Whether you’re planning a seaside day trip or a weekend getaway, we’ll show you how to soak up the best of Durham's coast with our handy 48 hour guide – highlighting our top picks of things to see, do and eat. 

view of boats in Seaham Marina on a sunny day with lighthouse in background

Day One 

The lively harbour town of Seaham is an excellent starting point for exploring Durham’s magnificent coastline. Here you’ll find the county’s one and only marina, overflowing with delicious eateries and quaint seaside shops, alongside East Durham Heritage & Lifeboat Centre and Seaham Harbour Activity Centre, where you can take to the water to paddle bord, kayak or canoe. 

1101 - sculpture of a world war two soldier with sun set and sea in background

Must visit sites in Seaham include Eleven-O-One aka Tommy – a 9ft 5inch tall sculpture of a soldier from the First World War standing on guard at Seaham seafront. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin, dating back to the 7th century, is one of the oldest churches in England. And only a stones throw away is Seaham Beach, which is world-famous for its abundance of sea glass. 

Time your visit right during the summer and you can spend the day tickling your tastebuds at the annual Seaham Food Festival, which takes place every summer. 

The fab foodie festival will be returning in 2021 on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 August with a host of tasty treats from over 100 traders and local producers, plus live demonstrations from famous TV Chefs, amazing family entertainment, outdoor theatre, live music and more! 

couple walking into Dalton Park shopping outlet centre

On the outskirts of Seaham you’ll find Dalton Park – the region’s biggest outlet shopping centre. A haven for bargain lovers, you can save up to 50% off high street prices with over 60 shops selling over 200 brands, from high street favourites to designer labels. 

Head south from Seaham town centre and you’ll join onto the 11 mile Heritage Coast Footpath, taking you to Nose’s Point, Hawthron Dene (the county’s second largest dene) and Easington Beach Banks, which have emerged from the industrial past to become a haven for wildlife, internationally acclaimed for its rare fauna and flora. 

couple overlooking Nose's Point on the Durham Heritage Coast

Take in dramatic panoramic views across the North Sea, whilst you enjoy a bracing clifftop stroll through magical wildflower meadows and grasslands, teeming with life. Keep an eye out for skylarks, little terns, grey partridges, and the rare brown argus and dingy skipper butterflies.  

End the day at Horden by hopping on a bus or catching a train from the newly opened train station back to Seaham or your evening accommodation.  

Aerial shot of Seaham Hall hotel and grounds with North Sea in background

Where to Stay?

From luxurious spa breaks, to cosy glamping spots and welcoming guesthouses, you’ll find lots of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets along the Durham Coast. 

Enjoy 5-star luxury at Seaham Hall, surrounded by 37 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens on cliff tops overlooking the coast, this 5* luxury hotel is home to an award-winning spa and restaurants. Relax in the tranquil Serenity Spa and sample the very best British and Pan-Asian cuisine in the Dining Room or vibrant Ozone restaurants. 

The stylish Seaton Lane Inn is known locally for its delicious home-cooked menu. The traditional village pub offers up mouth-watering pub grub alongside refurbished boutique style bedrooms, perfect for a relaxing night after a day exploring the coast.   

View more accommodation on the Durham Coast >

castle eden dene viaduct

Day Two 

Kickstart day two at Castle Eden Dene - a favourite destination for wildlife as well as walkers. Thousands of years in the making, this Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserve is crying out to be explored. Roughly halfway on the Heritage Coast footpath, Castle Eden Dene offers a change of scenery with plenty of woodland to explore across 500 acres. You’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from civilisation as you wander amongst majestic yew trees and ancient oaks. Keep your eyes peeled for resident woodland creatures.  

Apollo Pavilion, Peterlee

Don't miss the Apollo Pavilion at Peterlee. Named after the Apollo space programme - the Apollo Pavilion is located in the Sunny Blunts Estate at Peterlee. Designed by abstract artist and architect Victor Pasmore, the pavilion (which is both a sculpture and bridge) was completed in 1969 and given Grade-II status in 2011. 

couple walking through the sea caves at Blackhall Rocks Beach

Follow the footpath through Castle Eden Dene until you reach the sea once more and from there follow the clifftop footpath along to Blackhall Rocks and Cross Gill Nature Reserve. A real hidden gem on the Durham Heritage Coast and a must-visit spot, especially for birdwatchers. The cliffs and coast feature natural exposures of reef-limestone set down 250 million years ago, making the perfect home for breeding skylarks. 

Blackhall Beach has been transformed from the bleak industrial landscape it once was (famously featured in the final scene of ‘Get Carter’ starring Michael Cane in 1971) to a beautiful stretch of clean and quiet coast. Be sure to head down and explore the rocky beach, where you’ll find the largest cliff caves in Durham’s magnesium limestone coastline.

crimdon dene beach on a sunny day

Your final stop for the day is the golden sands of Crimdon Beach, the perfect backdrop for a picnic or refreshing plogde. Situated at the southern end of Durham’s Coast, this long, pleasant stretch of sandy beach is also home to the Durham coast's only sand dunes. Every year Crimdon welcomes back one of the rarest seabirds, the Little Tern, who returns every year to breed from West Africa.  

For more information about Durham’s coast visit our dedicated explore Durham Coast page. 

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