First baby-free weekend

Durham Travel Blog

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Cathedral

I needed a break. Clearly I love the baby more than life itself, but I hadn't had a night's unbroken sleep since I was 5 months pregnant and I wanted some cake I didn't have to hide from (or give in and share with) the whirlwind.  As I have a sensible husband who is more than capable of taking care of a 17 month old without my hovering over him, I decided I would have a night away. 

I have passed Durham many, many times on the train. About once every couple of months when I was in University, and twice a week when I was working in Newcastle.  Durham was within the right distance - two and a bit hours - and it's beautiful. I found a hotel with a pool and booked a night.

Usefully, the hotel had my room ready early and I could dump my bag when I got there just before lunchtime.

Sanctuary knocker on the cathedral door
 I found a little cafe up a back alley that served enormous quiche and a pavlova that was mostly made of cream. Then it was off to the cathedral, via a Waterstones because baby free book shopping is always a joy. 

Durham cathedral is fantastic.  It is a very early cathedral for the UK - built immediately following the Norman Conquest.  The architecture is deliberately imposing - the rulers worked out very quickly it was almost impossible to suppress the North by force but you could absolutely threaten them with hell if they didn't behave. of course the cathedral doesn't say that. it talks a lot about Saint Oswald, who was a shephard who had a vision of god and lived a holy life.  Then he died, and in an effort to save his body from Vikings, his followers moved his body.

Magic cow
 Then the body miraculously stopped moving until they found a magic cow who led them to Durham peninsula.  Early medieval Britain was a weird place. 

Anyway, the cathedral is very beautiful and has some gorgeous art, and a very strict no photos inside policy. So you will have to google for the Pieta, which is beautiful, and the stunning transubstantiation window.  THere's also a modern Grayson Perry tapestry and many ancient crosses in the cathedral museum, some surviving cloisters, and the Gallilee chapel which looks a little like the Mezquita in Cordoba, and as a later addition to the cathedral may have been inspired by it. 

After that, i went for a walk around the city and admired the georgian architecture, and then found my way to the market.

Hotel room
 The market is gorgeous.  It is a rare, thriving, genuine market.  Most markets I go to are all artisanal hogweed chutney and small batch gin (I am not making either of those things up, either) - Durham is like markets I knew growing up, with a decent cafe overlooking card shops, haberdashers, tobaconists and butchers.  They served a fantastic hot chocolate - tea rooms became something of a theme this weekend! 

Then I wandered back to the hotel for some fish and chips. I would normally eat out, but I was keen to spend as much time in the hot tub (which was really too cold but there was a good sauna) and then bed as possible.

bensonryan says:
Congrats on your feature
Posted on: Mar 30, 2017
HORSCHECK says:
Congrats on your featured blog. Well done well deserved (the feature and the baby free weekend ;-).
Posted on: Mar 30, 2017
sarahelaine says:
Very much for both!
Posted on: Mar 15, 2017
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Cathedral
Cathedral
Sanctuary knocker on the cathedral…
Sanctuary knocker on the cathedra…
Magic cow
Magic cow
Hotel room
Hotel room
Street near the cathedral
Street near the cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Castle
Castle
Cathedral close
Cathedral close
Cathedral
Cathedral
Garden behind the cathedral
Garden behind the cathedral
Spring
Spring
The museum was closed, but this lo…
The museum was closed, but this l…
Cafe I ate in
Cafe I ate in
Market square
Market square
Market
Market
View from the market cafe
View from the market cafe
Durham Sights & Attractions review
Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral is a stunning cathedral in the North East of England, and an impressive display of both secular and sacred power, carved into stone. … read entire review
Durham Hotels & Accommodations review
Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County
I stayed here for one night during a mini-break to explore Durham. It is a very nice place to stay. The location is good, right on the outskirts … read entire review
Durham
photo by: sarahelaine