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Your guide to County Durham

County Durham at a glance:

  • Rolling dales with endless walking opportunities
  • A city steeped in history
  • Heritage coast with jaw-dropping views
  • A host of exciting activities for all ages and tastes
  • A superb range of eateries, many serving fresh local produce
  • Your guide to County Durham

Durham is an incredible county that has it all: stunning coastline to the east, lush green dales to the west and an elegant city steeped in history.

Whether you're planning a city break, an escape to the countryside or some downtime by the coast, Durham is the perfect place for a break at any time of year with plenty to see and do whatever the weather.

Located in North East England, Durham is a beautiful county with so much to offer its visitors, from stunning scenery and award-winning attractions to a host of exciting festivals and events. There's plenty to see and do in this varied county of contrasts, making it a superb choice for a hotel break at any time of the year.

With the guarantee of a warm welcome, a choice of en-suite room options and a host of facilities, Bay Hotels are an excellent choice for those seeking high-quality accommodation in County Durham. Providing guests with exceptional service, tasty food and a lively programme of evening entertainment, our hotels offer superb value for money and the ideal base to explore each of Durham's unique landscapes.

Durham has its own majestic Cathedral and Castle, which together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beautiful backdrop for the rest of the city. A host of other heritage attractions bring history to life, from the world-famous open-air Beamish museum to Kynren, the UK's most spectacular annual open-air show. Here, more than 1,500 crew and performers will take you through 2,000 years of history.

The Durham Dales provide a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city, and are home to a host of quaint villages and little market towns. Here, boutique shops, cafés and local restaurants provide the perfect place to stop for a freshly brewed tea or tasty homemade Durham cake.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Durham's vast network of more than 100 walking routes provides ample opportunity to discover this breath-taking area. Coastal footpaths offer wonderful views over the sea, while other routes take you around reservoirs, through nature reserves, into fairy-tale woodland and past gushing waterfalls. Durham has many unspoilt areas of outstanding natural beauty to explore, including rolling hills married with rich flora, fauna and ancient woodland.

Durham's beautiful heritage coast provides yet another contrast for the visitor, featuring dramatic landscapes, long sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. Home to many rare plants and species, the coast won the UK Landscape Award in 2010 for being a place of natural, historical and geological interest.


What our guests have to say

Local Attractions


An incredible trip back in time, Beamish is an open-air museum that offers an insight into life through the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. A wonderful destination set in 350 acres of countryside, Beamish retells history like no other attraction with its living, working exhibits. You can eat and drink in the restaurants, buy from vintage shops and travel around on vintage transport, just like people did so many years ago. 

Hardwick Park

This stunning country park is a Visit England accredited attraction and offers miles of historic woodland and parkland, brimming with wildlife. Enjoy the beauty of the serene lake, find out more about the park at the visitor centre, browse the gift shop or treat yourself to a tasty snack at the Tower Café.

The Bowes Museum

The magnificent award-winning Bowes Museum is housed in a stunning building in Barnard Castle, a historic market town. This beautiful location is home to an impressive collection of fine arts with regularly changing exhibitions. With a shop, café, country park and gardens, there’s plenty to do here to fill your day.

Durham Cathedral

The Cathedral’s website boasts that it is “one of the great buildings of Europe” and this accolade is truly well deserved. A grand building set above the medieval city of Durham, this breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral is instantly recognisable as a World Heritage Site. After exploring the splendour of this incredible destination, be sure to visit the Undercroft Restaurant which holds a Taste Durham award. The Restaurant uses locally sourced produce where possible and serves mouthwatering homemade Durham cakes

High Force waterfall

A stroll through pretty woodlands is rewarded by views of this incredible natural attraction, where a gentle distant rumble quickly turns into a powerful roar. This stunning waterfall plunges 70 feet into a pool below, creating the country’s highest uninterrupted drop of water. The attractive site includes picnic spots and a gift shop, with parking available.

Location & Map

Hotels in this region

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