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Durham CityStudent experienceUndergraduate

Winter in Durham

Durham, like much of the UK in winter, does get very cold and we usually get at least one heavy bout of snow which provides a day of entertainment – then a few days of arguing about when to put the heating on. However, winter in Durham can be a lot of fun and provides a lot of opportunities which just aren’t the same in summer term! Although there can be a few deadlines to get through, I’d definitely recommend taking some well-earned time off once a week to try and tick some of these off your bucket list…

1. When it snows, build a snowman!

Even if there isn’t too much snow, this is usually a pretty easy task, especially if you only make a miniature fellow. It also doesn’t take much time (unless your housemates are stealing your snowman’s body to make snowballs when you aren’t looking), so it’s the perfect quick blast in the cold before going inside to warm up with a hot drink. Especially as second and third year students, its really nice to walk up the street after a lecture and see the varying snow sculptures people have designed.

Even building a small snowman is great fun!

2. Celebrate Gal-entines

Valentines is overrated and has been done too many times, so get together with your mates (doesn’t have to be narrowed down to just ‘gals’) and have a nice fancy dinner or watch a movie with them. In my first year we went to Newcastle on a daytrip at the weekend for shopping, cocktails and snacks and had a great time!

3. Go to Cafedral for an award winning hot chocolate

I’ll be honest, Cafedral is nice all year round. But its especially nice in winter when the windows are steamy and the hot chocolate warms you up from the inside – I’d recommend taking a book and curling up into one of their armchairs amidst the seemingly all season garden there. And always get the cream and marshmallows.

4. Watch a sunrise at Observatory Hill

Although this is a tradition usually associated with summer ball, its actually a lot more achievable in winter when the sun rises late enough to get a full night’s sleep before the event. Go to bed early, make yourself a drink with plenty of caffeine in and when the morning comes, head to the hill on a forecast clear day for a beautiful wake up call. Bonus points if its snowy.

Sunrise at Observatory Hill

5. Go to a winter formal

If there’s one thing that can take the edge off a cold winter night, its trying desperately to decide on a funny group name for sign-ups, waiting to see if your group is accepted, planning your dress weeks in advance and being freezing but looking dressed up on the night for a formal meal with your friends. These differ from college to college but often have themes and entertainment, for example St Patrick’s Day formal or Half-Way (through the academic year) formal.

6. House meal!

Assign everyone a dish to make/buy and establish a time when everyone is free. Then fill up a dark night by having a huge meal which has cost barely anything, and getting to know the people you live with a little bit more. We usually finish our house meals with a few games.

I hope these suggestions have been helpful and those in Durham are looking forward to a new epiphany term. For those looking to come to Durham, I hope you’re excited by all the things there are waiting for you!

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Ruby Tomlinson

Hi, my name is Ruby, a final year English student at Van Mildert College. Whilst I'm in Durham I love 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. Feel free to get in touch over Unibuddy if you have any questions.  

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