Things to do in Northumberland & County Durham

If you’ve recently booked a getaway to Northumberland and County Durham, we’re here to help you create the perfect itinerary for your holiday. From the best landmarks to visit, outdoor activities, beaches and wildlife attractions, we’ve collated our local bucket list for Northumberland and County Durham below: 

Durham Cathedral
Address: Durham DH1 3EH
Description: Durham cathedral is one of the most striking and historically rich sights in England. With over 1,700 services a year, the site is an idyllic spot to appreciate the beauty of Evensong underneath the stunning vaulted ceiling. Any wizarding world fanatics may recognise the cathedral grounds as the setting for Hogwarts in some scenes within the Harry Potter series.

High Force Waterfall
Address: Forest in Teesdale, County Durham, Northumberland, DL12 0XH
Description: This breathtaking waterfall cascades 70 feet over an almost vertical cliff edge. The spectacle can be reached via the Pennine Way public footpath, a picturesque woodland trail that crosses through the Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve. The waterfall is a year-round attraction, with water levels constantly changing, you can expect a unique experience with every visit. The surrounding area is the perfect sanctuary for nature, with rabbits and deer being just a few of the frequent visitors.

The Farne Islands
Description: Described as his favourite place in the UK to see 'magnificent nature' by Sir David Attenborough, Farne Islands is an unforgettable experience for nature lovers. Possibly the most exciting seabird colonies in England, visitors can see over 23 species of birds along with around 43,000 pairs of puffins. The Island is also a primary pupping site, with more than 2,000 pups born every autumn. Visitors can see more of the inaccessible islets on boat trips available from nearby Seahouses.

Longsands Beach
Address: Grand Parade Tynemouth Tyne & Wear NE30 4JF
Description: Breathe in the sea air and soak up sublime views of the coastline as you walk the mile-long stretch of beautiful golden sands on this popular beach. A Blue Flag award-winner, this idyllic spot is the ideal place to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside - from building gigantic sandcastles and hunting for seashells to paddling in cool, clean waters. For a thrilling adventure, try your hand at surfing or paddle boarding in this renowned water sports destination. The beach has even been used for premier league football training by Newcastle United and has featured in the Hollywood movie "Goal". 

Bamburgh Castle
Address: Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7DF
Description: Towering 150 feet above the spectacular sand dunes and golden beach below, Bamburgh Castle is one of Britain's most picturesque castles. Explore the castle and discover its long history and its impressive collection of historical artefacts. Take a look at the battle-scarred weapons in The Armoury and learn about the incredible achievements of William Armstrong, one of Britain's greatest inventors and engineers in the Armstrong & Aviation Museum. The castle holds a range of family events throughout the year, such as Viking tours, WWII talks, and if you're lucky, you can grab a selfie with Marley the miniature pony!

Blue Reef Aquarium
Address:  Grand Parade, Tynemouth, Northumberland, NE30 4JF
Description: Come face-to-face with fascinating creatures from around the world. From the tropical seas of the Caribbean to the native shores of the UK. Some of the exhibits include clownfish, lionfish and the deadly, toxic stonefish. Their brand new element, River Giants transports you to a tropical rainforest and face to face with some gigantic fish. Watch the harbour seals splash around in the daily seal shows or the Asian small-clawed otter tuck into their food at feed times. Not all the creatures at Blue Reef live underwater. The aquarium is also home to a family of marmosets, a species of small monkeys native to South America. More information on admission prices can be found here. 

Ocean Beach Pleasure Beach
Address: Middle Arcade, Sea Road, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE33 2LD
Description: Ride heart-stopping roller coasters, swing on a giant pirate ship and fly on the chair swings at the North East's largest amusement park. Enjoy all the classic funfair favourites, from the spinning fury of the waltzer to the collision-fuelled excitement of the dodgems. The little ones don't miss out either, with the carousel and teacups offering gentle thrills. The park has recently built a brand-new multi-level Laserforce area, perfect for children and adults of all ages. Ocean Beach is free to enter and offers a £1 night Friday where all rides are £1 per person to ride.

Diggerland Durham
Address: Langley Park, County Durham, DH7 9TT
Description: With locations around the country, including Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, Diggerland is a fun-filled day out for all the family. Get behind the wheel of actual JCB's, take a turn or two on the Spindizzy or experience incredible views at the top of the Skyshuttle. Children can get their first taste of driving in the Mini Land Rovers, while teenagers can take an off-road ride in an SUV. The park has a Diggerland Goodie Store where visitors can get a souvenir to remember their day out, along with cafeterias offering a range of beverages with hot and cold snacks. Find more information on ticket prices here. 

Northumberland National Park
Description: Covering more than 1,050 square kilometres (410 sq mi) and located between the Scottish border and Hadrian's Walls, Northumberland is the northernmost national park in England. The park lies entirely within Northumberland, covering about a quarter of the country. Although, despite its incredible size and breathtaking views, it is still the least populated and least visited of the National Parks. There is an extensive range of walking routes available to explore the park, each with detailed descriptions and mapping. New paths are being created every year.

Beadnell Bay
Address: NE67 5BN
Description: Part of the North Northumberland Heritage Coast and set within Northumberland's outstanding natural beauty is the horseshoe-shaped Beadnell Bay. This little bay is a treasure trove for any water sports enthusiast. It is especially popular with surfers, kayakers and kitesurfers during the summer months. If you fancy trying your hand at something new but lack the gear, there's equipment for hire at affordable prices and a sailing club in the nearby town.

Beamish Museum
Address: Beamish Museum, Beamish, County Durham, DH9 0RG
Description: Beamish Museum is an immersive, unique, open-air experience where the past comes to life around you! Catch a vintage tram ride down the bustling 1900s cobbled high street or look around the vintage pubs, shops, and houses filled with costumed guides. Some of the other attractions include a funfair with a steam-powered carousel, a Pit Village and a 1940s farm. Make sure you don't leave before trying the fish and chips from Dave's!

For more information and inspiration on where to stay visit our dedicated Northumberland and County Durham pages 

Published on April 12th, 2021

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