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Victoria Hotel, Durham

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user reviews of the Victoria Hotel, Durham

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

This is a must visit pub if you are in Durham. Excellent choice of ales, friendly barman and a positive step back in time in this timeless tavern . As a previous posting suggested, having left here and tried other pubs in Durham you realise you have made a mistake. Only had one pint, Titanic, but unlike that ship , this will not be my sole trip here.

rubberdub - 6 Feb 2017 16:17
Old style unchanged town local. Worth a view although the Wylam Gold Tankard wasn't quite on top form.
Snarling_Mallard - 3 Nov 2015 16:00
Coniston Bluebird, York Minster and York Guzzler, The usual Big Lamp Bitter and Wylam Gold Tankard. All in first class condition as ever. Well worth the walk up from the town.
TonyMitch - 13 Mar 2015 20:57
A good unashamedly old fashioned pub. Beers well kept although they could do with more of a variety from local small breweries, or from further afield.
TonyMitch - 31 Jan 2014 17:54
I was in the Victoria over the weekend of The Ashes (9-12 Aug). The beer selection was all from north-east breweries and both the Big Lamp Bitter and the Wylam Gold Tankard were in tip-top condition. The staff were very friendly, the locals also welcoming. It's a small but clean and smart pub that is well worth the walk up the hill to get to.

We left to sample other pubs in Durham and each one we went to increased the realisation that we made a big mistake when we walked out off The Victoria.
PenfoldThePint - 16 Aug 2013 11:36
If you've only time to go to one pub in Durham, make sure it's the Victoria. A traditional back street pub serving hand pulled beers from local breweries (eg Big Lamp, Wylam). Wonderful unspoild Victorian interior. Also has letting bedrooms. It's about 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral.
arihall - 16 Aug 2013 08:55
Best pub visited in Durham. Packed early Wednesday evening. Quite old fashioned. Good local Durham ale on.
pwilkins - 9 Oct 2012 12:28
A recent lunchtime visit proved a bit disappointing, maybe it is better when crowded.

The barman (who didn't sound like a local) was affable and knowledgeable. The locals did not seem too welcoming to outsiders.

Choice of about 5 real ales. I had the Big Lamp Bitter at £3.20 which was not in the best nick.

The pub is on the Camra National Inventory of Historic Pubs and I have noticed it before when going to the nearby Durham Beer Festival. But overall I was rather disappointed - still a decent pub but maybe not up to expectations.
boblarkin - 30 Aug 2012 13:01
Excellent pub full of character and some interesting ales. Three on and the best was one from Durham brewery. Watch out for the afternoon closure. We were lucky in that they were open especially as we had come all the way from London by steam train.
Steamer1 - 19 Aug 2012 17:05
This was the best pub in Durham we stayed in the city for three nights and ended up here every night. The beer was very well kept and the atmosphere was great. It is an interesting pub with three rooms all different, we spent most of our time in the public bar enjoying banter with the locals all friendly. next time am in Durham will try to stay in its B&B
KentishScot - 13 May 2012 22:57
Resembling the Colpitts Hotel in terms of preserving a traditional feel and approach. Differences are as this is not a Sam Smiths outlet there are a greater range of ales which of course inevitably means a hike up in prices. I also found the atmosphere of the Colpitts a little more sociable, where as the regular drinkers of the Victoria showed much more in the way of reserve towards an unfamiliar face . However this is a good boozer with a pleasingly nostalgic interior and half a dozen pumps on display. Most of the points go for the quality of the beer which was quite excellent.
ILooklikeme - 8 Jan 2012 21:01
Lovely old place with very traditional interior including an interesting old cash register. Beer was good too. Was a bit quite when we were there a Thursday lunchtime) but friendly.
newbury_drinker - 29 Aug 2011 15:16
Lovely old pub, great beer served very well. On CAMRA's Heritage Pub list. Can get very busy, but it isn't hard to see why.
jjsint - 26 Jul 2011 12:14
Hexhamshire Devil's Elbow, Big Lamp Bitter, Maxim xxx, Wylam Gold Tankard with Westons Bounds Brand cider. Lovely looking pub interior, separate rooms and one bar. Worth a visit
GuideDogSaint - 12 Sep 2010 14:12
Superb old-fashioned and unspoilt local with interesting and original interior. The kind of place I began drinking in many moons ago. Friendly landlady, good selection of mainly local ales and I would imagine the place would be at its best on a weekend evening when I suppose it would be very busy. Unfortunately I visited not long after lunchtime opening - but it was still a good experience. A return visit is a cert.
Stamfordian - 20 Aug 2010 10:41
An absolute gem! Worth visiting Durham just to have a couple in here.
Beer is always perfect and the atmosphere couldn't be bettered.
But surely claytonwest meant William Morris wallpaper, rather than Blake?
Yellerbelly - 5 Jul 2010 19:22
A hidden treasure. A great selection of beers and a great welcome. The beers are well kept and reasonably priced. The atmosphere is good and is like going back to a time before I was born (in a good way)
dazzadurham - 7 Feb 2010 21:00
Not only splendid beers and over 30 Irish Whiskeys but also people who engage in conversation and Willism Blake wallpaper with matching curtains. Wonderful.
claytonwest - 25 Nov 2009 23:03
Excellent atmospheric Victorian town pub close to, but not in, the old City Centre which makes you feel you are stepping back into a better time. The reception was warm and friendly, range of beers varied and interesting and all (well, the three I had) were very well kept; the Big Lamp was particularly good (first time I'd tried it). The clientele was eclectic - a mix of locals and visitors -and of above average intelligence, and overall this was a great pub experience.

This must be an essential part of any City pub crawl and I'll definitely come back here next time I'm in Durham.
ETA - 18 Nov 2009 06:41
It's a great pub, my favourite in Durham. Lots of choices of top notch beer with Wylam, Durham, Hexamshire, Big Lamp and Hambleton Stud on in my last visit (I really miss living in the North, the beer in the south east is just so poor in comparison to proper Northern ale.) Friendly barmaid, decent mix of friendly locals and the type of student who appreciate good beer and how to behave in a public house.
thaymouse - 4 Nov 2009 23:48
Wonderful National Inventory pub, which had beers from Durham, Wylam, Hexhamshire and Big Lamp when we visited. Beer was excellent. A real gem! Note: it closes in the afternoon.
JBGatelad - 1 Sep 2009 07:39
Probably my favourite pub in Durham, walking through the door you can almost feel you are stepping through some time portal into the Victorian age. I like ti visit best in the winter, when there is a roaring fire and usually a couple of strong dark winter warmer ales on offer.
tommo1957 - 29 Jul 2009 11:31
Friendly victorian-style boozer up the hill in Durham; three seperate bars (Front, back and snug) around central bar area - ever changing, impeccably kept beers, principally from the north east (Mordue, Workie Ticket, Big Lamp). Closed between 3-6 in the afternoon, but well worth the wait for that early evening pint!
shortbirdy - 7 Jul 2009 14:08
Appropriately called the Victoria as there are plenty of photo's of the old lady all around the pub, and it doesn't look as though it's changed at all since. Not that that's a bad thing of course, it gives a place character.
Plenty of wood panelling, and a few doorbells in the rear bar to gain the attention of the bar staff. Why can't a few more pubs do that?
Good choice of beers on tap, plus Strongbow cider.
Blackthorn - 30 Jun 2009 14:59
Great victorian pub with all the little rooms preserved. The range of beers was good and well kept which was impressive as I was the only customer on a Wednesday lunch time.
wildnight - 26 May 2009 21:20
Excellent pub with a good array of ever changing guest beers, always well kept. A couple of quirky rooms with lots of interesting photo's/objects to look at and real fires. Conversation only in here. Don't expect this place to be open all day, check for their opening times before visiting.
ROBCamra - 9 Feb 2009 16:12
The sine qua non of Durham's pubs.
MeurglysIII - 6 Jan 2009 22:00
Best beer in town.
The bar is compartmentalized into 3 sections. Various paraphernalia re: Queen Vic, adors the walls, Toby jugs and look out for the herd of elephants. It gives the place charater, as do the locals - some playing dominoes, the odd mad ole lady supping halfs quicker than her old man can buy them and a whiskey selection to make Scotland jealous. Old stuff everywhere, but it's clean, tidy and has a real fire gently glowing away.

I feel sorry for the reviewer who described it as the "best breakfast ever", it's good, but they should really travel more.
If you do stay the night, beware, as it's on the main drag from the student union just down the road, to various accomodation halls. At various times throughout the night, yo will be woken by packs of drunk, singing students, staggering their ways back home - if only they put as much effort into studying as they do getting drunk, they could have got themselves into a good university!.

Well worth the high marks, and only a few mins walk out of the centre.
TW1 - 30 Oct 2008 20:37
If this pub is that great why can't someone post a picture of it?
GeorgeXXIII - 29 Oct 2008 23:25
Splendidly traditional pub with an unusual interconnecting three bar layout which comprises a popular front bar and 2 quieter "sitting rooms" - as per the etched windows.

The pub is adorned throughout with memorabilia of Queen Victoria - posters, paintings etc - which contribute towards a splendid old fashioned atmosphere.There is a piano in one of the sitting rooms.

As well as the 3 rooms, there is a screened "family department" for off-sales.

The pub is listed in CAMRA's National Inventory of Unspoilt Interiors.

On the ale front, the pub is a keen supporter of local micros - Big Lamp Bitter, Durham White Gem and Hadrian Pioneer were just 3 of the beers on offer during my mid-September visit.

There is no background music to disturb the peaceful tranquillity throughout the pub.

This is a "must-visit" pub - make no mistake.

Go there !
JohnBonser - 24 Sep 2008 13:39
Hard to add to the comments below really! An excellent pub and I wish I'd had time to spend longer here on my recent visit.
pipsby - 3 Sep 2008 09:35
A wonderful place in a beautiful city. I don't really see how anyone could find fault with this place.
Carlurmston - 19 Aug 2008 01:21
The Victoria is a small pub just out of the city centre, where it appears that little has changed, internally or externally, for a long time. The landlord keeps it in pristine condition, as he does his beers, and it is an exceptionally easy place in which to comfortably let an evening slip by. Opening times are traditional (no late opening, and it closes between lunch and the evening), which recently led me to spot two ale tourists waiting outside in the rain at 1755, and, whilst on the subject of traditions, dogs are allowed in.
As for the ales, Big Lamp Bitter and Five Bridges Bitter (from Big Lamp and Mordue, both of Newcastle) are the standards, with a variety of mostly north-eastern guests (Durham features heavily) making up the rest of the range. I've never yet had a bad pint of any.
I believe this is only the second pub I've awarded a 10/10 score too, but it fully deserves it.
pablos13 - 13 Aug 2008 15:48
Still one of the best Pubs in the country!

Excellent range of beer and whisky.

Friendly staff and locals, great accomodation and a world beating breakfast if you are staying.
Barbeera - 31 Jul 2008 15:03
I agree with all the positive sentiments posted before, if only to add that this pub is the best place in Durham to get a decent whisky after several decent beers. It is a lovely cosy place where time stands still.
teedubbs - 4 Jul 2008 21:38
I agree with everything said so far. I rate this one the best of all the pubs I did in Co. Durham this time around, not just Durham City. Enjoyed chatting to the lady behind the bar and some of the locals too. Wandered around to have a look at the decor of all the rooms, and it truly is a gem. Had some excellent real ales too from the North East breweries.
gillhalfpint - 30 Apr 2008 21:10
Wonderfully atmospheric warren of a pub, like stepping back in time 100 years. Half a dozen or so locally brewed ales to choose from.
Rich66 - 20 Aug 2007 00:20
Pub par excellence,beer par excellence.Mike Amos,of the Northern Echo named it as 'the best pub in tne north east' & he was dead right.
LEGTRAILER - 25 May 2007 20:38
best pub in durham bar none ........ never changed for years...no trouble ..great beer... dont miss this gem of a pub
davyt1892 - 19 Mar 2007 17:15
The Victoria is listed in the CAMRA National Inventory, and has been run by Michael since 1975. Apparently at the time, one of the old timers at the bar said that Michael would only last a fortnight – 32 years later he is still there! The pub is in multi-roomed format which is rare for Durham, and was described as my friend once as “like stepping on to the set of Goodnight Sweetheart”. The beer is usually of a very high standard, but the early 80’s Space Invaders machine isn’t there anymore.
fairport79 - 14 Feb 2007 22:50
What a magnificent pub. This timewarp building is listed in CAMRA's Inventory of Outstanding Pub Interiors and no wonder. Three characterful rooms and the tiniest snug you'll find. Oh,and the beers are excellent too!
Alerover - 10 Dec 2006 17:00
The Vic's always good - proper fires, real ale and whisky, and three cosy little rooms. Top notch! For God's sake don't drink the 'Prince Bishop' ale, because it's one of the most horrible pints I've ever had, and the rest of the people I was with concurred! The next pint I had was very nice though, and I won't hold one bad experience against one of Durham's nicest pubs.
woodyptom - 19 Oct 2006 13:23
great collectin of whisky - and whiskey - good range of ales, probably basically the same layout since it opened. Several separate rooms, which is a welcome novelty these days. Unspoilt beaut a bit of the twon circuuit, but a favourite on the proper beer circuit.
sobs - 21 Sep 2006 11:44
Faultless. Stayed there for a night recently, from the beer to the breakfast couldn't complain at anything.
darlofan - 17 Aug 2006 09:13
Finally got to visit the Victoria, after several recommendations.
It didn't disappoint, a very pleasant pub, where I enjoyed a great pint, in beautiful, surroundings.
While the greeting as I walked into the bar might have been walmer, I couldn't expect different being a stranger in a bar full of locals. However, after taking a seat the chatter and atmosphere soon returned.
Well worth a visit indeed. (when I was in they had a choice of four ales on, 3 fairly light summer beers, and a dark rich stout).
alistair_cross - 18 Jun 2006 14:19
Superb. A Real hidden gem in the gorgeous city of Durham. Still has all of it's original victorian tiles insode and outside of the pub and is rightly listed. Good selection of drinks and you would have to go some to beat their whisky collection.

10/10 for drinking.
alister - 30 Jan 2005 12:30
This pub is divided into three small rooms - each with a coal fire - which ensures a cosy experience on any winter evening.

The memorabilia from Queen Victoria's reign gives a unique feeling, which is completely different from most pubs these days. It is a grade 2 listed building.

There are usually at least 4 or 5 real ales available and behind the bar is a very impressive whisky collection.

If you're passing I'd recommend you pop in and give it a try.
unknownuser - 8 Dec 2004 18:14

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