Top Durham University societies for travel enthusiasts

The opportunities for travel for a full-time student at Durham University can often feel quite limited – the constraints of budget, study commitments, and general busyness of term mean that international travel is probably not on the to-do list one week into term.


However, students should not feel that travel is an impossibility! Indeed, the variety of societies on offer at Durham offer plenty of travel opportunities both around Durham and across the country. These provide the chance to break up the monotony of student life while meeting new and interesting people.


So, whether you’re an international student looking to explore more of the country, or a UK student who just wants a break from Durham city, here are some Durham University societies that will satisfy your travelling urge!


  1. The Durham University Hill Walking Society:


Durham’s Hill Walking Society is one of the university’s largest societies for good reason! Explore the beautiful landscapes of Northern England and Scotland through the society’s weekly day trips, termly weekends away, and post-exam week away in the summer.


Make new friends while enjoying the British outdoors and taking up the opportunity to learn new skills, such as map-reading and first aid.


Upcoming trips include a trip to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday the 8th of October. Among its local attractions are Malham Cove, a huge curving limestone rock, well-known as a beauty spot, rock-climbing attraction, and filming-site in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.


Other trips include the weekend away to the Arrochar Alps in the Scottish Highlands from Friday the 28th to Monday the 31st of October – enjoy wild camping with equipment provided by the society! While spaces on this trip are limited, it is certainly worth taking a look.


For more information on upcoming trips, access the society’s calendar here and its Facebook page here.


  1. The Durham Natural History Society


Durham’s Natural History Society aims to appreciate the beauty of the natural environment while seeking to explore solutions to the current ecological crisis.


While opportunity for travel is more restricted than in the Hill Walking Society, the society provides exciting opportunities to explore parts of the local environment that a student may not otherwise visit.


The society runs weekly Sunday walks to areas such as the Flass Vale Nature Reserve, Butterby woods, and the Botanic gardens. This presents the perfect opportunity to explore local wildlife with like-minded individuals while engaging in ‘travel’ much closer to home.


Events from last year included a Bat Trek and ‘Foraging Forays’ – find out more from the society’s Facebook page.


  1. Durham University Speleological Association (DUSA)


This society, with its tongue twister of a name, is dedicated to caving and mine exploration, making use of the beautiful sites to explore across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and beyond. Day trips occur on Wednesday afternoons and weekends, with longer trips during the holidays.


The DUSA is open to all, including those with no previous caving experience – training and equipment is provided. The society’s Facebook page emphasizes that it is not dedicated solely to caving – the society is also home to enthusiastic walkers, climbers, and mountaineers.


Upcoming trips include Crackpot Cave in the North Riding of Yorkshire on Saturday the 15th of October, and Notts II Pott in Lancashire on Sunday the 16th of October.


Weekly socials occur every Tuesday from 9pm at the Victorian Inn – so, if you’re interested, this is the perfect time to go along and meet some of the society’s members!


  1. The Durham University Conservation Society


Like the Natural History Society, Durham’s Conservation Society is dedicated to the preservation of local biodiversity, taking frequent trips to the Botanic Garden and Wharton Park.


The society engages in important volunteering work, such as beach cleans, tree planting, and removing invasive plant species.


If the chance to see more of Durham’s natural surroundings while providing a valuable contribution to the local environment appeals to you, then check out the society’s Facebook page for more information!


  1. The Durham University Gliding Society


If you fancy seeing the Yorkshire Moors from an altogether different vantage point, Durham’s Gliding Society could be for you!

The society collaborates with the Yorkshire Gliding Club at Sutton Bank Airfield to provide training to students, including total beginners as well as the experienced.


While soaring through the Yorkshire air at 3000 feet may sound intimidating, it is bound to give your mind something else to focus on other than university studies!


If this sounds of interest to you, pop the society a message at for first-hand information.


There are many more Durham societies available for those wanting to travel across the UK or just to take a break from studies – make sure to check out the Durham SU website for the full list.


Image: Clive Varley on Flickr


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