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Things To Do In Durham

Planning A Trip To Durham? Here's our list of top things to do in Durham

A city in the south of Newcastle upon Tyne, Durham is set atop River Wear, which loops around the Norman Durham Castle and the Romanesque Durham Cathedral. Established on St. Cuthbert’s final resting place, the castle and Cathedral were designated as a world heritage site in 1986 by UNESCO. Located 21 km, south of Newcastle, Durham has the river Wear flowing north through the city, zigzagging a cut that surrounds the center to form Durham’s headland on three sides.


There’s a market at the base of the peninsula which holds the Durham indoor market, and a permanent market along with some other regular markets. Being a hilly town, that’s built on the 7 symbolic hills, the Cathedral governs the skyline at the most prominent & central position just above the River Wear. With steep shorelines and dense woodlands, Durham is no less than a scenic marvel. From among a variety of activities you can explore and indulge in, here are a few things to do in Durham.

Walking Tours

Walking Tours:  Things To Do In Durham
Photograph by https://www.durhamworldheritagesite.com

Head out into Durham’s lovely outdoors for a leisurely stroll along the riverside or take up a challenging trek with Durham’s Walking Tours. From nature to wildlife, history to heritage and gorgeous landscapes to eye-catching trails to explore, Durham has varied walking tours to keep you captivated.


Walk through some charming woodland tours in the Hamsterley Forest or wade through the peace and calm of the running streams that lead you to different lakes and riverside lanes in Durham. From challenging paths to railway routes to the tranquil country roads, Durham can inspire anyone for a good and mesmerizing walk. Some of the other appealing sites to explore include Durham Dales and the Heritage Coast of Durham with incredible sights and vivid backdrops.

Water Sports

Water Sports:  Things To Do In Durham
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Durham’s popular for its reservoirs, coast and rivers, so whether you’re looking to sail, fish or canoe, there’s something for everyone to appease their adventurous streak with Durham’s water sports. You can try some excellent sailing activities on the Grassholme or Derwent Lakes, row down on the River wear or indulge in water-ski on Balderhead. Activities at the Hub, Barnard Castle offer Raft Building, Kayaking, Geocaching, Bushcraft, Archery, High Ropes, Underground Exploration, Gorge Walking and more!


Spend a day fishing at one of the finest wild brown trout fisheries, encompassed by the spell-binding vistas of the North Pennines Grouse Moors. The Wild Brown Trouts are quick like lightning and hard fighters with vibrant colors and markings, making them a real challenge to catch on! Then there’s the Derwent Waterside Park Fishery, 4 m to the west of Castleside with lots of bank area to fish from along with the dam wall for coarse anglers.

Cycling Tours

Cycling Tours:  Things To Do In Durham
Photograph by https://www.durham-arc.org.uk

Enjoy the magnificent views of the countryside and the coast with a wide array of bike routes for visitors of all ages and abilities. The Hamsterley Forest in Durham has color-coded paths to help you decide which one is comfortable for you, while the quiet country roads make for some easy cycling trips on smooth inclines, in addition to some tough climbs and pathways that include the coast to coast routes or the Walney to wear tracks.

Adventure Activities

Adventure Activities:  Things To Do In Durham
Photograph by https://media.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk

Durham has several places with a mix of adventurous activities you can enjoy on your own or with your family or in a group, including quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, high ropes or archery. You can also enjoy a day of adventures with your family at the Adventure Valley, an exploratory escape with over 50 activities, attractions and events at North East’s largest family adventure park. The Adventure Valley has both indoor and outdoor soft play areas for the kids, roller disco, farm animals, crazy golf and a café. Some other adventures include the jumping pillows, sandpits, action creek with pedaling go-karts, slides, busy bee barns, the show time theatre with daily events, creepy crawlies and the fattest tortoise in the world, Bertie.

Nature & Wildlife

Nature & Wildlife:  Things To Do In Durham
Photograph by https://www.kennedywildbirdfood.co.uk

Discover the vibrant and gorgeous landscape of Durham’s Heritage Coast with an impressive range of headlands, jagged cliffs and beaches. Renowned for its rare flora and fauna, the Heritage Coast is a charming site that’s also won the UK Landscape Award. The 14 m coastal path will take through a quaint medley of wildflowers, flora, fauna and grasslands with a variety of geological, historic and natural backdrops with some stunning views of the coast. Then there Castle Eden Dene, a scenic national nature reserve with over 550 acres of woodland and 12 m of walkways.


Home to nearly 450 species of wildflowers and plants, most of which are remnants of ancient woodlands from the pre-primitive era, this place is a tranquil paradise! Another lively town on the Durham Coast is Seaham with its assortment of spectacular views and magnificent cliff top and sandy beach in addition to the St. Mary’s Virgin Church – one of the only 20 pre-Viking cathedrals in the country.

Sports Activities

Sports Activities:  Things To Do In Durham
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A visually appealing and inviting course, the Sedgefield Racecourse provides for a fruitful day of horse racing with ample excitement. Located in the south of Durham and owned by the Arena Racing Company, the Sedgefield Racecourse is a left-handed course which is used only for jump-racing and is one of the finest courses renowned for its beautiful countryside location and warm & friendly environment. With horse racing becoming popular as a sport, the Sedgefield Racecourse provides top-class facilities to all its visitors at pocket-friendly prices.


Enjoy a warm summer day watching world-renowned players weave their magic at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground at the Chester-le-Street. 2019 being a milestone in Durham’s cricket history, the Riverside ground will play host to 3 ICC Cricket Matches during the World Cup. Furthermore, there are several popular attractions like the British Museum, the wondrous Durham Cathedral, a range of budget or luxury stays and more to make you want to make the most of your time in Durham.


From countryside to the coast, Durham’s got a world-class golf resort with breathtaking views and accompanying tranquility at its 27-hole championship golf center for both members as well as visitors with pay-&-play golf courses. Some hotels in Durham offer interesting golf lessons at golf courses in spell-binding landscapes with panoramic sights of the Durham Heritage Coast.

Spa Treatments

Spa Treatments:  Things To Do In Durham
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Whether you’re visiting for the day or staying overnight, don’t miss taking some time out for yourself and indulge in the relaxing and tranquil Serenity Spa at the Seaham Hall, the Retreat at Redworth Hall or the Headlam Spa. With state-of-the-art facilities and a selection of treatments, facials, massages and therapies that would help you unwind, relax and rejuvenate you can also make the most of your spa therapies with heated indoor swimming pools, sauna, steam or Jacuzzi.

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