As another year comes to an end, we're also looking forward to an exciting year ahead in Durham.

From new openings, to incredible stays and amazing days out, let our guide to 24 unmissable things happening in Durham next year help inspire you!

photo collage of New Hall at Locomotion, 1950s Town at Beamish Museum, The Rising Development at Raby Castle and Redhills, Durham City

1. New Hall Locomotion

As the countdown to the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025 continues, there’s lots of new developments to enjoy at Locomotion, including New Hall, set to open in spring 2024. 

When it opens, New Hall will house around 50 additional vehicles, meaning Locomotion will be home to the largest collection of historic railway vehicles under cover on one site anywhere in the world—and the largest museum collection of rail vehicles in Europe!

2. Remaking Beamish 

The exciting ‘Remaking Beamish’ developments coontinue at Beamish Museum in 2024, with a host of new exhibitions and buildings opening, including a Georgian tavern and pottery; a 1950s cinema, toy shop and electrical store; and Georgian accommodation, which will allow people to spend the night at Beamish Museum for the first time! 

3. The Rising at Raby Castle 

Raby Castle are writing the next chapter of history, with an exciting new attraction 'The Rising' which will restore the estate's magnificent historic spaces into a destination with a difference. 

Due to open spring 2024, the Rising will include a reimagined walled garden and new Vinery Cafe Restaurant, a stylish and airy recreation of the historic glass house which once stood on the same spot. 

4. Redhills Reopening 

Located in Durham City, Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) hall, known as Redhills, is a Grade II listed building which features the "Pitman’s Parliament" - one of the most outstanding examples of trade union architecture in Europe.

When Redhills reopens in autumn 2024 you can look forward to an improved visitor experience, including audio visual interpretation, ever changing exhibition programme, beautiful conference and wedding venue, and exciting event programme.

Photo collage of STACK development at Bishop Auckland, The Story at Mount Oswald, bluebell forest and family at the walled gardens Auckland Castle

5. STACK comes to Bishop Auckland

Over recent years STACK has popped up at various locations across the North East, and Bishop Auckland will soon be added to that list. STACK is due to open in spring 2024 on Newgate Street in the heart of the town centre. The two storey building with a roof terrace will house local independent food traders and bars, as well as live entertainment space.

6. The Story at Mount Oswald

The grade II listed Mount Oswald is currently undergoing restoration and will become the new home of Durham's registration services and also a state-of-the-art history centre. The Story will bring Durham’s fascinating history and heritage to life through historic records, photographs and objects, alongside exhibitions, activities and events. Opening date TBC. 

7. Springtime Wonders

After the long dark winter nights, it's always lovely to see the first signs of life starting to transform Durham's great outdoors. Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit Durham, and as the weather starts to warm up, spring is a great time to visit the county’s beautiful parks and gardens. You'll also find hundreds of miles of walking and cycling trails where you can soak up the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of spring.  

8. Glorious Gardens at The Auckland Project

The regeneration of Auckland Castle continues at The Auckland Project as three new gardens will open from June 2024. Connect with nature in the Wilderness Garden, pause and reflect in the Faith Garden, and meet Auckland Castle’s gardeners in the historic Walled Garden, which will feature a striking new glasshouse.

photo collage of Millburngate development at Durham City, Kynren outdoor performance, two people riding bikes in Durham Dales and Brass band in Durham City

9. Millburngate

Milburngate development on the banks of the River Wear, in the heart of historic Durham City is now complete. As well as office and residential space, you’ll find an amazing range of retail and leisure attractions to enjoy as you wander along the banks of the river. Stay over in the new Premier Inn hotel, tuck into delicious food at Bar + Block restaurant and catch the latest movie at Everyman cinema. Openings dates TBC.  

10. Kynren, An Epic Tale of England 

Travel through time and watch legends come to life at Kynren, An Epic Tale of England! This spectacular live-action extravaganza returns for an extended summer run in summer 2024. Voted one of the top 5 performances to see in the UK by Tripadvisor, Kynren will take you on a whistle stop tour of 2,000 years of history, myth and legend, every Saturday from 27 July to 14 September. A truly unique experience, not available anywhere else in the UK! 

11. Get Outside 

No matter what time of year you visit, Durham's great outdoors are a must-visit. As the weather warms up you'll find lots of wonderful places and activities to enjoy across the county.

The Durham Dales has plenty of space to explore, dotted with adventurous trails and incredible natural wonders including the mighty High Force Waterfall. The dales and Durham Coast are the perfect places for short strolls or long distance hikes overflowing with breathtaking views. From adrenaline pumping trails to shorter family friendly routes, you’ll also find exhilarating bike rides to enjoy in 2024

12. Live Music 

No matter what your taste in music is, you’re certain to find a festival, gig or performance that will get your toes tapping in Durham. Soak up the atmosphere as Durham City’s streets burst into life at Durham Brass Festival, and see top acts including Becky Hill, Snow Patrol and Richard Ashcroft at the 10th anniversary of Hardwick Festival 16 - 18 August.

photo collage - family sitting on sofa in Bowes Museum, group of people eating/smiling at Seaham Food Festival, family on Seaham Beach and man performing to crowd at Durham Fringe Festival

13. New Gallery Spaces to Explore at The Bowes Museum

In 2024 visitors will have even more to explore at The Bowes Museum, as four refitted gallery spaces are open alongside three new collection stores. Due to open in March, the new galleries are sure to feature an exciting programme of exhibitions and never before seen objects from the museum's vast collection. 

14. Fab Foodie Festivals

One of the region’s biggest and most popular food festivals - Bishop Auckland Food Festival, will be returning in spring, from 20 - 21 April. The town's streets will be transformed with a host of culinary delights, from top chefs and tasty demonstrations to fabulous local producers and delicious street food. Seaham Food Festival will also be returning in summer 2024, to take over the bustling seafront from 3 - 4 August with a fantastic weekend of food and family fun.

15. Summer Seaside Fun

Summers were made for the seaside, and along the Durham Heritage Coast you'll find lots of seaside fun to be had. From hunting for Seaham's world-famous sea glass and heading to the county's one and only Harbour Marina; to taking in the view along the cliff top walks of the heritage coast footpath, admiring the rare Little Turn and other incredible wildlife, or paying a visit to Dalton Park - the region's biggest outlet shopping destination. 

16. Exciting Events

No matter what time of year you visit Durham, you’re certain to find an event to entertain the whole family. Learn something new at immersive exhibitions at world-class attractions, join the celebrations at Durham Pride, be amazed by the incredible ice sculptures at Durham City's annual Fire & Ice Festival, and let Durham Fringe Festival entertain you from 24 - 28 July. 

Check out our dedicated what's on in Durham page for more event inspiration.

photo collage of crowd watching Durham cricket match, Durham Miners Gala street parade, whitworth hall hotel with deer outside and wolsingsham show

17. International Cricket Returns

International cricket returns to the Seat Unique Riverside ground for a summer of sporting action in 2024. England's Men's team take on Australia in the One Day International on 24 September. And England Women return to take on New Zealand during the ODI on 26 June. Tickets on sale now! 

18. Durham Miners Gala

The annual 'Big Meeting' takes place on the second Saturday of July every year. The annual gathering has been held on the second Saturday of July since 1871, and will return in 2024 on 13 July for the 138th time.

Soak up the atmosphere as the city’s streets burst to life with music and colour as the traditional colliery bands march towards the racecourse with their beautiful miner’s banners. After the parade, enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, speeches and delicious food and drink down on the riverbanks.

19. Whitworth Estate Reopening

The popular Whitworth Hall and Deer Park on the outskirts of Spennymoor will re-open in 2024 after undergoing an incredible transformation. The Grade II listed 17th century Whitworth Estate will re-open as a spell-binding luxury wedding destination. Set within the beautiful deer park, where guests will be able to enjoy stunning views and close up encounters with the resident deer.

20. Wolsingham Show

Did you know the Durham Dales is home to England’s oldest open air Agricultural Show? Wolsingham Show is a great way to really experience and celebrate the county’s rural way of life. Throughout the weekend families can enjoy an exciting array of countryside activities from fairground rides and donkey rides to over 100 rural trade stands, Artisan Food Market and much more! September dates TBC. 

photo collage of people attending event at Durham Book Festival, High Force Waterfall during Autumn, Grassholme Observatory, and Durham Christmas Market

21. Durham Book Festival

Founded in 1990, Durham Book Festival is one of the country’s oldest literary festivals and takes place every October, with in-person and online events. From homegrown talent to international bestsellers, visitors can discover new books and inspiring speakers across the weekend - October dates TBC. 

22. Amazing Autumn Colours

Soak up those stunning reds, oranges, and yellows as Durham’s great outdoors is transformed into a colourful kaleidoscope of dazzling displays. From High Force Waterfall, to Hamsterley Forest and Raby Castle, you’ll find lots of incredible outdoor attractions you can visit on an autumn escape in Durham. Across the county you’ll also find hundreds of lesser-known walks, rides and beauty spots you can explore filled with wonderful autumn colours.

23. Dazzling Dark Skies

Throughout the Durham Dales and North Pennines National Landscape you’ll find some of the darkest skies in the UK, making Durham the perfect place to enjoy a stargazing break. The winter months are peak stargazing season with crystal clear skies, but throughout the year you’ll find an amazing range of events and activities to enjoy. Head to Grassholme Observatory to get expert help when exploring the night sky, or time your visit right for the North Pennines Stargazing Festival - October 2024 dates TBC. 

24. Celebrate Christmas

From fun family days out and spectacular shows, to enchanting events, amazing attractions, and festive shopping, Durham has Christmas all wrapped up! The panto at Gala Durham will get you into the festive spirit Oh no it won’t, Oh yes it will! Durham City will be transformed into a winter wonderland with the annual Christmas Festival from 6 - 8 December, and there’ll be many other festive markets taking place across the county. 

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