Fun things to do in County Durham

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  • Durham Castle & River Wear
    Durham Castle & River Wear
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Most Viewed Things to Do in County Durham

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    Framwellgate Bridge

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Oct 6, 2013

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    Framwellgate Bridge is a mediaeval masonry arch bridge across the River Wear. You can admire by the view at the Castle and the Cathedral from the bridge.
    The bridge was built after 1400 to replace one built early in the 12th century for Ranulf Flambard, who was Bishop of Durham 1199–1228. Flambard's bridge seems to have had five or six arches.
    The current bridge is of two shallow arches, each with several reinforcing ribs. Their combined span is about 27 m.

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    The River Wear

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Oct 6, 2013

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    The River Wear wends in a steep valley through the cathedral city of Durham.
    When it reaches the city it passes through a deep, wooded gorge, from which several springs emerge, historically used as sources of potable water.
    The river has cut deeply into the "Cathedral Sandstone" bedrock.
    The high ground (bluffs) enclosed by this meander is known as the Peninsula, forming a defensive enclosure, at whose heart lies Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral.
    That area is now a UN World Heritage Site.

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    St Nicholas Chuch

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Oct 5, 2013

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    St Nicholas' Church, commonly known as St Nic's, is located on Durham marketplace and is the city's civic church.
    The current building dates to 1858, and was designed by Darlington architect J. Pritchett. The building was described as "the most beautiful specimen of church architecture in the north of England".

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    Our Lady of Mercy and St Godric’s Church

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Oct 5, 2013

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    St. Godric’s Church is conveniently located in Durham City Centre.
    The Church was built in 1864.
    In 1909 it was extended and a tower was added.
    In 1985 it was badly damaged by fire, but after extensive restoration it was reopened in 1987.
    We visited this church on the way to the Durham Cathedral.
    Unfortunately it was raining and we could hide ourselves in the church.

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    Gibside - The Hall

    by stevezero Updated May 13, 2006

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    The main house of the estate was a celebrated stately home, now reduced to a shell after becoming vacant in the 1940s, when death duties forced the Bowes-Lyon family to scale back its lavish lifestyle and give up some of its great houses.
    The hall was owned by the Bowes-Lyon family (Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorn) who also owned nearby Streatlam Castle, now demolished.
    The hall is currently being stabilised and may be avaiable for inside viewing one day, At present you can only see it from outside. There are fine views from here over the river Derwent.

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    Gibside Orangery

    by stevezero Updated May 13, 2006

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    In the Gibside grounds there is a charming orangery. Although now ruined it retains much of its charm. It was formally used to grow exotic plants for the estate and contained a boiler which heated the building to the correct temperature.

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    Gibside Chapel

    by stevezero Updated May 13, 2006

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    Technically now in Tyne and Wear, Gibside was formally in County Durham until 1974 and is stil most asociated with the county.
    The Gibside Estate, overlooking the River Derwent about four miles
    west of Gateshead, was created by land owner and coal baron George Bowes
    between 1729 and 1760
    For whatever reason, the estate was allowed to fall into disrepair.But now, in the hands of The National Trust, is currently in the midst of an extensive renovation programme.
    Currently only the delightful chapel is open for viewing to the public, but there are also extensive grounds to explore.
    It is the Ancestral estate of the Queen Mother's family, the Bowes-Lyons

    In care of the National Trust
    Admission Charge-
    Adults - £5.00

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    Raby Castle

    by stevezero Written May 13, 2006

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    Unfortunately the castle was closed as we passed, you could not even get in the grounds. It opens selected days in summer only.
    The present castle was built by John, 3rd Baron Nevill in about 1360; Sir Henry Vane the Elder, MP, purchased Raby in 1626 and his family still own Raby, now the home of Lord Barnard's family. Raby is one of the finest medieval castles, the grandest medieval kitchen in England which was used 1360-1954, and the magnificent Baron's Hall where 700 knights gathered in 1569; Coach House museum

    Admission Charge
    Adults £9.00 for grounds and castle

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    Egglestone Abbey

    by stevezero Written May 13, 2006

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    The charming ruins of a small monastery of Premonstratensian 'white canons', picturesquely set above a bend in the River Tees near Barnard Castle. Remains include much of the 13th-century church and a range of living quarters, with traces of their ingenious toilet drainage system.

    In the care of English Heritage
    Admission free

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    Bowes Castle

    by stevezero Written May 13, 2006

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    Bowes castle is in the small village of Bowes, some 8kms west of Barnard Castle.The castle is thought to have been built by Alan, Earl of Richmond, soon after the Norman conquest of 1066 on the site of the old Roman fort, a date of 1087 indicating how strategic the location was to the Normans. It appears to have been involved in considerable conflict over the centuries with reports of it having been besieged as early as 1173 by King William of Scotland. It was apparently so badly damaged as to have required rebuilding in 1187. Around 1216 enemies of King John again besieged the castle, and again in 1322 in a regional feud between Henry Fitzhugh and the then Earl of Richmond. The castle keep we see now stands testimony to the choice of site and the quality of the 1087 construction and 1173 reconstruction.

    In care of English Heritage-
    Admission Free!

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    Barnard Castle - Bowes Museum

    by stevezero Updated May 13, 2006

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    The museum lies just outside the town of Barnard Castle, built in the style of a French chateau, unfortunately we did not have the time to visit this trip.
    It has one of the most impressive collections of pictures, ceramics, textiles, tapestries, clocks and costumes in the north of England. The Bowes Museum developed from the collection of John Bowes, Earl of Strathmore, who with his French actress wife Josephine purchased most of the wonderful items displayed in the museum. Sadly both died before the completion of the building in 1892.

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    Barnard Castle - County Bridge

    by stevezero Written May 13, 2006

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    We came into town via the County Bridge, an old bridge, built in its current form in 1569 . It lies at the foot of the castle hill. You can park near here for free and walk up to the castle and main town.

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    Barnard Castle - The Castle

    by stevezero Written May 13, 2006

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    Taking its name from Bernard de Balliol, who rebuilt it in the 12th century, the castle stands on a rocky hill overlooking the River Tees.
    Unsuccessfully besieged by the Scots in 1216, it was confiscated when John de Balliol, briefly King of Scotland, was deposed by Edward I. It last saw action during the Northern Rising against Queen Elizabeth in 1569, surrendering to 5000 rebels, and was partly dismantled in 1630 to furnish materials for Sir Henry Vane's new Raby Castle.

    In the care of English Heritage
    Admission Charge -
    Adults £3.40

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    Barnard Castle

    by stevezero Written May 13, 2006

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    Barnard Castle is a castle and also the name of its surrounding town in Teesdale, County Durham, England. It sits on the north side of the River Tees, opposite Startforth. Other than the castle, Bowes Museum and the Butter Market are among the town's other attractions.

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    Durham University Botanic Garden

    by Tom_Fields Written Mar 20, 2006

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    This is the finest garden in Durham. It is managed by Durham University. The Visitor Centre was established in 1988 by Durham University Chancellor Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias. It hosts seminars and talks on horticulture and other subjects.

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County Durham Things to Do

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