Hardwick Hall Hotel and Country Park
The Hall and country park has been rejuvenated from a landscape garden designed by James Paine in the 18th century for John Burdon. It is a fantastic place for a walk round, the Serpentine Lake has been transformed and is teaming with bird life. The many follies are scattered around the park to be explored. There is also a visitor centre and cafe for a coffee after your stroll. It’s also a popular place for families with ducks to feed and a park to entertain the kids.
Durham Cathedral is a must see, it is a breath-taking building which is well worth a visit. Dating back to 1093, the cathedral is a fantastic visitor attraction make sure you climb the tower. Together with Durham Castle it is a World Heritage Site.
Raby Castle and Gardens
If you want to visit a real mediaeval castle, Raby Castle can’t be beaten. Once the home of the famous Neville family, Raby is now home to Lord Barnard. Whether you have a guilded tour round the castle, or a walk in the walled gardens it is a great visitor attraction and the deer park is not to be missed. There is also a cafe to enjoy a coffee after your visit.
If you love gardens, walk through Durham City to Crook Hall, a gem often missed by the tourist. It is a private house but it still contains a mediaeval hall and a Jacobean room and has been lovingly restored. The gardens are lovely for a walk through, full of colour. They also serve cream teas in the gardens.
Beamish Museum is an open-air museum which has a guiding principle is to preserve an example of everyday life in urban and rural North-East England at the climax of industrialisation in the early 20th century. A tram will take you to the town with its shops, houses, working pub, sweet factory and bank. There is also a working mine, farms, 19th century manor house and school house to name but a few of the attractions. You could spend days at Beamish to see all what it has to offer.
High Force, Upper Teasdale
If you keep driving up the Dale after a visit to Raby Castle, High Force is well worth the walk. It is England’s biggest waterfall and is an impressive site, watching the River Tees plunge 70m. It can be accessed by a short walk from the High Force Hotel, or you can park at Bowlees Picnic Area and have a lovely walk from Low Force up to High Force. Teesdale is a beautiful area, and Barnard Castle is a lovely market town for a walk.
Whether visiting Durham, Newcastle or venturing further into Northumberland there is so many attractions worth visiting. Newcastle is teaming with interactive museums which are perfect for children and adults alike. How about the Discovery Museum, The Life Centre or the impressive Baltic Flour Mill which is now an art museum?
Travel further north and visit the impressive Northumberland Coast, Holy Island, Seahouses, Bamburgh Castle and Druridge Bay which are all worth a visit. We must not forget Hadrians Wall which is an historic landmark and can be reached within an hour. There are many people who walk the wall, or simply call in at the many forts along its length.
York is teaming with visitor attractions including the Yorvik Viking Centre and York Dungeons, make sure you visit the city walls and The Shambles which is a very famous street. It takes approximately 1hr 20mins by car, with a really great Park and Ride system or the train will take you into the centre of York from Darlington Station.
The Durham Coast is lovely at Seaton Carew and Saltburn or travel further down the coast and head towards Whitby. The beach at Sandsend just north of Whitby is lovely it can get busy in peak season but it is a lovely beach. Whitby is great for a walk around, visit the famous whale bones and the Abbey ruins. Don’t forget to sample the famous Whitby fish and chips which will be some of the freshest fish you can eat!
The Durham and Yorkshire Dales are magnificent. In Durham, Weardale and Teesdale are within touching distance and are lovely for a ride out. Travel a little bit further south west and the famous Yorkshire Dales are crisscrossed with dry stone walls, there are many attractions including The Forbidden Corner near Leyburn, which is a garden full of follies and surprises hidden round every corner. You need to book before you visit as visitor numbers are limited every day.