There’s so much to explore from your door this autumn in Durham. From exciting outdoor activities, to spooky Halloween events and historic indoor attractions – There’s lots of places to spend quality time together and create lasting family memories this autumn. 

We’ve picked 10 awesome family autumn adventures to try out across the county. How many can you tick off together?

family walking in the Durham Dales

Autumn Walks

Nothing beats a good walk and Durham certainly provides plenty of wide-open spaces to explore this autumn. From wild woodland and country parks, to the Heritage Coast’s beautiful beaches and windy clifftop trails, or the Durham Dales breathtaking moorland. 

Why not pick a trail you’ve never been on before and see what you can discover? You’ll find lots of family friendly walking trails across the county, even the littlest of legs can enjoy.  

children collecting sea glass at Seaham, on the Durham Heritage Coast.

Collect Seaham Sea Glass

Wrap up warm and head to Seaham’s beautiful beaches where you can blow away the cobwebs on a refreshing seaside walk. As you walk along keep an eye out for the sparkling colours of sea glass hidden along the shoreline. It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained, and as Seaham’s beaches are dog-friendly too – even your furry friends can come along and help you search. 

Check out our handy guide to hunting for Seaham sea glass.

boy and girl playing on woodland play area

Explore Somewhere New 

Follow the path less trodden and discover somewhere new this autumn. From city, countryside to coast, Durham is filled with amazing hidden gems away from the bustling crowd crying out to be explored. 

Durham’s many towns and picturesque villages have lots of wonderful walks, cycling routes, beauty spots and lesser known attractions which make for great socially-distanced family adventures.   

children playing in autumn leaves, county durham

Get Creative 

There’s lots of ways to get creative in Durham’s great outdoors. Search for ‘autumn treasures’ such as pine cones, twigs, acorns and conkers as you explore the county’s wild wonderful woodlands. See what natural art you can create outdoors or collect colourful autumn leaves and make an autumn collage with them when you get home. 

two boys riding bikes in Hamsterley Forest, County Durham.

Go on a family bike ride

Autumn is a great time of year to get out on your bike, take in the ever-changing colourful landscapes and make the most of the cooler weather. Across the county you’ll find various cycle routes and mountain bike trails, suitable for all ages.   

Rookhope Arch with starry night sky

Go stargazing 

As the clocks go back and the nights get darker, earlier – Autumn is the perfect time of year to explore the wonders of the night sky. And in Durham you’ll be spoilt for choice of where to do this with 16 official dark sky discovery sites across the North Pennines AONB and Durham Dales choose from! Plus the newly opened Grassholme Observatory has a fantastic programme of family-friendly stargazing events happening throughout stargazing season.  

Children using the love exploring mobile app

Go Wild in Durham’s Great Outdoors

From collecting conkers, to making a huge pile of leaves to jump into. No matter what the weather brings our way there’s lots of ways to go wild and let off some steam in Durham’s outdoors. Wrap up warm, pull on your wellies and go puddle jumping, or even head out on a dinosaur hunt! 

Download the free Love Exploring mobile app and go on a dinosaur hunt at Wharton Park and Hardwick Park. The free app features digital treasure hunt, suitable for all ages. Catch all the dinosaurs and you can even grab a quick selfie with them!  

Halloween pumpkins

Spooky Halloween Events 

We may not be able to go tick or treating this year, but families can still have a Spooktacular time by celebrating Halloween in Durham. Try out creepy craft workshops or watch a scary film at the Hallloween Drive-In. Pick your own pumpkin to crave and take home or are you brave enough to follow the haunted woodland trail?

family watching steam engine at Beamish Museum

Step Back in Time

Across the county you’ll find lots of historic indoor and outdoor attractions to visit whether the sun is shining, or the rain is pouring. Explore the grounds of Raby Castle on a family walk, follow the downloadable family trail around Durham Cathedral, or get up close to historic engines at Locomotion. Experience Halloween celebrations of the past at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North or explore The Bowes Museum’s incredible collections and exhibitions. 

You could even explore somewhere new and visit one of the county’s lesser known heritage attractions like Binchester Roman Fort or Durham Town Hall. 

wild deer at Raby Castle, County Durham

Wildlife Watching and Bird Spotting 

Throughout autumn you'll find plenty of opportunities to see wonderful wildlife and natural spectacles. 

Head to Raby Castle to take in the magnificent sight of the wild deer rutting and watch the memorising displays of migrating birds at Derwent Waterside Park or Low Barns Nature Reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for grey seals and their pups along the Durham Heritage Coast or see what fabulous fungi you can spot growing along the damp woodland floor.

family enjoying breakfast in accommodation

Book an overnight stay

Bored of the same four walls? Enjoy an autumn escape from home and treat your family to an overnight getaway in Durham. Across the county you'll find lots of wonderful family-friendly accommodation, many of which have money-saving discounts to take advantage of throughout autumn.

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