DURHAM CITY & COUNTY

Durham

A county of contrasts and a city of imagination at the core

Few counties in England can offer such a variety of landscape and history as can be found in County Durham. it is the heart of the North East region and has a distinctive identity.

Undisputedly, Durham City is “the jewel in the crown” with a World Heritage Site at its heart which holds within its boundaries two of the most famous and magnificent buildings in Europe:  the wonderful Durham Cathedral and its sister building standing opposite – Durham Castle former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham and now home to students of Durham University.    For a sense of place, for sensory delights and for good stories told well join a Blue Badge Guide on a guided walk to explore its ancient streets, medieval bridges and pleasant riverside walks.

But County Durham can boast town, country and sea shore.  

Groups and independent travellers alike will enjoy a day at the seaside exploring the Durham Heritage Coast with its dramatic cliffs of Magnesium Limestone grassland.    Find out what a dene is, explore the area’s maritime and industrial heritage and travel across millions of years of geological time in the company of your Blue Badge Guide.  Ice cream, anyone?

North East England: Durham
Durham

By contrast, the high Pennine moorland in the west side of the County offers those all-important majestic scenic views from the coach window.    Weardale, Teesdale and the Derwent valley offer up their stories of lead miners, Methodism, farming communities, protected landscape and even the odd literary and artistic connection or two. All accompanied by the seasonal soundtrack of the haunting calls of upland birds. Tell us where your interests lie and we will plan an itinerary showcasing all that is good in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Be mesmerised by the power of the River Tees as it cascades over High Force Waterfall or astonished by the collection of European art, textiles and ceramics at The Bowes Museum located in the quaint market town of Barnard Castle. Outside and inside this is a building of beauty.

North Pennines
North Pennines

And don’t forget Bishop Auckland.    The town is now at the centre of exciting and transformative tourism developments which make it a key player in our regional story.     Auckland Palace was the former country residence of the Prince Bishops of Durham and the recent comprehensive restoration and refurbishment of its State rooms is simply stunning.   Stroll across the historic Market Place to visit the intriguing art collection at the Spanish Art Gallery before exploring the dark underworld of Durham’s industrial legacy through the works of locally celebrated artists on show in the Mining Art Gallery.   

Durham: Barnard Castle
Durham: Barnard Castle

Leave sufficient time to spend a day at Beamish Museum and immersive yourself in the industrial and social heritage of our region.      

Your Blue Badge Guide will set the scene by describing what there is to discover across this multi-award winning site.  Watch old fashioned confectionary being made by hand or pop into The Town’s pub to taste its finest brew.   

In the Pit Village venture underground into the drift mine to learn of the life of the region’s coalminers.    And round off the day with a step into the Museum’s 1950s village where rock n’ roll music and blue formica table tops create instant memories.

Durham Industrial Legacy
Durham Industrial Legacy

Blue Badge Guides can help you discover our fascinating and nationally important railway heritage too.  We love the National Railway Museum Locomotion at Shildon with its extensive exhibits and links to two of the nation’s most important 19th century railway engineers:  George Stephenson and Timothy Hackworth.