The Auckland Project is unique collection of heritage attractions, galleries, gardens and parkland in Bishop Auckland, at the heart of County Durham.
Bishop Auckland, the former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham, has a rich history spanning over 2,000 years. Thanks to a decade-long regeneration programme, this historic market town is ready to share its surprising story and is once again welcoming visitors from far and wide.
The Auckland Project’s group of attractions include Auckland Tower, Auckland Castle, the Mining Art Gallery, the Spanish Gallery, the Walled Garden and the Deer Park, with more attractions to follow in the future.
Begin your visit at Auckland Tower at the heart of the Market Place, where you can learn more about the fascinating history of Bishop Auckland, enjoy panoramic views across Auckland Castle and the town, and purchase tickets for The Auckland Project’s attractions.
Auckland Castle is one of the best-preserved Bishop’s palaces in the whole of Europe – home for a thousand years to England’s only Prince Bishops. Nowadays you can make yourself at home in this unique castle, home to one of the finest sets of Zurbarán paintings in the world. Beyond the pageantry of the recently restored Georgian state rooms you will discover the lives of Auckland Castle’s most recent occupants, the characterful and often controversial Bishops of Durham.
Auckland Castle sits at the heart of 150 acres of historic parkland, created over 800 years ago by the Prince Bishops of Durham as their own private hunting ground. Today, the parkland enjoys free entry throughout the year and is a haven for wildlife, with over 100 veteran trees. The Gardens surrounding Auckland Castle are also being restored to their former glory. The lower part of the 17th-century Walled Garden is now blooming and ready to welcome visitors, while the regeneration work on the upper Walled Garden continues.
The Spanish Gallery is unique in Britain, telling the story of the Spanish Golden Age in the 16th and 17th centuries. With exhibitions spread over four floors, you could spend a whole day immersed in the curious world of Spanish art, including works by El Greco, Velázquez and Murillo.
The intimate and awe-inspiring art collection in The Mining Art Gallery gives a unique insight into the lives and souls of coal miners and their communities, showing how human creativity and spirit can shine even in the darkest places. The Mining Art Gallery provides a permanent home for the renowned Gemini Collection of Mining Art, featuring works by prominent local artists, such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish.
After a busy day exploring The Auckland Project’s attractions, refreshment awaits in the Bishop’s Kitchen at Auckland Castle or El Castillo in the Market Place. Expect delicious homemade food and the freshest produce, hand-picked from Auckland Castle’s very own Walled Garden.
The Auckland Project’s visitor attractions exist to make Bishop Auckland a better place to live, work and visit. By visiting The Auckland Project you will be part of this story, helping to build a bright future for Bishop Auckland.
- VAQAS VB Attraction
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Very Good134
- Delius17LondonFascinating placeThursday, 28th September 2023Stunning building. Such a contrast to the rest of Bishop Aukland… We loved the kitchen garden- it’ll be a work of art once it’s finished. The interiors of the castle were interesting in that you... Read full review
- sheepygoldlondonTrip Type:CouplesAn excellent attractionSaturday, 14th October 2023We came a couple of years ago and now have an annual pass so used it today. The chapel has been renovated and there seem to be more rooms open now. The Zurbaran paintings are obviously a highlight... Read full review
- Caron NPreston, United KingdomInteresting and well laid-out piece of history.Friday, 27th October 2023Not the best day to visit weather-wise as we took it in turns to walk the dog round the Deer Park while the other one went round the Castle, but well worth a visit. The rooms are well laid out and... Read full review
- Access Statement - Please see below
|2022 (27 Jan 2022 - 18 Dec 2022)|
|2023 (22 Feb 2023 - 31 Mar 2023)|
* General Opening Text
Map & Directions
Nearest major road is A1(M). From the A1(M) take the A689 to Bishop Auckland.
Public Transport Directions
Nearest station is Bishop Auckland Station. Proceed along Newgate Street to the Market Place and castle is through clock tower gate in far corner of the square.