Durham is the culture county, and the place to be this summer with a wonderful mix of fun activities. 

Are you looking for fun activities or searching for things to do now that the summer holidays are upon us? Check out our guide to 10 unmissable activities happening across the culture county.  

From exploring the mysterious and unexplained to honing your battle skills and spotting butterflies and bumblebees. It’s all happening in Durham!

Women hula hooping in front of 1950's Welfare Hall at Beamish Museum

1950s Activities at Beamish Museum

Throughout the summer in the1950s welfare hall at Beamish – The Living Museum, of the North, there will be fun activities each day to get involved with. On Mondays, explore the mysterious and unexplained with the1950s Beamish UFO club. On Tuesdays and Fridays, you can put your knowledge to the test and take part in the 1950s-style quiz at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm. On Wednesdays, find out about the birth of the NHS – you can even bring along a teddy bear or doll to be weighed in the baby clinic! Explore 1950s peace protests and marches on Thursdays, and on weekends there will be range of activities, from bands and choirs to youth clubs.

When? Until 30 August
Where? Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, Beamish, DH9 0RG

A young boy dressed in Knights clothing

Knight School - Auckland Castle

Meet Anthony Bek: Crusader, Knight, Prince Bishop, and King in the North.  Join his ranks for an interactive outdoor session, hone your battle skills, and find out what life was like in Medieval Auckland. Recommended for ages 5 – 11. All children must be accompanied by an adult throughout the activity.

When? Various dates at 11am, 1pm, 2.30pm
Where? Auckland Castle, The Auckland Project, Bishop Auckland, DL14 7NR

A young family looking at an old train

MOVE IT! at Locomotion

Explore the past, present, and future of railways with Locomotion’s free, family-friendly summer events. Each week of the holidays you can explore a different area on the theme of movement with a range of fun, science-packed activities recommended for children aged 5–11 (and their grown-ups) to enjoy, including self-led activities, guided workshops, storytelling and Explainer sessions.

When? Until 3 September
Where? Locomotion, Dale Road Industrial Estate, Shildon, DL4 2RE

A installation of a large world hanging in Durham Cathedral

Gaia Family Activities – Durham Cathedral

Gaia is a giant seven-metre diameter illuminated globe installation, giving everyone the unique opportunity to gaze up at Earth as you walk around the artwork in the stunning cathedral setting. This summer, get the whole family involved with earth-themed and sustainable craft activities including creating animal origami and learning more about the world we live on with a free activity sheet.

When? See Gaia every day from 10am – 4pm until 10 September
Where? Durham Cathedral, Durham City, DH1 3EH

A young girl having fun near High Force Waterfall

Butterflies and Bumblebees - High Force Waterfall

Embrace the beauty of nature with the new Butterflies and Bumblebees trail at High Force this summer. Set off on an adventure through the woods, to High Force Waterfall, looking out for the different butterflies and bumblebees along the way. Collect the letters and unscramble the word. Do you know the butterflies and bumblebees favourite flower at High Force? Please note the trail follows the circular woodland walk at High Force.

When? Daily
Where? High Force, Alston Road, Forest In Teesdale, Barnard Castle, DL12 0XH

Young girls sitting at a table drawing

Stay & Play - The Bowes Museum

Time for children under 5 to explore and play in the galleries of The Bowes Museum whilst investigating materials and being creative in this self-led, free-play session. Included in Membership & Day Tickets.

When? Every Thursday morning until 31 August
Where? The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, DL12 8NP

3 young boys laid on the grass with books over their faces

Durham Children's Book Festival

2 days of fun book-themed events to encourage youngsters not only to read, but also to write, to create and to illustrate with inspiration for all young people from early years to teens.

When? 24 – 25 August
Where? Market Place, Durham, DH1 3NJ

A microphone with a festival audience blured in the background

Derwent Fest

A weekend festival of live tribute music, food and drink, and children’s activities and entertainment, set in the stunning location of Derwent Waterside Park. Bring all the family, including the dog, and enjoy some fun, quality time together.
Day and weekend tickets are available, along with camping or motorhomes for one night or all weekend. Day tickets start from £10 per adult, with couples and family options available. Grab your tickets today.

When? 25 – 28 August
Where? Derwent Waterside Park, Edmundbyers, DH8 9TT

A Viking reeanactment

Viking Takeover at Ushaw

Brand new for 2023, during the August Bank Holiday Weekend, Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels and Garden will be invaded by fearsome Vikings!

Across the weekend you'll be able to enjoy an exciting programme of events and activities including combat demonstrations, acted scenes and stories from the past, and missile and archery displays. Children can also become a ‘Kiddie Vike’ as they take part in shield wall drills to send the Viking warriors packing.

When? 26 – 28 August
Where? Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels and Gardens, Durham, DH7 7DW

Pens of sheep at an agricultural show

Wolsingham Show

Celebrate the county’s farming life at Wolsingham Show, England’s oldest and Durham’s biggest open-air Agricultural show. A jam-packed weekend of family-friendly entertainment.

Saturday is Agricultural Day and there's always lots to see and do including the craft tent, show jumping - major classes, donkey rides, vintage vehicles, birds of prey display, dog agility show, artisan food market, live music, Strongman competition and much more.  

Sunday is Country Fair day and amongst the many great things to see and do are the KC dog show, ferret show, horticulture, alpacas, ponies, show jumping, marquee displays, vintage vehicles and much more.

When? 2 - 3 September
Where? Wolsingham Showground, Durham Road, Wolsingham, DL13 3JG

Visit our dedicated What's On Guide to discover more exciting events taking place across the county this summer.




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