When it comes to Durham, no one knows the county better than the people who live here. That's why we asked Durham's residents to share with us what they love about our amazing county, to uncover Durham's many hidden gems. 

Whether the rain is pouring or the sun is shining, you're certain to find something to do in Durham. Check out the guide below for places to explore during a rainy day that locals love. 

Exterior shot of Auckland Castle on a sunny day

Auckland Castle

Part of The Auckland Project, Auckland Castle is the former home of the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham. Discover hundreds of years of history hidden within the walls, and walk the northern corridors of power and let the Prince Bishops tell you their stories.

people walking into durham castle

Durham Castle

Part of the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site, and together with Durham Cathedral forming one of the most stunning city panoramas in Europe, Durham Castle was built in the 11th century on the order of William the Conqueror. Now a college of Durham University, take a tour to discover the fascinating history of this Norman fortress. 

man and woman walking past Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

One of Britain's best-loved buildings, Durham Cathedral together with Durham Castle forms Durham's world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. A building certain to take your breath away, step inside to discover incredible architecture, fascinating history, and a blockbuster film location or two!

family looking at exhibition inside Oriental Museum

Durham University Oriental Museum

The Durham University Oriental Museum is another hidden gem loved by locals, and the only museum of its kind in northern England. Discover world-class collections from North Africa to Southeast Asia, and watch out for the ancient Egyptian mummy.

lanchester garden centre

Lanchester Garden Centre

Not just a garden centre, but a great day out for the whole family. In addition to plenty of plants for the green-fingered, you’ll find a restaurant serving delicious dishes, children’s play area, aquarium and tropical village.

family walking through locomotion museum


Head to the world's first railway town, Shildon, to discover the important role Durham played in the development of the railways at Locomotion. Packed with highlights from the national collection of railway vehicles, a visit to this fascinating museum will get you on the right for a great day out.

views of seating area inside Odeon Luxe Durham Cinema

Odeon Luxe Durham

Relax and recline in luxury surroundings at Durham City’s Odeon Luxe cinema, where every seat, in every row, is the best seat in the house. Every single seat within the state-of-the-art cinema has been handmade, giving film lovers a truly immersive experience.

woman sat in outdoor swimming pool at Seaham Hall spa

Serenity Spa at Saham Hall

Perched on a clifftop, overlooking the dramatic Durham Heritage Coast, Seaham Hall Hotel makes for a truly luxurious coastal escape. Locals love a good old pampering session in the award-winning and 5-star bubble rated Serenity Spa, where you can ease away your aches with a special treatment and zone out in the outdoor Zen Spa Garden.

couple walking through gallery at bowes museum

The Bowes Museum

The North's Museum of Art, Fashion and Design. The Bowes Museum is a building as breathtaking as the exhibits within. Stroll through stunning themed galleries displaying paintings by Old Masters, textiles and ceramics, and watch in awe as you see the magical movements of the Silver Swan, which has been charming its audience since the 1700s.

man looking at artwork inside Mining Art Gallery

The Mining Art Gallery

Part of The Auckland Project, this stunning gallery showcases works by prominent artists, many of whom were local to the area, including Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish. Get a truly unique insight in to the life of the coal miner, above and below ground.

exhibitions inside Weardale Museum

Weardale Museum

Another hidden gem loved by locals, the Weardale Museum is surrounded by stunning Durham Dales scenery and is dedicated to preserving the heritage of Weardale and its people. Step inside this volunteer-run attraction where the history of this special place is brought to life.

View more things to do on a rainy day in Durham.  




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