County Durham is located in the North-East of England, bordering Tyne and Wear, Cumbria, Northumbria and North Yorkshire. It’s my home County, where I’ve lived for my entire life – and it’s a great place to visit if you’re planning on visiting the UK this summer, or taking a summer staycation. With breath-taking scenery, vibrant culture and rich history, a trip to County Durham is well worth taking. Read on for my top 5 locations to visit if you’re planning a trip to England’s North-East!
There are a million different recommendations I could make for a visit to Durham. Durham is a cathedral city which is home to cobbled streets, a beautiful river, and a plethora of cafes, museums, independent businesses and the world-class Durham University. On an evening there are entertainment opportunities including the Gala Theatre. It’s Cathedral and Castle are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, giving breath-taking panoramic views of the city. You may also recognise the Cathedral from it’s use in many Hollywood Films including Avengers Endgame and the Harry Potter series! A visit to Durham City almost makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time – there’s really no other city like it.
Hamsterley Forest is a popular destination for locals and tourists. Covering over 2000 hectares, Hamsterley is County Durham’s largest forest and has 4 different walking routes, horse riding trails, cycling trails and a kids play area. There’s a café adjoined to the main car park too for all your refreshment needs! This is one of my favourite places to visit come rain or shine – in fact it’s almost more impressive after a fresh fall of rain!
Beamish Living History Museum
Beamish is a living museum, located in the beautiful County Durham countryside. With land covering 350 acres, this really is day out for all the family. With costumed actors at every corner, they bring to life the history of the North-East from the 1820s, 1910s and 1940s. Whether it’s visiting the dentist, the toy shop or the sweet shop (where you can see the sweet being made before your very eyes before you purchase them!) there’s something for everyone. And if you’re lucky you can head to the school and experience what school lessons used to be like! Tickets are valid for an entire year, so you really do get your money’s worth. For prices, opening times and more information, head over to the website.
A medieval Castle located in the small village of Staindrop, Raby has been the home of Lord Barnard’s family for almost 4 Centuries. With a deer park, walled gardens, playground, and café this really is an all round destination to visit. Staindrop’s cricket team plays in the grounds over the summer months, so you may even be able to watch a game if you’re lucky! For ticket prices and opening times, head over to their website.
Cow Green Reservoir
Located near Langdon Beck, Cow Green Reservoir is surrounded by some breath-taking views of the North Pennines. The Reservoir is famous for wild brown trout which makes it a popular place for many people who love to fish. And if fishing isn’t your thing, it’s still a great place to walk around and have a family picnic in the great outdoors.
Still need some more inspiration? Check out my guide to Barnard Castle, one of County Durham’s most popular market towns!
Getting to County Durham
- By Train – There are regular trains from London (which takes approximately 3 hours) and from Edinburgh (2 hours)
- By Plane – County Durham is situated close to both Newcastle Airport (just over an hour away) and Durham Tees Valley
- By Boat – the Port of Tyne is a popular Port which connects the North-East to mainland Europe, with daily ferries to Amsterdam.
- By Coach – County Durham is served by National Express, a UK coach company which covers the entirety of the UK.
Visited County Durham before? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to know which areas you loved!