Durham by night

Ruby Tomlinson

Durham of course offers the opportunity for those legally aged to drink in bars and go to clubs in the city, but this blog is for those who are under 18, having a night off, or just don’t want to drink – there are plenty of other options available for you. Another stereotype I aim to tackle here is the idea that because Durham is smaller than other university cities around the UK, it might be ‘boring’ at night – which is definitely not the case!

Food food food!

First and foremost, an issue very close to my heart: what food is available in Durham?

Durham is home to a huge number of different dining experiences, which can provide a great night out with company. When my parents come to visit I love to take them out to eat, and most places offer varying student discounts on food that you should keep an eye out for, especially mid-week. Personal favourites of mine include a restaurant affectionately known ‘Spags’ (Spaghettata on Saddler Street), which sells Italian dishes at great prices for huge portion sizes (plus a free salad bar!), and Lebaneat, a Lebanese restaurant that has some of the best halloumi and falafel wraps I’ve ever tasted!

Clubs and societies

Durham University has a huge number of societies, clubs, groups and troupes, which means that by night there is almost always some kind of student event being run. I’m part of a dance society and my housemate is part of a drama troupe, so between the two of us the rest of the house is swept off their feet trying to keep up with our performances in the halls of the local theatres and college stages. A lot of the university drama groups run interesting re-imaginations of more traditional plays which are very insightful to watch and consider. There are also a number of society social events such as motivational speakers, debates, and treasure hunts – many are fancy dress too, which is great fun.

Fancy dress social

Assembly Rooms Theatre

Situated on the Bailey right opposite Hatfield College is the Assembly Rooms Theatre. There are so many performances all run by students – check out whats on here. It’s a great night out & you support your fellow students. The theatre scene in Durham is buzzing! Showcasing both university and professional groups.


The final thing I have to recommend is a specific event that occurs every two years: the Lumiere light Festival, Lumiere is the UK’s largest light festival and brings together creative pieces from artists of all different backgrounds, installed across the historical city to light it up in the most beautiful of ways. The festival runs for four nights and spans not only the city centre but also more niche places which you might not normally explore, for example, the Botanic Gardens, it’s not only to enjoy for that night but also for the future to explore new places.


I hope with this small selection I have demonstrated the wide range of activities Durham has to offer at night. Durham is a beautiful place with a wealth of opportunities to take advantage of, I hope you are looking forward to exploring the city and creating some of your own favourite places.

Find out more

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Ruby Tomlinson

Hi, my name is Ruby, a recent graduate in English at Van Mildert College. When in Durham I loved getting outside to see the beauty spots the city has to offer, so you'll see many of my blogs offer recommendations! I take part in lots of extra-curriculars such as ball planning, sailing, dance and charity work, so I'm looking forward to sharing my experience and I hope you find it useful.

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