A fabulous farm shop and cafe, just minutes from central Durham.
Witton Gilbert Durham DH7 6TR 0191 371 9697
Let's start with breakfast – it's brilliant, and it's just 6 miles and a 15-minute drive from Durham city centre. The farm coffee shop is open every day and we are talking saddleback pork sausages from their own butchery, free-range eggs, organic bread and local Durham dairy products. Bring the papers and get a spot near the wood-burner and you'll be glad you made the effort. Sunday lunch is pretty whizz too – their own beef, pork and lamb on the menu, naturally. Red-check gingham curtains, and plenty of pine and beechwood, set the tone in the cafe, because Broom House is basically a Famous-Five-style day out for children and adults alike. It's a working, organic livestock farm in the high country above Durham, and they've diversified to offer a family-friendly taste of the countryside to anyone prepared to leave the city lights. There's a butchery and farm shop, trails, play areas and picnic field, and all sorts of activities, including a forest adventure course that should keep everyone occupied for a while. We love the ethos – there's no calculation here, but muck in the farmyard, home-raised produce, handwritten signs, and a genuine desire to share their bit of the Durham countryside with visitors.
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Farm, shop and cafe free. Forest Adventure Trail, £4.50 per person (for anyone over 3), family ticket £16.
Take the A691 (Consett road) from Durham to the Witton Gilbert roundabout, then follow the brown signs for 2 miles up onto the hill – keep an eye out, the farm entrance is not as easy to spot as it could be.
Coffee shop daily 9am–5pm. Butchery and farm shop Mon–Sat 8am–5pm, Sun 10am–4.30pm. Forest Adventure Trail, weekends only 10.30am–4pm.