"From the station it's a short walk to the building Bill Bryson described as 'the best cathedral on planet Earth'."

1. Crook Hall Gardens

Visit this medieval hall with its impressive Jacobean drawing room, nestled within four enchanting acres. During winter Crook Hall is only open on special days, for which booking is essential: Halloween (31 Oct-1 Nov; 3pm-dusk) when you can see the resident ghost and meet the Wicked Witch; Christmas (5-6 Dec, 12-13 Dec, 19-20 Dec; 1-4pm) when Father Christmas and his elves put on a 
magical treat.

www.crookhallgardens.co.uk

0191 384 8028

 

2. Oldfields Eating House

Stop for lunch at Oldfields Eating House. On the menu is a raft of traditional English dishes made with locally sourced produce. It has won Durham's Restaurant of the Year award for the past two years.

www.oldfieldsrestaurants.com, 0191 370 9595

 

3. Oriental Museum

Founded at the end of the Second World War, the Oriental Museum houses a fascinating collection of more than 30,000 individual pieces from Ancient Egypt, China, India, Japan and Central Asia. Originally created for students at the University's School of Oriental Studies, it is now a worthwhile attraction in its own right. In 2010, the museum celebrates its golden jubilee, and alongside events to mark this, it will host a special exhibition of highlights from its first 50 years.

www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum, 0191 334 5694. Take the 5/5A bus from the station

 

4. Durham Cathedral and Castle

From the station it's a short walk to the building Bill Bryson described as 'the best cathedral on planet Earth'. The magnificent Unesco-listed Cathedral and Castle perch atop a promontory overlooking Durham town centre. The Cathedral, which dates back to 1093, was built as a shrine to St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, and there is a display of his belongings that includes the ornate pectoral cross that once adorned his coffin. Don't miss a trip up the Tower!

www.durhamcathedral.co.uk, 0191 386 4266

 

5. Dalton Park Outlet Shopping

Why not head to Dalton Park, the north east's biggest outlet shopping centre, to pick up some early Christmas pressies? There are more than 60 outlet shops including Gap, M&S, Levi's, Joseph and Crabtree & Evelyn, where you can save up to 50 per cent off high-street prices. Santa's grotto opens on 7 November and there are regular brass band concerts in November and December.

www.dalton-park.co.uk, 0191 526 6500. Take the 65 bus from North Road, stop L.

 

6. Fallen Angel

If Durham's charms have seduced you into staying longer, consider this quirky city-centre hotel in a Grade II-listed Georgian town house. Its 10 very individual rooms include the garden-themed Le Jardin (left) and gothic Cruella.

www.fallenangelhotel.com, 0191 384 1037

 

WIN! A two-night stay at the Fallen Angel and a VIP Durham pass!

The stay includes dinner, bed and breakfast and the VIP Durham pass give you free access to more than 20 of the city's top tourist attractions. To enter and for full terms and conditions, visit tpexpress.co.uk/explorercomp

Closing date: 7 December 2009

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