Top things to do

Top Choice Cathedral in Durham

Durham Cathedral

Monumental Durham Cathedral is the definitive structure of the Anglo-Norman Romanesque style, a resplendent monument to the country’s ecclesiastical history and, since 1986, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Beyond the …
Top Choice Museum in Barnard Castle

Bowes Museum

A monumental chateau half a mile east of the centre contains the lavishly furnished Bowes Museum. Funded by 19th-century industrialist John Bowes, and opened in 1892, this brainchild of his Parisian actress wife, Jo…
Top Choice Castle in Durham

Durham Castle

Built as a standard motte-and-bailey fort in 1072, Durham Castle was the prince bishops' home until 1837, when it became the University of Durham's first college. It remains a university hall today. Highlights of th…
Top Choice Gastronomy in Barnard Castle

Raby Hunt

A two-century-old, ivy-clad drovers' inn 11 miles east of Barnard Castle is now the staging post for gastronomic expeditions by self-taught chef James Close, who received his first Michelin star in 2012 and second i…
Top Choice Deli in County Durham

Knitsley Farm Shop & Cafe

It's worth stopping off 12 miles northwest of Durham en route to Northumberland National Park and Hadrian's Wall to stock up on Knitsley Farm Shop's incredible cheeses, meats, fruits, veggies, homemade sweets, biscu…
Top Choice Gastropub in Barnard Castle

Bay Horse

It's well worth the 19-mile trip east of Barnard Castle to this 15th-century coaching inn in the pretty riverside village of Hurworth-on-Tees, but book ahead so you don't miss out on exceptional locally sourced dish…
British in Durham

Garden House Inn

Dating from the 18th century, rustic country-style inn Garden House does great lunchtime sandwiches, such as lobster or crab, fennel and 'Nduja (spicy pork salami) and locavore menus at both lunch and dinner (Lindis…
Museum in County Durham

Beamish Open-Air Museum

County Durham's living, breathing, working museum offers an unflinching glimpse into industrial life in the northeast during the 19th and 20th centuries. Spread over 120 hectares, it is instructive and fun for all a…
Castle in Barnard Castle

Raby Castle

Sprawling Raby Castle was a stronghold of the Catholic Neville family until it engaged in ill-judged plotting (the 'Rising of the North') against the Protestant Queen Elizabeth in 1569. Most of the interior dates fr…
Roman Site in County Durham

Binchester Roman Fort

The ruins of Binchester Roman Fort, or Vinovia as it was originally called, lie 9.6 miles southwest of Durham. First built in wood around AD 80 and refashioned in stone early in the 2nd century, the fort was the lar…