An eight step guide on how to entertain your parents in Durham

We promise there’s more to Durham than doing laps around the Cathedral

It’s a fact of being a fresher that sooner or later, your parents will show up and you will have to entertain them for a few days.

You will soon discover that this is easier said than done.

Durham is tiny, sure it is beautiful, but it is so small that you will find yourself wracking your brains about what you can do with your parents. To help you out with this, here’s a cherry-picked list for freshers and returners alike of things to do in (and out of) Durham with your parents.

1. Evensong in the Catherdral

Want to impress your parents with how cultivated and mature you’ve become? Take them to evensong in the cathedral!

It is on every day (check online to find the times), last about 30-40 minutes, and are always beautiful. Sit back, let your parents listen to the angelic tunes of the choir, and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to generate active conversation for a little while.

Note: Make sure you get there at least ten minutes before the service starts as it fills up quickly.

2. Go for dinner at Capriccio’s

Desperate to show your parents how well you’ve settled in and that you’ve gotten to know your new hometown? Take them to this hidden gem of a restaurant.

Capriccio’s is an authentic Italian restaurant, with quality food and cheap prices. The staff are helpful and friendly, and the atmosphere is intimate and relaxed. It is easily one of the most affordable, non-commercial places to eat in Durham.

3. Go to Newcastle

Ten minutes on a train, and you’re there!

It’s the perfect day trip for when you just can’t do yet another scenic walk around Durham and converse pleasantly to save your life. Let your parents walk around Newcastle and see the sights, whilst you go to Urban Outfitters and knock yourself out shopping.

4. Explore the local coastline

Durham is fortunate enough to be very close to the coast, which presents the perfect idea for a day out with the parents. Explore Seaham (which is just 20 minutes by car), visit the lighthouse at the gorgeous and very photogenic Whitley Bay at sunset, or if you fancy a beach day, then Tynemouth is picturesque and has very clear water.

5. Take them to witness the crème de la crème of student theatre

There are countless student theatre productions on in Durham at all times. Why not grab the opportunity and take your parents to one to show them the best of Durham’s talent?

Beware though, many of the drama productions try to be very progressive and shocking, do your research and avoid spending two hourse watching a play laden with sexual innuendos and dark humour. Anything by Oscar Wilde or Shakespeare is always a safe bet.

6. Show them what your £9250 is paying for and take them to a lecture

You want your parents to feel proud of you, so why not take them with you to one of your lectures?

Preferably choose the most impressive, complicated lecture you have to make them realise how much you’ve grown academically (hint: you don’t need to tell them that you actually don’t understand anything either).

7. Go to Riverview Kitchen for brunch

For the days when you just can’t freeze in the Flat White queue for an hour, try something different and take them to the very parent-friendly Riverview instead.

The queues are generally shorter, it has a beautiful view of the river, and the pricing is very reasonable. Riverview has a great selection of teas and cakes, their house pickled cucumber is to die for, and they do the best chips in Durham (allegedly…). They have a full menu ranging from avocado on toast, to sausage baps, to burgers, but their pancakes at brunch are a must. Seriously scrummy.

8. Or, if all else fails just give them a map and send them on a long country walk

Lets be honest, you’re going to need a break from your parents no matter how much you love them.

Plan a nice scenic route for them to walk and send them on a hike that will take them at least three hours, so you can catch up on your sleep after the undoubted three Jimmy’s nights in a row. Include the Cathedral, Castle, Old Durham Gardens, a choice selection of the city’s most historic streets and you’re sorted.