From Sports and Societies to Spags – a Night Out in Durham

Abbie Doherty

Durham may be small but it is always full of life, especially when the sun goes down and it is lit up by the lights of restaurants, colleges, theatre, and more. Sometimes all you want is a night in to yourself, but for those times when you couldn’t think of anything worse, here are some of my recommendations for things to do and/or get involved with!


With over 200 societies at Durham, all set up by students, there is truly always something to get involved with and people to meet. These range from very active, including lots of theatre (where you can act, tech, direct, etc.), to more low-key where you might meet up for an hour or so and do something you really enjoy.

Something I have done in my first two years at Durham is creative writing. I began writing more over lockdown and so it became something I really wanted to carry on, even with the chaos of university. I am also the social secretary, which means anything non-writing related within the society, well – that’s on me! Society socials can range from anything such as visiting college bars (often wearing silly costumes where nobody bats an eyelid), meals out with a group, or café trips. There really is something for everyone!


There are two sides to sport at Durham: DU / Team Durham sport, where you compete for the university and tends to be at a higher level, and college sport, which is much more social, and you can start more popular sports from scratch. I am part of DU Gymnastics and Trampolining, which I started this year, and I so wish I had started sooner! We do often train in the evening, but still have socials every few weeks, as well as competitions a few weekends in a term.

Flying high with ultimate frisbee

I also started a college sport called Ultimate Frisbee. Not many people have heard of it before they come to university, and a lot of the DU teams are also made of students who started when they arrived in Durham. I am part of Phoenix Knights, which is Grey College’s team, and we play against other colleges to hopefully win the league.

Spags and more restaurants galore

Ah, the famous Spags in Durham, a beautiful, little Italian restaurant on Saddler Street; a Durham student would be shunned for never having visited. Spags, however, whilst one of my favourites, isn’t the only amazing place to eat in the city. In fact, there are restaurants all over the place in and around the centre, and there is a taste for everyone. Whether you like a traditional British fish and chips, or want to expand your palette, you will be able to find something that suits you.

Me and some of my course mates in La Spaghettata (Spags)


It goes without saying that safety is foremost when it comes to being out after dark. Even though Durham is small and very lit up, it’s normal to feel uneasy from time to time, wherever you are. There are services such as the Night Cab that runs for £2 per journey within roughly a 2-mile radius of the city centre. Durham SU’s Nightline is primarily a listening service and you can call in to talk to somebody on your way home, even to make you feel a little safer.

I hope you’ve found this blog useful, and that it may have either inspired you to try something new in your evenings or given you an idea of the massive range that the university and the city offers!

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Abbie Doherty

Hi! My name is Abbie and I’m currently a second year studying geology at Grey College. As much as I love looking down microscopes at tiny slices of rock and freezing my fingers and toes off in the field, I always find time for my hobbies and exploring the beautiful city of Durham I get to call home!

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