SEE & DO
You may need to stay with us longer than you thought!
Sunderland Bridge takes its name from the ancient bridge that crossed the Great North Road (subsequently A1). Following construction of the A1M to the west of Durham, it became the A167 but retains good links to the County of Durham and beyond. There are frequent buses into Durham as well as Bishop Auckland, Darlington and Newcastle. From Durham railway station there are fast trains on the East Coast line to Edinburgh (2 hours), Newcastle (15 minutes) and York (50 minutes), making all of these away day destinations.
Here are a few suggestions of things to do:
There are many walks starting in the village from gentle strolls along the river to the longer more challenging Weardale Way. Along the way you are likely to see a good variety of bird life such as red kites, heron, sand martins, barn owls, cormorants together with more common birds, including robins and finches. Deer and otters are also to be seen together with domestic cows, sheep and horses grazing in the fields.
The village farm has a livery and you may see horses being taken out for exercise. Stray hens seeking out the juiciest worms on the village green enhance the pastoral scene without disturbing its tranquillity.
You’ll find breathtaking views and walking and cycling routes galore amongst Durham’s stunning countryside and coastal areas. Explore the Durham Dales and North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – a picture-perfect landscape of moors, hills, valleys and rivers – and home to High Force – one of England’s most impressive waterfalls. Or pack your hiking boots and head to the Durham Coast for dramatic sea views along the coastal footpath.
Visit one of England’s oldest cathedrals started in 1093 and opened in 1133 which together with Durham Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the cathedral you will find the Open Treasure exhibition of artifacts and manuscripts from the building's rich heritage. Durham University’s Archaeology Museum is also situated on Palace Green. Durham Museum and Heritage Centre is close by (check for opening times as it is staffed by volunteers).
The historic Guild Hall and Town Hall are situated in the market place alongside the Victorian indoor market (open Monday to Saturday - outdoors Saturday).
13th century medieval Crook Hall and gardens are open to the public and only a short walk from the centre of town.
The Oriental Museum and Botanic Gardens are half a mile from the centre with ample parking but can also be reached by bus.
Castles in County Durham
Auckland Castle www.aucklandproject.org
Situated in Bishop Auckland this was the historic home of the Bishops of Durham stretching over 1000 years. The castle is now administered through a charity which has been formed to regenerate the area and includes a deer park, walled garden, visitor tower, museum and art galleries. Please check out their website for latest developments
Raby Castle and Parkland https://www.raby.co.uk
Raby is without doubt one of the most impressive intact castles in the North of England. Built in the 14th century by the powerful Nevill family, it has a fascinating history.
Barnard Castle www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/barnard-castle/
Set on a high rock above the River Tees, Barnard Castle takes its name from its 12th century founder, Bernard de Balliol. It was later developed by the Beauchamp family and then passed into the hands of Richard III.
Museums in County Durham
World renowned open air museum of working life in the NorthEast during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. Lots of things to do and see with rides on buses, trams and steam drawn trains included in the admission price. A full day out!
Bowes Museum www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk
Purpose built in the 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum has a wonderful story to tell. John Bowes was educated at Eton and became a very successful businessman who profited from the coal reserves on his land. From 1847 he spent his time between France and England exploring his interest in the arts. It was here he bought a theatre and met the Parisian actress Joséphine Coffin-Chevallier. Once the couple married in 1852 they soon began to develop the idea of creating a world-class museum back in John’s ancestral home of Teesdale in order to introduce the wider world of art to the local people.
Killhope is a multi-award winning 19th century mining museum in the centre of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), where you can experience the life and work of the lead mining families of the North Pennines.
This museum forms part of the National Railway Museum. Based in Shildon, birthplace of the railways and home of the railway engineer Timothy Hackworth. His home can be visited as part of the experience.
Shildon is also the birthplace of Daniel Adamson who ran the first horse drawn railway passenger service from Shildon to Darlington and Stockton. He was the landlord of the Grade 1 listed Grey Horse pub and subsequently built a coach house across the road to run trains on the Surtees line. His son, also called Daniel, one of 15 children, became a railway engineer before setting up his own ironworks in Cheshire. He became a wealthy individual residing at The Towers, Didsbury and was the driving force in the creation of the Manchester Ship Canal
Binchester Fort www.thisisdurham.com
Explore the exceptionally well-preserved remains of not just one but two bath-houses. One lies inside the fort and has one of the most intact hypocaust (underfloor) heating systems in the whole of Britain. Some remains of Longovicium an auxiliary fort on Dere Street can be seen on the outskirts of Lanchester. Please note that these are on private land and can be viewed from the roadside.
Day trips by car or train
Northumberland - A few suggestions
Hadrians Wall, Chesters, Housesteads and Vindolanda Roman forts
Alnwick Castle and Gardens
North Yorkshire - A few suggestions
Harrogate - An elegant Victorian Spa town, visit Valley Gardens, RHS garden at Harlow Carr, taste the sulphurous water at the Pump House museum. Don’t forget to take afternoon tea at Bettys famous tea rooms
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden - one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. National Trust property
Castle Howard home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years. Well known as the setting of Brideshead Revisited.
Harewood Hall Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, it was built, between 1759 and 1771, for wealthy plantation and slave owner Edwin Lascelles
North York Moors and Railway. An area known to many the Heartbeat TV series and its heritage railway line
Whitby. Traditional former fishing village and seaside resort. Home to James Cook museum and the Goth festival
York. Founded by the Romans with evidence of their and subsequent Viking settlements.