Top 10 things to do in County Durham


May 15, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Top 10 Things to Do


A city with World Heritage status, beautiful dales emerging from the last wildness in England and iconic sculpture and architecture, there’s so much to see and do whilst staying at one of the many cottages in Durham.

There is a good selection of cottages across County Durham. Cottages4You have over 70 Durham cottages. Hoseasons have over 30 holiday cottages in Durham and English Country Cottages have over 20. Sykes Cottages have a few cottages in Durham and you will have to search under Yorkshire Dales – North.

1. Feel the force at Cauldron Snout and High Force
The northern Pennines are often referred to as the last wilderness in England. This bleak and foreboding landscape is the source of some of the mighty rivers of England; the Tyne, the Wear and the Tees. In upper Teesdale where the river cuts through the fells is Cauldron Snout, reckoned to be the longest waterfall in England, only to cascade a few miles later over the aptly named High Force.

2. Marvel at Britain’s largest sculpture
The Angel of the North is Britain’s largest sculpture and has become a modern symbol of the regeneration of North East England. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the abandoned coal mine it is sited on, it weighs 200 tons, is 20 metres high and has a 54 metres wing span. It’s rich reddish brown colour is due to weathering of the steel it is constructed from.

3. Gaze in awe at Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral (pictured) is a most impressive building which, together with the nearby castle, has been a World Heritage site since 1987. Thought by many to be the finest example of Norman church architecture in England, the cathedral dominates the old city on a rocky peninsula where the River Wear almost doubles back on itself.

4. Go back in time at Beamish
Beamish is a world famous open-air museum. Known as The Living Museum of the North it vividly recreates life in North East England in the early 1800s and 1900s with a huge range of attractions for everyone to enjoy. Stroll around the shops and houses of the Edwardian town, take a trip down a real drift mine in the Pit Village, and visit the miners’ cottages, village school as well as the Georgian manor house. With guides in authentic period costume and trams serving different parts of the site it is careful to avoid a romanticised view of the past.

5. Head down the mine at Killhope
Discover what life was like underground at Killhope Lead Mine during the Victorian era. Situated in the heart of the Northern Pennines, a huge water wheel dominates the award-winning site at the head of Weardale.

6. Get down to the waterfront
The River Tyne waterfront has seen a renaissance in the last few years. The Quayside is awash with vibrant restaurants, bars and cafes as well as the Millennium Bridge. This award-winning structure is often referred to as the ‘Winking Eye’ due to its shape and the movement it makes when opening to allow ships to pass through. Don’t miss the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art across the river in Gateshead, a free gallery with great changing exhibitions.

7. Cycle part of the classic C2C route
The Coast to Coast, or Sea to Sea, Cycle Route is one of Britain’s most popular long-distance cycle route crossing the Lakeland fells and the Northern Pennines. The last leg from Consett is an easy ride on a level, traffic-free track passing Beamish Museum and running alongside the River Wear to the North Sea and Sunderland.

8. Hit the open road on a chauffeur-driven trike motorcycle
Tour the Durham Dales or Durham city on an amazing three-seater trike with the sound of a powerful 1400cc engine roaring right behind you whilst being chauffeured by a knowledgeable local guide/rider. The trike tours offer the very best triking/motorcycle experience available anywhere.

9. Ski the Pennines at Yad Moss
In the heart of the Pennines on the Durham/Cumbria border is the longest single ski lift in England.  The volunteer-run lift at Yad Moss serves up to eight gentle runs – weather permitting.

10. Walk the coastal path above the Black Beaches
The Durham Heritage Coast has emerged from its industrial past to become an area worthy of Heritage Coast status with one of the finest coastlines in England. Know as the Black Beaches because of the spoil from coalmining, the shoreline has been transformed into a wonderful mosaic of great natural, historical and geological interest.

If this inspires you, why not browse my selection of Durham cottages, and see what catches your eye?

My pick of the Durham cottages

Durham cottages choice

Amidst open countryside, with views over the ruins of Egglestone Abbey, this 17th-century Grade II listed cottage is an extremely comfortable retreat, full of character and charm. Standing peacefully in its own garden, it is just two miles from the delightful market town of Barnard Castle, home to The Bowes Museum. Click here to view more details.