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Things to do: Camping in County Durham
Camping in County Durham offers a diverse selection of major attractions to visit, including Durham City, the Durham Dales, the Vale of Durham and the Durham Coast. The county’s landscape has been significantly shaped by its industrial mining past, with the economy historically based on coal and iron. Today the county is undergoing some considerable regeneration, with tourism and agriculture driving the local economy.
Lying beside the meandering River Wear, a few miles south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Durham is a pretty cathedral city and the county town of County Durham. Voted as the best city in the UK by readers of Traveller Magazine, Durham is teeming with steep cobbled streets and historic architecture.
Soaring above the bustling city below, Durham Cathedral is regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world and home of the iconic Shrine of St Cuthbert. The relics of St Cuthbert were transported to Durham by Lindisfarne monks in the 9th century. It is one of Durham’s major tourist attractions and welcomed nearly 700,000 visitors last year.
In 1986, the cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Durham Castle. Constructed in 1072 under the orders of William the Conqueror, six years after the Norman Conquest, Durham Castle is a fantastic example of the early motte and bailey castles favoured by the Normans. Today, the castle is open to the public but only through guided tours, as it is owned by Durham University and is home to over 100 students.
Built around 1217, making it one of the oldest inhabited houses in Durham, Crook Hall and Garden is a medieval manor house exhibiting Jacobean and Georgian architectural styles. Explore the house and gardens, before stopping for tea and cake at the Garden Gate Café.
Coastline and countryside
After exploring the busy streets of Durham, get off the beaten track and take some time to explore the surrounding countryside. County Durham boasts picture-postcard villages, heritage coastline and rocky moorland.
County Durham is home to a sizeable section of the North Pennines - designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1988. It’s within the Pennines range of hills that you’ll find the famous High Force Waterfall. Located in Forest-by-Teeside, the High Force Waterfall is a spectacular landscape. Take a stroll around the walkway and marvel as the water builds from a slow trickle and eventually plummets 21 metres into the plunge pool below. The walkway is open all year round and tickets can be purchased from the High Force Hotel.
Why not take some time to explore Durham’s beautiful beaches? From Sunderland to Hartlepool, the Durham Heritage Coast is home to one of the finest coastlines in England. Take a walk along the Durham Coastal Footpath; a magnificent 11 mile walking route from Seaham in the north to Crimdon in the south, taking in dramatic cliff top scenery and picturesque coastal villages along the way.
Top things to do in County Durham
All campsites in County Durham offer plenty of activities and major attractions within easy reach. From ancient castles, historic houses and gardens, and the world famous Durham Cathedral, camping in County Durham is the perfect holiday for all the family. Here are our top five things to do in County Durham:
1. Barnard Castle
Within walking distance of our Barnard Castle Club Site, Barnard Castle was built during the latter half of the 12th century and sits high on a rock overlooking the River Tees. In the 16th and 17th century, the castle underwent two sieges. Today, you can visit the castle’s sensory gardens and experience breath-taking views of the Tees Gorge.
2. Bowes Museum
Located in the same bustling market town as the castle and our Club Site, the Bowes Museum is a French chateau home to a magnificent collection of fine and decorative European art. Built in the 19th century by John Bowes and his French wife, the museum tells their romantic story as you wander through the graceful Grade I listed building.
3. Egglestone Abbey
Located beside the winding River Tees, Egglestone Abbey is an abandoned Premonstratensian Abbey that was once home to a small monastery. Today, the abbey makes for an ideal spot for a stroll, or pack a picnic and take shade under the ruins. Explore the surviving 13th century church and envision what life was like for local monks over 700 years ago.
4. Beamish, the Living Museum of the North
Based on a 300-acre estate in the heart of County Durham, the Beamish Living Museum of the North expertly exhibits the transition of northeast England during the Industrial Revolution. Wander through the traditional Edwardian town and discover what life was like in the local area during this era.
Previously known as the National Railway Museum, the newly-named Locomotion is a fun and informative day out in County Durham. Combining science and engineering, both essential to railways, brings Locomotive to life through magical story telling. Marvel at the diverse collection of trains and learn the unique story behind each one.