Go wild in Durham with our top picks of family friendly outdoor activities. 

No matter what the weather or time of year you choose to visit, you're guaranteed a wild time in Durham! 

wild outdoor activities to do with the kids in county Durham

Build a sandcastle at the sandy Crimdon Beach on the Durham Heritage Coast. Did you know from the 1920s miners from across the region visited Crimdon for their annual summer holidays?! 

Climb to the top of Auckland Tower in Bishop Auckland and enjoy views across the deer park and surrounding countryside. What will you spot from the top? 

Enjoy a refreshing dip in the North Sea at Seaham Marina Activity Centre with paddle boarding or sea kayaking. Seaham Marina is also home to a fantastic range of cafes, restaurants and shops, making it a great place to spend the day. 

Enjoy the view as you paddle down the River Wear in the Durham Dales and North Pennines AONB with Weardale Adventure Centre. Throughout the year Weardale Adventure Centre offer a wide range of outdoor activities in enjoy including gorge walking, trekking, caving and camping! 

outdoor activities in county Durham including High Force Waterfall

Feel the force at High Force, one of the highest waterfalls in England! High Force Waterfall is surrounded by the stunning countryside of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it the perfect spot for exploring further afield and a spot of wildlife watching.

Follow the trail at the Bowlees Visitor Centre to Summerhill Force and Gibson’s Cave, named after a 16th Century outlaw. Throughout the year children can get up close and learn about the natural world with a packed programme of exciting events. Also the beautiful Low Force Waterfall is only a short walk away from the visitor centre. 

Get your adrenaline pumping on one of Hamsterley Forest’s many mountain bike and family friendly bike trails. Did you know there are over 33 miles of way-marked trails and countless more miles of forest roads to explore on two wheels or feet in Hamsterley Forest?! 

Go on the hunt for world-famous Seaham Sea Glass (also known as mermaid tears) along the many sandy beaches at Seaham. To read our top tips for finding sea glass click here >> 

hunting for wildlife and other wild activities in County Durham

Go wildlife spotting with the Land of Oak & Iron Wildlife Group. Bursting with acres of beautiful natural woodland and rich in wildlife, the Land of Oak & Iron has so many interesting places to discover in the Derwent Valley. 

Grab a bow and arrow and give archery a go at Holmside Park. Known as the home of adventure in Durham, you'll be spoilt for choice of what to do next at Holmside Park - indoor soft play, inflatable obstacle course, ziplines, football pitch and much more! 

Got a head for heights? Learn how to abseil on Moor House Activity Centre’s 20-foot abseiling tower. Found on the outskirts of Durham City, Moor House provides adventure activities for all ages and abilities to enjoy. 

Pick up a rod and catch a tiddler at Derwent Waterside Park. Derwent Reservoir is one of the biggest inland waters found in England, where you'll find a whole host of outdoor activities to enjoy - walks, sailing, play park, cycling, wildlife watching and you can even sign up to fishing lessons. 

indoor and outdoor family friendly activities in county durham

Hit the track at Top Gear Karting – the perfect rainy day activity. Top Gear Karting is known as one of the finest indoor karting experience in North East  England.     

Pick up some seeds at Hardwick Park Visor Centre and feed the park’s resident ducks. Hardwick Park, found in the Vale of Durham is a wonderful place to visit any time of year, with picnic spots, children's play area, dog walks and relaxing cafe. 

See how many red and fallow deer you can spot in Raby Castle’s 200 acre Deer Park. Set in the heart of the Durham Dales, the magnificent Raby Castle gives visitors a fascinating insight into more than 600 years of history with castle tours, medieval walled garden and walking/biking trails to discover. 

See if you can spot the famous red squirrels at Killhope. Found high up in the Durham Dales, Killhope is a multi-award winning museum where visitors can experience the life of lead mining families in the Victorian Era, but is also well known as a must-visit site for wildlife watchers. 

day and night you will always have a wild time in county durham

Spend a night under the stars and catch a glimpse of the milky way at one of the North  Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Dark Sky Discovery Sites. There's over 16 to choose from, more than anywhere else in the UK! 

Take on the challenge of the Beamish Wild treetop adventure. A thrilling high ropes course guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping with zip-wires, rope bridges, swinging tires and powerfan free-fall. 

Test your outdoor skills and build a raft at The TCR Hub. There's a whole host of exciting outdoor activities you can enjoy in the grounds of The TCR Hub, Barnard Castle including kayaking, canoeing, high ropes and archery. 

Trek through the stunning scenery of the Durham Dales with your very own Alpaca. At Teesdale Alpacas you can enjoy family friendly treks as you guide your very own Alpaca and even buy products made from Alpaca wool. 


Are you and your family going to go out and explore Durham's great outdoors?> Be sure to snap some pictures and share them with us for your chance to win one of five VIP Passes, which gives you free access to the county's top attractions and activities. 

  • Snap some photos of you and your family completing one of the 20 wild activities from our downloadable Wild Things Guide (see link to download below).
  • Upload the photos onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  • Tag us @thisisdurham and use the hastags #thisiswild #thisisdurham before 31 May 2019. Winners will be contacted directly on social media. 

Click here to download our wild guide to Durham >> 




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