The Durham Miners' Gala is taking place on Saturday 9th July, so we decided to put together a little list of tips to make your Gala experience even better!
1). Looking for accommodation in Durham on Gala day but can't find one in the city centre? Try contacting Durham University. The Gala takes place outside of term time so University Halls of Residence are booked out to paying customers when not occupied by students. There are several large Halls in the city centre near the Cathedral and several more just outside of Durham city.
2). Trying to beat the crowds to the Racecourse? You can take the less crowded back route across Kings Gate Bridge past the Student Union and then past Durham Crown Court to get you past the crowds and straight onto the field.
3). Looking for cash but can't be bothered to walk back to the Market place? There are two free cash machines a five minute walk from the Racecourse, just opposite the Students' Union.
4). The Durham Miners' Gala has many traditions and one must see is the blessing of new banners that takes place at Durham Cathedral in the afternoon, this is followed by a service of thanks.
5). If you are into the history of some of the banners (like us nerds at Friends) some interesting ones to look out for are the famous ''Red Banners'' such as Chopwell and Follonsby, first unfurled in the 1920s, which feature revolutionary figures such as Karl Marx, Lenin and James Connolly.
6). Over the years the Gala has attracted a few celebrities. In recent years, famous faces such as local actor Alun Armstrong, Ricky Tomlinson (Jim Royle from The Royle Family) and Turner prize winning artist and Have I Got News for You panelist, Grayson Perry have joined in the fun. So have your autograph book at the ready and your selfie stick on standby!
7). Finally, if you love the Gala as much as we do at Friends, get yourself a Marras Card by making a regular contribution to the Durham Miners' Gala - its a great way of making sure the Gala keeps going well into the future.