If you’re visiting Durham for a few days, you may wish to venture further afield and explore some of the attractions and places nearby.

Our Jewel in the Crown leaflet has a few key suggestions, and here are a few more places that Pointers have enjoyed.

In case of last minute changes please check with individual sites before visiting


Adventure ValleyAdventure Valley

Family adventure park with indoor and outdoor play areas for children, animals to meet and special themed events.

5 miles from Durham (car recommended). Bus no 62 runs once an hour

Charges apply.


Low BurnhallLow Burnhall Wood: Woodland Trust

Way marked trails, a wicker man and a wicker lady to discover, as well as lots of interesting trees and wildlife.

1 mile outside Durham. Free car park. Buses X21, 6 (Bishop Auckland/Cockfield) or 7 (Darlington) to Cock o’ the North stop.

Free of charge.


Rainton MeadowsRainton Meadows Nature Reserve: Durham Wildlife Trust

A network of accessible pathways linking grassland, woodland, lakes and wetlands. WildPlay area.

6 miles from Durham. Free parking. Buses to Sunderland 20A and X20 stop at Rainton Business Park

Free of charge.


Broom House FarmBroom House Farm, Witton Gilbert

Farm with pigs and sheep, large play area with some ride on toys. Woodland Adventure trail (Charges)

7 miles from Durham. Car recommended

Café and farm shop.


WashingtonWashington Wetland Centre: WWT

A great place to see a wide variety of wetland birds

14 miles from Durham, Car recommended

Charges apply.



Hall Hill FarmHall Hill Farm, near Lanchester

A great day out for children

12 miles from Durham

Charges apply.



Hardwick Hardwick Hall Country Park

Country park with walks, lakes and play areas.

16 miles from Durham. Car park. Buses to Sedgefield.

The park is free of charge, but there are charges for the carpark.  Café.



PenshawPenshaw Monument

Climb up the hill for stunning views from this 70 ft high folly, built in 1844.  The legend of the Lambton Worm tells us it wrapped itself 7 times round Penshaw Hill (or was it Worm hill nearby?)

12 miles from Durham

FREE (National Trust, charges to go up to the top of the monument when it is open)

Café nearby

Finchale AbbeyFinchale Priory (English Heritage)

Founded in 1196, the remains of Finchale Priory stand on the banks of the River Wear and is a pleasant place to explore

4 miles from Durham




bp castleBrancepeth Castle

Brancepeth Castle is one of the oldest continually fortified sites in the country. In the 14th century it was home to the powerful Neville family.

Now a family home, the family are offering tours on selected dates throughout the year, see website for times and dates. 

4.5 miles from Durham on A690. Bus X46 every 20 mins to Brancepeth Village.

Charges apply.


ushaw college

Ushaw College

Enjoy the stunning Pugin architecture of this fascinating former Catholic Boarding school and seminary. Lots of special events – see website.

Mon-Fri 11-3, Sat 11-4.

4 miles from Durham. Bus to Bearpark, then 10 min walk.

Charges apply.



Raby Castle

Raby Castle

Well preserved 14th century castle set in 200 acres of parkland with walled gardens, and impressive interiors. The new Plotter’s Forest adventure playground opens at Easter 2022. Still the family home of the Vane family

20 miles from Durham (car recommended)

Charges apply



Children and adults can ride and operate real diggers and other construction machinery, plus other rides and indoor/outdoor play areas. Age 4+for most rides.

5 miles from Durham. Bus to Langley Park (car recommended)

Charges apply