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Durham City World Heritage site

The Cathedral and Castle are located on a peninsula formed by a bend in the River Wear with steep river banks constituting a natural line of defence. The site is significant because of “the exceptional architecture demonstrating architectural innovation and the visual drama of the Cathedral and Castle on the peninsula, and for the associations with notions of romantic beauty in tangible form”.

Durham Cathedral is the largest and most perfect monument of ‘Norman’ style architecture in England. Behind the cathedral stands the castle, an ancient Norman fortress which was the residence of the prince-bishops of Durham.

Durham Cathedral is the oldest surviving building with a stone vaulted ceiling of such a large scale. Durham Cathedral is also valuable because its Norman architecture has survived largely intact whereas most others have been substantially altered.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Castle

The castle has been in continuous use and is now home to Durham university students.

Beamish Living Museum

Beamish is an open-air museum that try's to demonstrate how people lived during the period of the Industrial Revolution. The site contains a Victorian village and is filled with genuine artefacts from that period. Staff dress in costumes that match the period and many demonstrate skills and practices common around that time. You can stroll around the village, ride a tram, go down a mine, watch demonstrations, eat in the kitchen, visit the school, and have a great day out. (weather permitting!)

Hartlepools Maritime Experience

Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience is a superb re-creation of an 18th century seaport. that brings to life a seaport during the time of Nelson, Napoleon and the Battle of Trafalgar.

You will be able to experience how it was aboard a real British naval frigate, two centuries ago, explore the historic quay side, featuring 'Press ganged, ' Fighting Ships', realistic period shops and houses, talk to guides in authentic period dress and marvel at Britain's oldest warship afloat the HMS Trincomalee.

HM Bark Endeavour

The HM Bark Endeavour is a full-sized replica of Captain James Cook’s ship. The ship is berthed on the River Tees at Stockton-on-Tees near to the birthplace of Captain Cook.

Knowledgeable guides will give you an insight into life aboard a ship in the 18th century. Light meals and all alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages are available on the Orlop Deck. Full catering facilities are also available for sit down meals subject to prior booking.

Sedgefield Racecourse

Sedgefield Racecourse has a full program of race events throughout the year including boxing day. Why not enjoy a day at the races with a few friends?

Killhope Lead Mine

Killhope lead mine is a fully restored lead mine, where visitors can experience what it was like to be a 19th century lead miner. Your visit will take you on a guided tour down the mine wearing hard hats, cap lamps and wellingtons.

Prince Bishop River Cruiser

The Prince Bishop River Cruiser offers cruises with spectacular views of historic Durham City, Cathedral, Castle and Bridges and evening cruises with a difference twelve months of the year. The cruise takes approximately 1 hour and has full live commentary, light refreshments from the bar and a sun deck for warm days. The boat sails from Browns Boathouse, Elvet Bridge (next to the Prince Bishop Shopping Centre).

Bowes Museum

You pass through lots of countryside and country villages with small stone cottages to reach the Bowes Museum. When you arrive it is a surprise to see such a huge magnificent building that would easily blend in with the best in London.

One of museums unique features is an 200 year old silver animated swan that has been fully restored. The museum staff wind-up the clockwork swan twice daily for visitors. If you wish to see it, check the times on-line before setting off. The animation only lasts for about 30 seconds.

Beamish Wild Treetop Adventure

Set in the Treetops this High Ropes Course is about 2 hours of non-stop fun and challenges guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. The course has 4 zip-wires, rope bridges, swinging tires and you will be finishing off with the awesome Powerfan free-fall experience!

Tees Barrage International White Water Centre

If you are looking for something exciting to do then this is the place. The Tees Barrage International White Water Rafting course offers guaranteed white water. If you prefer something more tranquil why not try out Flat Water Canoeing, Bell Boating or Sailing? There are many different activities available on the course and also nearby. It is a great way to have fun, bond and work together as a team.

Places to visit in Durham

Cragside House

was considered the wonder of its age and is set in dramatic and varied gardens.

Raby Castle

can be found at Staindrop in County Durham. The castle is surrounded by a 200 acres deer park. A famous landmark, High Force, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in England, is situated on the Upper Teesdale Raby Estate, near Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

The Hall is an unfurnished architectural masterpiece inspired by the temples of ancient Greece, with its fabulous Pillars. Explore the great room of the ruined medieval castle and dont miss the stunning views from the top of the tower.

Barnard Castle Ruins

has great views over the Tees Gorge and is next to an attractive market town.

High Force Waterfall

is a waterfall on the River Tees, near Middleton-in-Teesdale. Access to the northern bank is via a private footpath for which a fee is charged. The southern bank can be reached free-of-charge via a public footpath.

Durham Heritage Coast

Locomotion - Railway museum Shildon

The National Railway Museums in York and Shildon is home to the UK's national rail collection. The collection includes over 100 locomotives and over 200 items of rolling stock.

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Head of Steam - Darlington Railway Museum

Enjoy a leisurely journey alongside the River Wear and through the beautiful Weardale countryside. The train travels through Weardale, Stanhope, Frosterley and Wolsingham.

Weardale Railway

Adventure Valley - Brasside, DH1 5SG

Kids' indoor and outdoor soft play areas, plus roller disco, crazy golf, farm animals and a cafe.


Diggerland is the UK’s most unique construction-themed adventure park where guests can drive, ride, and operate earth-moving machinery in a safe and family-friendly environment.

Things to do Durham

Find great things to do, the best Durham attractions, cheap family days out, romantic weekend breaks & fun things to do visiting Durham this weekend.