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Best hotels in County Durham 2023

Best hotels in County Durham 2023

There’s far more to Durham than its namesake city – historic and photogenic though it is. Just three hours by train from London, the small but perfectly formed county in North East England has a beautiful, bracing coastline, alongside miles of soft, green hinterland and heather moorland. With walking and cycling trails that criss-cross the county and views that stretch for miles, Country Durham’s great outdoors are ripe for exploring, whether on two feet or two wheels.

But there’s more than breathtaking countryside and coast on offer. You’ll discover picture-postcard market towns scattered among the Dales, boasting indie shops, cute tea rooms and cosy pubs. You certainly won’t be stuck for finding a warming drink and delicious food on your doorstep.

If you’re after more of a cultural city break, historic Durham itself oozes charm. Kick off with a visit to its famous cathedral and castle before taking a tour of the museums, botanical gardens, and a host of other cultural attractions. Travelling with kids in tow? They may just recognise some cinematic backdrops used in films such as Harry Potter, Avengers: Endgame as well as TV-hit Downton Abbey.

As for where to stay, nowhere is very far from anywhere else in this county, so you can take your pick from a mix of city and country pads. While the city, unsurprisingly, has the buzzier places, first-timers might be surprised by the clutch of swanky country house hotels – often bubbling with spas. There are also smartened-up inns that nicely balance a traditional locals’ bar with cosseting bedrooms. Here’s our pick of the best hotels to call home during your County Durham break.

Neighbourhood: Durham city

This magnificent hotel will fulfil your Victorian dreams

(Hotel Indigo)

In the city’s former County Council offices, this is a clever repurposing of a Victorian red-brick and stone building that bursts with civic pride, from its marbled staircase to its domed tower. Although part of a chain, Hotel Indigo aims to give each hotel a “neighbourhood feel”, hence you’ll find lots of nods to academia (Durham is one of England’s oldest universities) and the city’s cathedral.

The 83 rather masculine bedrooms – spread across a warren of floors and corridors – are lightly themed, perhaps featuring a tie-striped rug or ecclesiastical-style chair. The restaurant – in…

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