In the far north east of England the county of Durham is blessed with a rugged coastline and the Pennine Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Take a trip to the city of Durham to visit Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral and enjoy the historic atmosphere.

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Durham Overview

Welcome to Durham

County Durham in the north east of England is bordered by Northumberland, Cumbria, Tyne & Wear and North Yorkshire, with the North Sea running along its coastline.

Durham has a population of around 900,000 people. The county town is the cathedral city of Durham with other large towns at Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees.

The landscape of Durham contains rugged coastal and the rural scenery of Durham Dales, The Vale of Durham, a large area of the North Pennines – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the River Tyne and the River Tees, together with pit villages and agricultural land.


During the Middle Ages Durham as a major ecclesiastical centre – of particular note is St. Cuthbert’s shrine in Durham Cathedral.

The history of Durham is a mixture of agricultural, industrial and mining heritage with an extensive coal mining industry in the county.

Today the tourism industry is important to Durham with thousands of visitors enjoying the scenery, history, culture and relaxing environment.

Places to Visit in Durham

Durham has a wide choice of great of days out for all the family. Durham’s position close to Scotland means there are a number of castles for visitors to choose from – Raby Castle is one of the most spectacular. The 14th century fortification overlooks a large lake, which was previously the moat but just watch out for the ghosts! Durham Castle stands high above the banks of the River Wear close to Durham Cathedral and is a spectacular sight – be sure to check out The Black Staircase between Bishop Pudsey’s building and the Great Hall. Other castles in the region include Bowes Castle and museum guarding the Stainmore Pass, the impressive Auckland Manor and Barnard Castle with views across the River Tees where you can take in the antique shops across its 16th century bridge.

One for the Durham bucket list is the city of Durham itself. Home to the spectacular Durham Cathedral – Harry Potter fans may well recognise some of the building and if you are feeling energetic there is a 66m climb where you will be rewarded with views across the city. Take in the nearby Durham Castle whilst you are there. Just outside Durham at Aykley Heads you can find the Durham Light Infantry Museum.

Other attractions in the county include the ruins of the 13th century Egglestone Abbey, Ankers House at Chester-le-Street and Tanfield where you can ride the world’s oldest working railway. The North of England Lead Mine at Killhope is an opportunity to go underground and see the mining history of the county. Beamish is the Living Museum of the North, set in 300 acres, where you can explore the heritage of the Industrial Revolution in the region.

Durham has a number of stately homes and magnificent gardens open to the public. Rokeby Park is an 18th century house surrounded by parkland with stables and an ice house. Visitors to Crook Hall and Gardens can enjoy a range of gardens including The Secret Walled Garden, Cathedral Garden, Shakespeare Garden and The Silver & White Garden.

There is plenty to do from a sporting perspective with Durham County Cricket Ground with its lovely setting, golf and the Durham Regatta attractions for visitors. Looking for some retail therapy? Then take a visit to Dalton Park, the region’s largest shopping centre or head to some of the market towns with their own charm and selection of local goods, art and crafts and food.

Durham’s famous names include former England football manager Sir Bobby Robson, Ashes winning cricketer Paul Collingwood, actress Denise Welch and record producer Tim Horn.

Durham has a large range of annual events including the Durham Regatta, Durham Brass Festival, Bishop Auckland Food Festival, the light festival of Lumiere, Kynren an open air spectacular and Durham Book Festival.

Durham’s famous food includes a range of tasty food such as the meat dish of Panackelty, Twelfth Cake, Epiphany Tart and Lammas Bread.

Want to find out more? Click here to our guide on things to do in Durham.

Getting There

Durham is readily accessible by road – the M1 runs through the middle of the county from north to south linking Durham to the national motorway network, whilst the A66 runs east to west.

The county is well served by train with London Kings Cross less than three hours way via the East Coast Main Line service.

Businesses in Durham

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What to see and do…

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The Gables Pod Camping

Three Lane Ends, Escomb, Durham, DL14 7SR.

Barnard Castle

Scar Top, Barnard Castle, Durham, DL12 8PR

Diggerland Durham

Diggerland Durham, Langley Park, Durham, DH7 9TT

Travelodge Durham

Travelodge Durham, Station Lane, Gilesgate, County Durham, DH1 1LJ