Chester Burn Viaduct

Chester Burn viaduct, Chester-le-Street

There are undoubtedly some stunning sights that you can enjoy from a train on the East Coast Main Line that runs all the way between London and Edinburgh. In County Durham alone, those sights include the elaborate-looking railway station in Darlington, the beautiful Durham Cathedral, and much of Chester-le-Street from the railway viaduct known as Chester Burn viaduct.

The viaduct’s amazing length – spanning a total of 750 feet – and height of 90 feet afford train passengers plenty of opportunity to see Chester-le-Street’s amenities, including the town’s Tesco superstore. However, the viaduct – a Grade II listed structure – is also worthy of admiration for its own appearance, which is perhaps best appreciated from the ground of Chester Burn.

This viaduct was built in the 1860s and opened in 1868, accepting freight trains on 2nd March and passengers on 1st December. To this day, the structure still consists of its original stone and bricks, including red engineering bricks, although the western part has been somewhat resurfaced. The listing does not apply to railings and refuges added after the original construction.

At the time of that construction, Chester Burn was a bustling place with both residential and industrial buildings. These days, the same area is perhaps best known for its market, which takes place every Saturday, and the previously mentioned Tesco superstore. So, it’s still a busy area, although not quite in the same way as local residents during the late 19th century would have known.

The Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe

If you’ve ever prepared to catch a train at the lovely little town of Eaglescliffe, you might have considered waiting for your train at… The Waiting Room. There’s a very good reason why we have capitalised those words: they form the name of an award-winning vegetarian restaurant that is not only conveniently close to the railway station, but also enticing in its culinary offerings.

Upon walking into the restaurant for the first time, you could be struck by its friendly and bohemian feel – whether you favour eating in the airy and elegant front room or more vivid conservatory back room. However, to use a fitting pun, the proof of the pudding is in the eating; the restaurant regularly serves up succulent dishes comprising slow cooked vegetables and organic dairy. The food can go down well with the offered beverages, which include all-organic wines and beers.

There have already been plenty of plaudits for The Waiting Room. This eatery has been, in numerous recent years, a runner-up in The Observer’s Best UK Restaurant category, while the Vegetarian Society has handed its “Best Restaurant in The UK” accolade to this dining spot. The BBC Good Food magazine has hailed The Waiting Room “a wonderful little restaurant selling great food”.

One of our own favourite aspects of The Waiting Room is the live music and arts events it regularly hosts in its back room on Sunday evenings. Big name comedians who have played this venue include John Bishop, Stewart Lee, Josie Long and Viz co-founder Simon Donald – yes, really!

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