Introducing County Durham
Spread out across the lonely, rabbit-inhabited North Pennines and the gentle ochre hills of Teesdale, County Durham's star attraction is its county town – home to a magnificent cathedral that is easily one of England's finest.
The cathedral and the adjoining castle were the seat of the once powerful prince bishops, rulers since 1081 of the Palatinate of Durham, a political entity created by William the Conqueror as a bulwark against rowdy Saxons and uppity Scots.
In more recent times, the county was at the heart of the region's coal mining industry, a brutal business that saw the last pit close in 1984 and left the landscape with some fast-dissolving yet evocative scarring.
County Durham destination guides
The Cyclist's Coast to Coast
Cycle across England through the Lake District and over the Pennines to the North Sea