Places of Interest
Whitworth Hall and Gardens
Extensively restored former family home of "Bonnie Bobby Shafto". Hall, walled garden, dene gardens, two lakes, deer herd, wildfowl, woodland walks, vineyard and winery, brewery and bottling plant.
Location: 1.5 miles north west of the town centre (signposted)
The North of England Open Air Museum
One of the leading tourist attractions in the region, Beamish vividly recreates life in a North of England town early in the 20th century. Shops, houses, working pub and newspaper office. Guided tours underground at a real "drift mine".
Location: 17 miles north of Spennymoor on the A693 and signposted from the A167 and A1(M) Chester-le-Street exit.
Durham City is one of the most exciting visual and architectural experiences in Europe. For nine centuries the magnificent Norman cathedral and castle have dominated the city's skyline, their dramatic peninsular setting a defensive stronghold for Durham's Prince Bishop. Today, the cathedral and castle are a World Heritage Site, officially recognising their exceptional quality and character. Other attractions include the University Museum of Archaeology, the University Oriental Museum, the Durham Light Infantry Museum and Durham Art Gallery.
Location: 7 miles north of Spennymoor, off the A167.
Enquiries: Tourist Information Centre, Millennium Place, Durham City DH1 1WA
Principal country residence of the Bishops of Durham since Norman times, and now the official residence of the present day Bishop. The chapel, reputedly the largest private chapel in Europe, and the state rooms, including the Bishop's Throne Room, are open to the public. There is also access to the adjacent Bishops park with its 18th century "Gothic" deer shelter.
Location: 5 miles south-west of Spennymoor, off the A688
Binchester Roman Fort
The house of the Fort Commander includes the best example of a Roman military bath suite in Britain. Finds from the excavation of the fort are displayed in the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle.
Location: 4 miles south west of Spennymoor, off the A688
Timothy Hackworth Victorian and Railway Museum
Home and workplace of the engineer to the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Restored house with Victorian garden, restored Shildon Goods yard with working replica of the locomotive Sans Pareil. Occasional passenger rides along 400 yards of original 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway track bed.
Location: 6 miles south of Spennymoor at Shildon
Sedgefield is used by all top Northern trainers and jockeys for competitive National Hunt racing, and in recent years has served as a venue for the North versus South Jump Jockeys Challenge Match. There are 21 race meetings each season from September until the end of May, including the Boxing day fixture and evening meetings in the Spring. Facilities available for people with wheelchairs.
The Durham Dales
Lying between the Yorkshire Dales and the Northumberland National park, the Durham dales form part of the North Pennines, one of England's largest areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Upper Teesdale supports some of Britain's rarest plant communities, now protected as a National Nature Reserve. At High Force, the River Tees thunders 70 feet over the largest waterfall in England.
Close by, the Pennine Way continues on its 270 mile route past some of the country's most beautiful stretches of river scenery. To the north is Weardale where quiet moorland roads open up panoramic Pennine views. The road from Killhope to Nenthead in Cumbria is the highest classified road in England, rising to over 2,000 feet. In the 19th century the North Pennines were at the heart of the lead mining industry. The industry has long since disappeared but Killhope Lead Mining Centre, with its giant 34 ft waterwheel, remains a striking memorial.
Throughout the Durham Dales (which start less than 10 miles to the west of Spennymoor) there is plenty of scope for walking and other outdoor activities which can all be enjoyed amid the impressive North Pennines scenery. The area is surprisingly unspoilt and uncrowded, even at peak holiday times.
Location: Access to Teesdale is south west via the A688 in the direction of Barnard Castle. For access to Weardale, take the A689 from Bishop Auckland in the direction of Stanhope.
Top of page