added) during Breakfast to accompany the green porridge, green milk, and green marmalade. We then spent the morning before sobering up a little (i.e went to a lecture) before an afternoon pub crawl. Happy days.
We all should have a chance to be young and stupid - just give them a wide birth.
Why the picture of the Duck. Well in February the University has 'Duck week', the charity raising fest. More mad students, in silly outfits, usually bladdered.
This ugly concrete bridge may have one a civic trust award in 1965, but it hides a greater danger.
The architect constructed the footbridge with a wide handrail (about 2 feet wide) on each side. It was therefore unsurprising that some people saw it as a dare to try and "walk the handrail". The River Weir below is a very long way down. People have met with some severe injuries or even worse.
I do however remember one night when a completely pissed Geordie (local) just decieded it would be cool thing to do - to jump off the bridge. Despite his sheer lunacy he survived, dragged himself up the bank, and still wringing wet declared : "That was Champion, man", and proceeded to do it again. He was not so lucky this time and ended up in Accident & emergency.
Kingsgate was also the site of the famous incident (before my time) when the rag-week crowd (student charity types) slung the Vice-chancellors car underneath the bridge for a bet. Rag week got banned as a result - but was re-born as 'Duck week' - or Durham University Charity Week (YES, I know it doesn't work !)
The UK is full of small, terraced houses. The houses are generally much smaller and narrower than I'm used to from other places in Europe.
The stairs is most of those houses are very steep and very narrow. I fell down the stairs of my house in Durham and broke my hand. And from British friends I have heard that this kind of accident is not uncommon in the UK.
Walk down the stairs carefully and slowly. Don't walk or run down on socks, wear slippers with rubber bottoms.
The Saddle Market
The Coach and Eight
DH1 Nightclub (Non-student nights only)
These pubs are best avoided, the wrong type of atmosphere and patrons linger within. You will not really be made welcome, especially students.
Watch out! The university police is watching you!!!
I had never heard of a university police before so I was kind of surprised to see that they have something like this in Durham.