Things to do in Durham

Published on: 06/02/24

Nestled in the heart of the North East, Durham boasts a rich history dating back centuries. This historic city is renowned for its crown jewel, the iconic Durham Cathedral, a breath-taking masterpiece that stands as one of the most recognizable landmarks in the UK. 

Alongside the cathedral, Durham Castle, another architectural marvel, proudly graces the city's skyline. Together, these sites have earned the prestigious title of World Heritage sites by UNESCO, underscoring their profound cultural significance.

Rooted in a tapestry of tradition and scholarship, Durham is also renowned for being the esteemed seat of Durham University, adding another layer of prestige to its historical tapestry.

Accessible by train or via the nearby Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley Airports, Durham welcomes visitors with open arms. Whether you're drawn to its ancient streets steeped in history, the lush landscapes of the Durham Vales, or the tranquil shores of its coastal regions, a visit to Durham promises a multifaceted experience.

For those embarking on their inaugural journey to this remarkable region, we offer a curated list of recommendations for exploring the myriad delights of Durham.

Fun Activities and Day Out

Durham is brimming with fun activities to suit all ages and interests. Start your day with an adrenaline rush at Adventure Valley, where you can enjoy thrilling rides, meet farm animals, and explore outdoor play areas. For those seeking a cultural experience, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Durham's markets, where you can browse for unique crafts, sample delicious street food, and soak up the lively ambiance. 

History enthusiasts can embark on a journey through time at Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, where you can explore recreated historic buildings, interact with costumed characters, and learn about life in the North East of England throughout the centuries. Nature lovers will delight in the scenic beauty of the Durham Dales, where you can hike through rolling hills, discover hidden waterfalls, and enjoy panoramic views of the countryside. Whatever your passion, Durham offers endless opportunities for fun and adventure.

Combat and Target Activities

Durham offers thrilling combat and target activities for individuals seeking adrenaline-pumping experiences. Engage in action-packed laser tag battles at indoor arenas, where you can strategize with friends or family members and test your tactical skills in fast-paced skirmishes. 

For those craving the excitement of paintball, Durham's outdoor fields provide expansive battlegrounds where players can duck, dodge, and dive behind obstacles while engaging in intense paintball battles. Archery enthusiasts can hone their skills at archery ranges, where they can take aim and perfect their shot with traditional bows or modern compound bows. Additionally, Durham's shooting ranges offer opportunities for marksmanship practice with rifles, pistols, and shotguns, under the guidance of experienced instructors. 

Whether you're unleashing your competitive spirit in a laser tag arena, dodging paintball pellets on a wooded battlefield, or perfecting your aim at an archery range, Durham's combat and target activities provide thrilling experiences for adventurers of all ages.

Culture and History Activities

Embark on a captivating cultural tour of Durham and immerse yourself in the rich heritage and vibrant traditions of this historic city. Begin your journey with a guided exploration of Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its breath-taking architecture and centuries-old treasures. 

Delve into the cathedral's storied past as you admire its stunning stained glass windows, intricate carvings, and awe-inspiring vaulted ceilings. Next, venture to Durham Castle, another architectural marvel steeped in history, where you can uncover the secrets of its medieval origins and discover its role as a prestigious university college. Continue your cultural odyssey with a stroll through Durham's picturesque streets, where charming cobblestone lanes, historic landmarks, and bustling markets await. 

Along the way, your knowledgeable guide will regale you with fascinating tales and insights into Durham's past, from its medieval beginnings to its modern-day cultural renaissance. Whether you're captivated by art, architecture, history, or literature, a culture tour of Durham promises a memorable and enriching experience for all.

Motor Activities and Days Out

Durham offers an exhilarating array of motorsports activities for enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Start your engines and experience the thrill of high-speed karting at one of Durham's indoor or outdoor karting tracks, where you can test your driving skills against friends or family members in a heart-pounding race to the finish line. 

For those craving off-road excitement, Durham's rugged terrain beckons with exhilarating opportunities for quad biking and off-road driving adventures, where you can tackle challenging trails, conquer obstacles, and experience the adrenaline rush of off-road racing. Additionally, Durham's scenic countryside provides the perfect backdrop for leisurely motorcycle rides and scenic drives, where you can cruise along winding roads, soak up breath-taking views, and explore charming villages and historic landmarks along the way. 

Whether you're a speed demon seeking thrills or a leisurely explorer craving scenic drives, Durham's motorsports activities offer something for every motorsports enthusiast to enjoy.

Flying Activities

Durham offers an exciting array of flying activities for adventure seekers and aviation enthusiasts alike. Take to the skies with exhilarating experiences such as paragliding or hang gliding, where you can soar above Durham's stunning landscapes and enjoy breathtaking aerial views of rolling hills, picturesque valleys, and meandering rivers. 

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, skydiving opportunities abound in Durham, offering the ultimate thrill of freefalling from thousands of feet above the ground before safely landing with a parachute. Additionally, Durham's local aerodromes and flying clubs provide opportunities for aspiring pilots to take flying lessons and experience the joy of piloting an aircraft firsthand. 

Whether you're a seasoned aviator or a first-time flyer, Durham's flying activities offer unforgettable experiences and the chance to see the world from a whole new perspective.

Something a bit different…

Stargazers, grab your telescopes and get yourselves to the Durham Dales! There’s not many places in the UK that allow you to spot the Milky Way, but you can here. Parts of the area have been recognised as a Dark Sky Discovery Sites, where you can see up to 2,000 stars at once. If you’re lucky you might even spot some shooting stars! There are loads of hotels that cater especially to people looking to experience the amazing dark skies, with some offering guided tours.

We hope that you enjoyed reading our article about Things to do in Durham, as you can see Durham really seems to have something for everyone, whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet, to learn something new or just take in the historic scenery. We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to explore

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