A Guest Post about the Top 10 things to do in Durham with Kids
Durham is in the North East of England, about 15 miles south of Newcastle. The City and surrounding County itself is set on the banks of the River Wear and is filled with stunning architecture, scenic walking routes and plenty of things to do to keep the whole family entertained.
Visit the Cathedral and Castle
Durham Castle and Cathedral were awarded the status of a World Heritage Site in 1986 and are must-see attractions if you’re visiting the Durham area.
Durham Cathedral is a stunning building which was built to house the bodies of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede and it’s the biggest and best example of Norman architecture in England.
If you don’t mind heights, climb the tower for an amazing view across the city and Harry Potter fans may recognise the cloisters that were used in some of the films.
The Castle is home to Durham University students during term time however, guided tours can be booked in advance. You can even book a family fun tour which is more focused on children and has activities just for them.
Beamish Museum is one of my favourite Northern attractions. It’s a world famous open air museum that transports you back in time. It has so many different areas, including a 1940’s farm, a 1900’s town and they’re currently expanding to include a 1950’s town and a Georgian coaching in.
I love how you get a true museum experience without being stuck in a boring building. Beamish is also perfect for picnics and walks in the Sunshine, tram rides and you can even take the dog!
It’s a complete bargain too, once you’ve paid your initial entry fee, your ticket becomes an annual pass which allows you re-entry as many times as you like for a full year.
Take a walk in the Dales
Durham is home to miles and miles of beautiful countryside. You can visit the Durham Dales Centre in Stanhope for inspiration on which walking route to take, learn about local history or even enjoy a slab of cake in the café.
High Force is once of the most impressive waterfalls in England. Located in Forest in Teesdale, it’s right in the middle of the Durham Dales.
The walk down to the falls is a pleasant one and short enough to little legs, and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of a row deer. It’s suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs however, access to the falls viewing area is by steps.
High Force has a 21 metre drop and when the river is full, looks spectacular.
You do have to pay for car parking and admission to the falls themselves, but once you’ve paid you can stay as long as you like. There are toilets and changing facilities in the car park and the High Force hotel offers reasonably priced food and a decent kids menu.
Shildon Railway Museum
Little sister to the National Railway Museum on York, the Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon is the most visited museum in County Durham.
The collection building contains numerous locomotives such as Sans Pareil and Apt-E Advance Passenger Train all of which visitors can get up close too. There’s also a basic café, a pleasant outdoor play area and at certain times of the year you can take a short train journey on the passenger steam train.
Visit the Coast
If you prefer a sea breeze, why note take a visit to the coast. Durham has 11 miles of coastal footpaths from Seaham to Crimdon. You’ll probably want to take a picture next to Ray Lonsdales, iconic Tommy statue, watch out for the internationally recognised plants and wildlife or just take a bucket and spade and spend the afternoon on one of the beautiful beaches.
Perhaps one for the digger enthusiasts, Digger Land is just over 5 miles from Durham City centre and is an action packed day out for the whole family. You can take a ride on a dumper truck, play skittles with an excavator or have a go on the SUV safari.
Killhope Lead Mining museum
Set in The North Pennines, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Killhope Lead Mining Museum is famous for its working water wheel and is the most complete lead mining site in Britain.
Visitors can take an underground tour of the mine, try on Victorian clothing or get an insight into the lives of miners.
You might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a red squirrel if you take a walk in the beautiful countryside around the museum.
Cricket at the Riverside
Just 7 miles out of the city centre, the Emirates Riverside is the home ground of Durham County Cricket Club. Throughout the year it’s host to County Cricket, T20 and International Cricket matches, there’s a yearly family day too which offers face painting and childrens activities.
If cricket is your sport then a visit to the Emirates Riverside is a must when you’re visiting the Durham area. It’s literally a few hundred yards from Chester Le Street Riverside Park which has a splash park, large childrens play area, beautiful gardens and riverside walks.
Look after by the Forestry Commission, Hamsterley Forest is a great place to visit for any outdoor lovers.
It’s great for wildlife watching, dark sky gazing and has plenty to keep the kids entertained. With the Viking wild play centre, The Highway Rat trail and plenty cycle routes throughout the forest, children can have hours of fun without spending a fortune.
There is a charge of £6 for each car but this does increase to £10 on bank holidays.
Thanks to Cat from Rock and Roll Pussycat for submitting this guest post.