Play Hard

8 alternative things to do in Durham for couples

Need a lil romantic inspo? We’ve got some of the quirkiest date ideas Durham has ever seen…

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 09.09.2023

Teesdale Alpacas

Under Kilmond Barn, Boldron, Barnard Castle DL12 9SP

Fun and cuteness – it’s what most relationships thrive upon, right?

So, when you’re considering the date ideas Durham offers, one that captures both in abundance should be pretty high up on the list, right?

Enter alpaca treks.

Teesdale Alpacas is a working farm and breeder that offers alpaca walks and visits up until November. For an hour and a half, you and boo can take in some of the most beautiful scenery in the region on a leisurely walk, whilst looking after these little critters who, it must be said, have oodles of personality and love a cuddle.

Alpaca walks from £25.00 per person

Farm visits from £15.00 per person 


Valhalla North Axe Throwing

11 Cumbie Way, Newton Aycliffe DL5 6YA

It’s not the most conventional, but we’re firm believers that every successful relationship needs an outlet for frustration each person feels from time to time.

And, ideally, it’s not the other person.

Which is why axe throwing could well be one of the most healthy things to do in Durham for couples.

Simply picture whatever it is that’s really stressing you out about your partner, squint a little and hurl a really sharp object full-pelt at it. It’s bound to make you feel better.

You both let off a little steam whilst having fun together, and no-one hurts anyone else’s feelings. It’s a win-win-win.

From £22.00 per person


Escape Rooms Durham

41-42 Saddler Street, Durham DH1 3NU

Lumley Castle, Ropery Lane, Chester-le-Street, Durham DH3 4NX

Take your crush to an escape room on a date and who knows? They may just find the key to unlock your heart.

Cheesy clichés aside, escape rooms are among the more fun things to do in Durham for couples. For one, you’ll always have something to talk about – where you left that note, what those jumbled up letters could mean, how anything actually makes sense.

For another, teamwork could well make the dream work and accomplishing such a challenge together (however trivial it sounds, these things matter when you’re in there, guys) could very possibly bring you closer.

Escape Rooms Durham is a small, independent company, which means their puzzles are entirely unique – so even if bae’s done one before, they’re still in for a new challenge. They’re also hosts of the only escape room in the UK that’s inside a real, 600-year-old castle. Which, let’s be honest, is pretty cool.

All rooms are £56.00


Durham Ghost Walk

Durham Market Place, Durham DH1 3NJ

We’d definitely check that your date is a fan of horrors before embarking on this creepy caper around the city after dark.

But if you both love your late-night frights, then a Durham Ghost Walk is a sure-fire hit.

Run by the Durham Paranormal Research Group – a not-for-profit first formed to investigate some unpleasant poltergeist reports in the outskirts of the city – these after-hours tours will uncover just some of the horrid history Durham is founded upon that you never learned in school.

Unlike other ghost tours, there are no actors dressed up intending to scare you here. You’ll be using state-of-the-art ghost hunting equipment and any paranormal activity you experience on these tours will be real, making them amongst the most unusual things to do in Durham for couples.

And there are plenty to choose from – including the popular ‘Pubs & Prisons’ walk and a bawdy adult trek through the sexier parts of town. And, if nothing else, it’s a good excuse to hold hands.

Besides, who knows what you’ll find out there? After all, we are going into spooky season…


I Daniel Blake Gala Theatre Durham

Gala Theatre

1 Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA

Heading to the local cinema among your more standard date ideas Durham and indeed UK-wide; share some popcorn, bag seats in the back row and snuggle on up together in the dark with the latest movie.

But it’s far less often we get swept away to the theatre by our SO.

And, really, there’s no reason why. Sure, if there’s something you really want to see then you’re always going to want to bag tickets but shows at Durham’s Gala Theatre can come in at as little as £10 and may well surprise you – as well as providing a great conversation starter for dinner after.

Upcoming shows we’re most looking forward to right now are I, Daniel Blake (not the most romantic, we know), stand up Bridget Christie and the screening of A Little Life, starring James Norton.


Sky-High Skydiving

The Airfield, Shotton, Shotton Colliery, Durham DH6 2NH

Ok, this one’s only for the adventurers. But if you’re serious about making some epic memories with your SO, then sky-diving ticks all the boxes.

Especially when you do it over County Durham. We mean, seriously – can you just imagine the views you’d get to witness 15,000 feet in the air, as well as the rush of adrenaline?

At Sky-High Skydiving, you can rest easy knowing you’re using state-of-the-art equipment (that includes the plane) and will be accompanied by one of Sky-High’s experienced instructors every, erm, cloud of the way – from soaring heights to gentle landings.

Whether you’re a daring first-timer or an experience thrill-seeker, skydiving really can be one of the most unforgettable things to do in Durham for couples. 

Book jumps from around £275.00 



Old Cinema Launderette

38 Marshall Terrace, Durham DH1 2HX

The Old Cinema Launderette is one of the city’s charming local gems – making it among the top date ideas Durham offers if you’re just looking for something a little different.

A working launderette/café-bar hybrid, it’s the epitome of a quirky day date destination that can spill into the evening.

Having recently undergone a retro-chic transformation, the Launderette pays homage to the building’s cinematic history with its décor, with vintage memorabilia taking patrons back to the romantic heyday of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The Launderette frequently hosts themed events – most recently Tipsy Artist classes, for example – but even if you and boo just pop in for a drink, cappuccinos and craft beer, fancy gins and flat whites will all quench your thirst and keep the conversation flowing from dawn to dusk.

You can even do your washing, while you’re there.


High Force Waterfall

Alston Road, Forest-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle DL12 0XH

There’s something so refreshing about getting outdoors: leaving all the commitments and household chores behind and reconnecting as a couple.

Nestled within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of a Global Geopark, a walk through High Force Waterfall and the stunning landscape that surrounds it promises one of the most rejuvenating things to do in Durham for couples.

The Waterfall itself is one of the most impressive in England – the River Tees plunging 21 metres over a daring precipice into the gorge – whilst its surroundings are blissful. Think open moors, flower-rich hay meadows, intimate woodland, ancient settlements, tumbling rivers, curious wildlife, a fascinating cultural heritage, and home to some of the rarest flora and fauna in the UK.

All this, under some of the darkest night skies in Europe, (so, if you want to make a night of it, it may be worth booking up at High Force Hotel).

Other stories by Becky Hardy
Cantina Newcastle

Your guide to Newcastle Restaurant Week 2024

Becky Hardy

The North East’s best Dry January approved nights out

Becky Hardy
Newcastle events

5 things to do in Newcastle this weekend

Becky Hardy

3 impressive staycations that have a Saltburn vibe

Becky Hardy
North East events

What’s on in the North East this January

Becky Hardy

January’s coolest gigs in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham

Becky Hardy