Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Beauty of Staying Close to Home with Radisson Blu - Durham

I've started working on a little project with Radisson Blue Hotels, whereby I discover beauty a little bit closer to home. You hear people talk about 'staycations' but if I am honest, I always had some sort of blasé approach in which I just assumed it was all caravanning or camping or giving Wales or Scotland a visit at some distant relatives house as opposed to actually seeing it as a proper getaway. 

We have London, but do we really think long and hard about where else we could be seeing, without the hefty price of a plane ticket? We have such a vast transport network in the UK, that we can get pretty much anywhere and everywhere we want to. 

I went and spent a couple of days in Durham. (Have a look at the gorgeous hotel here!) Somewhere, if I am honest, I had never really particularly thought about going to spend a few days (sorry anyone from Durham). Not for any reason, its just not somewhere I have ever seen as a mini break destination. Boy was I wrong. 

I love the idea of exploring new places, so why not do this at home? Its closer right? I chose to drive down, albeit alone, it wasn't that bad. It was about a 2 and a half hour drive for me from where I live. I arrived at Radisson Blu later on in the afternoon about 4/5pm and went straight to the spa. I haven't actually had a relaxing spa visit for as long as I can remember, its not normally something I take advantage of in hotels. I definitely will be from now on. I had a facial, again something I have never actually had done (a huge regret, my skin felt amazing afterwards!). 

As it was late when I arrived, I figured I only wanted to have my dinner in the restaurant (the quality of the restaurant really took me by surprise, I have had some hotel restaurant disasters but this was really on another level. I felt like I was actually in a restaurant.). I took myself to the local cinema that was in a theatre, a really gorgeous little local cinema to watch Beauty and The Beast, again... I will shout from the rooftops that there is no shame in going to the cinema alone because in my opinion its THE most antisocial activity you can do with anyone. 

I woke up from a damn comfy sleep in my hotel room, got room service breakfast and ate it on the bed in my hotel bathrobe. If you don't do all these things while in a hotel, are you really staying in the hotel???? It was such a lovely day, I don't think I could have picked a sunnier day to walk around and explore. 

I was taken aback by Durham, honestly. It was not what I expected. Its beautiful. If you're a fan of pretty buildings and gorgeous architecture, cute streets, coffee shops and a gorgeous riverside walk, then Durham is for you. It was a Saturday and there was a gorgeous little market square full of stalls selling unique pieces galore. Vintage stalls selling clothes at the prices vintage clothes should be, non of this overpriced 'reclaimed vintage' bulls*t. Just lovely linen covered stalls with gorgeous trinkets and one off pieces, there is something irresistible about local markets. 

I took time to walk, as I always do. I snapped as I went, enrapturing the beauty that surprised me around every corner. I walked along the river for a while, and sat and just watched for a good hour. I watched the walkers, I watched the water, and I watched the families enjoying the sunshine. Its strangely comforting watching other people looking really happy. I guess, as Britons, how can we not be happy when we get a glimpse of sunshine?

Durham was not somewhere I would have thought to come away for a little escape, but thats exactly what it ended up being. If you have ever been to Chester, it was a little bit like that but with more open space and greenery. There is a gorgeous cathedral and subsequent walls, gorgeous water and gorgeous green. There was such a lovely bustle to the place, and it was definitely livelier at night if that would be something you would want. It seems to have it all. Also being not too far away from Newcastle means if you were staying for any longer then you could trip out.

I'm going to be hopefully showing you some more gems of the UK and what they really have to offer. I think sometimes we are so obsessed with the idea of going away abroad that we forget the variety that we have ourselves back home. Everyone loves some sunshine or some snow, but for a weekend away why not look to home for inspiration? I am hoping to bring you some of that inspiration. 
I hope you enjoyed this little insight, thank you to Radisson for sending me away for a little 'stylecation'. 


H x



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