Exploring the area for just £1!

Joelle Lucas

You heard that right, you can get to some cool places for only £1. If you haven’t already heard, the Arriva bus network has £1 day passes for students in the Durham area and even less if you buy a pass online. I had been using their day pass to get around town but then I started expanding my knowledge of where these busses go and I found I could get to see some pretty nice places and have some decent day trips.

Here are some places to get you started

Finchale Priory

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If you take the 62 bus from town you can get off at the prison and enjoy a nice walk (about 20 min north) to Finchale Priory which used to be a retreat for the monks of Durham Cathedral. It is right next to the river in a quiet spot and is free to enter. I recommend taking a picnic and walking down the other side of the river. If it happens to be a nice day you can also swim in the river! Learn more here.

Brasside Pond

Also on the 62 bus to the prison (or the 64 to Canterbury Road Park stop), you can take a pleasant stroll out to Brasside Pond – one of the hidden gems of Durham. I have taken this walk in the autumn with a thermos of tea and highly recommend it. The pond has swans and is quite big and goes around local farms. Very scenic.  

Brancepeth Castle

If you take the X46 to the village stop you are only about a 15 min walk to Brancepeth castle. People still live in the castle, but they do have opening hours to come to visit and sometimes have events on. There are also lovely grounds and a really beautiful church and lots of walking paths in the area. More information on the castle here.


This is a stop on the x12 route to Newcastle I just discovered this little town recently and most importantly the REfuse café. This is a really cool café that helps reduce food waste. They offer lunches by donation and the meals change based on the food that week. They also have lovely cakes and coffee for purchase. The café vibe is fun and funky and a great place to go and work. There is also a lovely park across the way and Lumley castle! For information on the REfuse Café click here, for information on Lumley Castle click here, and for information on Riverside park click here.

Lumley Castle

Bishop Auckland

I have to admit I still have not been here to see the castle but I have been to their amazing food festival. This is another fun town that would make a great day trip – go see the castle, find a new place to eat and explore those charity shops. For more information on the castle click here, and if you want to be in the know for the next food festival click here.

Some of the famous bridges of Newcastle


Excitingly the X12 bus takes you all the way to Newcastle in less than an hour! I now use this bus quite often to get myself to Newcastle and even to the airport! I mean there is so much to do in Newcastle! But some of my favourites are the Lit & Phil (philosophy and literature library) which is a private library but is free for the public to enjoy (membership will let you take out books and have wifi access). They have many events and even free concerts. There are also some great charity shops (my personal favourite is Cancer Research where everything is £3 or less) and just good shopping in general! If you are an American like me you might also be missing Taco Bell and you get your fix while visiting Newcastle. There are lots of museums as well which I am just starting to explore so go and check them out!

I mean for only £1 (or less if you get a week or term ticket online) you really can’t go wrong!

Get out there and explore the wonderful Northeast of England! 

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Joelle Lucas

My name is Joelle and I am an American PhD student studying Friendship and technology in the Theology department and I have been working as a postgraduate ambassador since 2018 when I came for an MA

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