Information and Tourism
When people think of County Durham, the picture that most often springs to mind is one of pit heads, slag heaps and heavy industry. It is true that for centuries mining has been the lifeblood that has kept the heart of this north-eastern English region pumping. In the 1980s, though, the last surviving pits were closed and County Durham found itself diverging from its traditions and heritage. Some of the scars of that coal mining heritage can still be seen on the landscape, tucked away amidst rolling hills and tiny villages, although nature is slowly reclaiming its hold on the place.
County Durham has an enigmatically beautiful landscape. The Durham Dales and the North Pennines offer a rich vista of moors and hills. Rivers meander lazily across the landscape, punctuated by waterfalls. Of interest, the High Force waterfall nearby Middleton-in-Teesdale is actually the largest unbroken fall of water in England
Head out to the coast and an equally dramatic landscape awaits, with rugged cliffs and grass-topped headlands. A stroll along the coastal path might take you to Seaham, a small town with a harbour and one of the most ancient churches in the country, thought to date back to the late 7th century.
There is another side to the county that has less to do with its industry or landscape and more to do with its turbulent past. The city of Durham boasts a historical pedigree to rival all others. County Durham is the Land of the Prince Bishops and was a powerful force back in medieval times, with the city of Durham still ranking as the jewel in its crown.
Today, thousands of visitors come to the city to soak up the atmosphere. Few fail to step through the doors of Durham Cathedral, which it is claimed is the most visited attraction in the whole of the North-East region. Listen carefully and you might even pick out the occasional upper-crust accent of a student at Durham's prestigious and ancient university.
County Durham Information and Fast Facts
- Country: England
- Region: North-East England
- Population: approximately 520,000
- County administrative town or city: Durham
- Biggest town: Darlington
- Language: English
- Area: 1,030 square miles / 2,670 square kilometres
Map of County Durham