County Durham Travel Guide

Durham Cathedral - © Teach46

Overview and Attractions

The County Durham Travel Guide looks at visitor attractions, places of interest and entertainment and contains useful tourist information for travellers. The area guide features travel information on local transport and travel, entertainment, events, facts & figures, maps and accommodation.

County Durham is located in the North of England. The area was formerly part of the Northern Kingdom of Northumbria, the area around the border between England and Scotland.

County Durham was ruled by its Prince Bishops who contributed to the areas culture and history. The County has some of the best and most unspoilt landscape in the UK, the region is not always at the forefront of tourist’s thoughts when looking for a place to visit in the UK, but those that do visit will find plenty to see and do in the county.

The City of Durham has been given accredited as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This medieval city is regarded as having outstanding history and heritage of great importance not only nationally but internationally.

Durham city is easily navigated by foot; two of the main attractions are Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle that are extremely popular among visitors to the city. This charming city is a compact size, has retained its character and makes for a great place for visitors who like their history and heritage in particular.

The famous Durham University here has played a big role in the history of the city. Durham has gained a higher profile in the last few years with its own county cricket team and cricket stadium that stages international matches.

Stanley is situated a short distance from Durham city. This market town is close to Beamish, The North of England Open Air Museum.

Also close by is Tanfield Railway, the world's oldest existing railway, opened back in 1725. Close by to Tanfield Railway is Causey Arch, famous as the oldest single span railway bridge in the world, built back in 1725.

Sedgefield is a historic village founded in Norman times. It became an important coach centre in the early part of the 19th century, and flourished further by manufacturing agricultural items such as saddlery and straw hats.

The medieval Church is a well known complete with its tall tower. One of the main attractions in the village is the racecourse that is used for National Hunt racing. Hardwick Country Park provides a place to indulge in countryside leisure activities.

The District of Easington includes the areas from Sunderland to Hartlepool and within it is the coastline of County Durham, a stunning natural coastline that has much natural beauty for visitors to see. The limestone cliff tops contain a wide array of flora and fauna.

Castle Eden Dene is famed for its natural beauty and also being the home of the Angus Butterfly. Walkers can enjoy the coastline here as there are many good walks some of which are lead.

Easington has Anglo Saxon churches that date back to the development of Christianity in the region. Easington was famous for deep coal mining, but with these shutting down, has undergone a programme of regeneration. The old colliery villages are being given a second lease of life and offer a great place to stop for walkers and cyclists.

The Durham Dales are part of the North Pennine Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They consist of Tessdale and Weardale that offer some of the UK's finest scenery, boasting a mixture of waterfalls, river valleys, rugged upland, moors and meadows.

At High Force, the Tees falls dramatically over boulders for 70 feet to form England's largest waterfall. The remote high Pennies offer some spectacular views over the moorlands.

The market town of Stanhope is located in the Durham Dales; visitors can find visitor information at the Durham Dales Centre along with a choice of craft shops. The Weardale Railway, a heritage railway offering visitors scenic trips in the area.

The Bowes Museum located in the market town of Bernard Castle is an impressive sight, housed inside a 19th century French chateau visitors can view a number of renowned European collections in fine and decorative arts and ceramics.

The town of Darlington is located 20 miles south of the city of Durham. The town is well known for its historic association with the railways dating back to the 19th century.

This rich history is showcased at the Darlington Railway Museum located on the 1825 route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, famous for being the world's first steam worked public railway.

Other local attractions include South Park, a Victorian park that includes rock and rose gardens, a lake, cafes and play areas.

The Darlington Civic Centre is housed inside a historic Edwardian building, the theatre hosts a number of music, dance, opera and theatre programmes.

The Piercebridge Roman Fort & Bridge is located in the village of Piercebridge close to Darlington, part of the ruins have been excavated and are open to the public on the historic 11 acres site.

Hartlepool is located just under 20 miles from Durham. The coastal town includes a number of visitor attractions, a marina, beaches and scenic countryside.

Historically the town was well known for its shipbuilding and heavy industries, the subsequent de-industrialisation and close of heavy industries in the town resulted in the town facing very challenging times.

The town has benefited from a number of redevelopment and regeneration projects including the redevelopment of the docks area into the marina.

Local attractions include the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience; that recreates an 18th century seaport that includes the quayside, museum of Hartlepool and HMS Trincomalee warship.

The Heugh Gun Battery Museum, a restored 19th century coastal defence battery, Hartlepool Marina includes a number of shops, bars, restaurants, attractions, boats, water-sports facilities and hosts a number of events.

Shopping facilities include the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre in the town centre and a number of retail parks in Hartlepool Marina.

Chester-le-Street is a historic market town that dates back to Roman times, located 8 miles north of Durham. There are a number of outdoor street markets that take place each week, the town is also known for its scenic cricket ground home to Durham County Cricket Club.

Local attractions include the parish church of St Mary and St Cuthbert with over 900 years of history, it is a Grade I listed building and includes the Ankers House Museum that includes displays of Roman, Medieval and Saxon times.

Riverside Park includes a play area, ornamental gardens, events arena and is a popular place to enjoy a walk in scenic surroundings.

County Durham has plenty to offer visitors, whilst not being among the best known and recognised tourist areas; it is a great place for the discerning visitor who wishes to see the history, culture and natural beauty of the north England countryside.

The location in the north east of England means it can be used as a base in which to explore a number of areas in England of interest to tourists, from here you can easily explore Northumberland with Tyne and Wear, the Lake District is within reach as is neighbouring Yorkshire.

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