20 Best County Durham Villages, England

County Durham is a North Eastern county based around the ancient city of Durham. It’s just above Yorkshire, but below the better known county of Northumberland.

It’s a tough place and has in recent years suffered from the decline of the mining industry.

Here are what we reckon to be the best County Durham villages, many with a link to a former coal mine.

Gainford

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Gainford on the bank of the Tees River and located half-way between Darlington and Barnard Castle.

Prepare to be met with beautiful Georgian-style houses as well as Victorian-origin architecture.

Some notable residents include Charles Bunagy Fawcet, noted as one of the founders of British Academic Geography Modern.


West Auckland

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The historical buildings in West Auckland were built as early as the 17th century.

West Auckland has one of the largest green spaces compared to other villages in Durham County.

It’s home to the famous Auckland Castle, an incredibly well-preserved palace, one of the most well-preserved in Europe to date.

West Auckland holds one of the largest Chapels in Europe, St.Peter’s.


Castle Eden

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One of the most scenic villages in County Durham, Castle Eden is home to a nature reserve with approximately 450 different species of birds, plants, deer, and foxes.

Visitors can book a tour to see Castle Eden, which was built in the 1700’s.

What’s even better is booking a stay in one of Castle Eden’s historic rooms for a lovely bed and breakfast.


Beamish

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Beamish has become one of the more popular places to visit, known for its open-air museum, The Beamish Museum.

Travel back in time to everyday life in rural north-east England at the height of Industrialisation.

You can go just south of Beamish to a village called No Place, and visit a real-ale, award-winning pub, The Beamish Mary Inn.


Staindrop

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England is full of history and Staindrop in County Durham is no exception.

The village of Staindrop is quite large and is situated about 6 miles north-east of Barnard Castle.

The village has two schools, one academy, and a secondary school for young children.

Several amenities include a tea house, the famous SPAR food and retail shop, hairdressers, and several getaway cottages for your next holiday.


Teesdale

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Great for the budget traveler and still not short on historical sites and beautiful scenery.

You can gaze in wonder at the largest waterfall in England, known as The HIgh Force, derived from the Nordic word “foss”, or waterfall.

For the art lovers, Teesdale is home to The Bowes Museum, full of artwork, design, and fashion.

You can take a peaceful stroll around the surrounding gardens and green space.


Aycliffe Village

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Located immediately south of Newton Aycliffe, Aycliffe added ‘village’ to its name in 1948 to easily distinguish it from the new town, or Newton Aycliffe.

The village amenities include a primary school, a hair salon, and two local pubs.

Several houses date back a few hundred years.


Deaf Hill

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In this village you will find modest cottages, and a mixture of new and old buildings.

While the origin of the name Deaf Hill is mostly unknown, its alternative name is Trimdon Station.

The name is thought to have once been Death Hill, which dates back to local legend.

The story is a grim one, but like many old legends, it probably changes with each generation.

Trimdon Station has a lively community center, hotels, and scenic parks.


Summerhouse

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Summerhouse is located in the Darlington borough and is home to The Raby Hunt, a Michelin Star-rated restaurant.

The Michelin Guides are guide books published by the Michelin tire company–they are highly regarded and have been around since 1904.

Summerhouse is quiet and serene with the exception of the Raby Hunt Pub, a lively eatery known for luxurious dining and internationally inspired cuisine.


Blackhall Colliery

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Located between Hartlepool and Horden, Blackhall Colliery, as its name suggests, was built around a robust mining industry, which closed in 1985.

Blackhall Colliery has seen enough economic hardships, but don’t let it discourage you from visiting this unique village.

There are plenty of attractions for the whole family, such as river cruises, museums, and art galleries, in addition to modestly priced hotels nearby.


Blackhall Rocks

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The village of Blackhall Rocks sits on the coast of the North Sea, between Horden and Hartlepool, south of its adjoining neighbor, Blackhall Colliery.

Locals refer to Blackhall Rocks simply as, The Rocks.

If you’re looking for a place by the beach, then you will find a beautiful natural coast as well as a nature reserve.

Visitors love to get away and have a picnic, or walk around to enjoy the view.


Crimdon

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Crimdon is a neighbour to Blackhall Rocks, situated by the North Sea.

Crimdon was once a top getaway for local families and has since become more popular with foreign travelers.

The holiday resort is owned by Parkdean Resorts, a large operator in the U.S.

Some resort facilities include a clubhouse, bar, swimming pool, and a restaurant.


Tanfield

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Another former mining village in County Durham, with a rich history.

You can hop on the world’s oldest railway, The Tanfield Railway, or visit the church of St.

Margaret of Antioch, which was built in the 18th century.

For poetry lovers, pay tribute to the memorial of the famous poet, Tommy Armstrong.


Trimdon

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Trimdon Village is located west of Hartlepool and adjacent to Deaf Hill.

Visit the Saint Mary Magdalene Church, which was built around 1145 AD.

There are several restaurants to go to serving traditional British as well as Indian dishes and desserts.

You can visit local pubs and cafes as well.


South Moor

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The Village of South Moor is well developed, containing 12 shops on its main road.

The landscape is green with some areas heavily wooded.

The village has parks, libraries, a golf course, as well as a sports and community club.

Visit South Moor Park, or play a game on the bowling green or on the tennis court.


Thorpe Thewles

20 Best County Durham Villages, England 1

The village dates back to the 12th century and is located in the Stockton-on-Tees Borough in County Durham.

You can stay at a warm bed and breakfast at the charming Thorpe Thewles Lodge, built from an old-timey farmhouse, and then visit the Thorpe Thewles planetarium, located at Wynyard Woodland Park.


Brancepeth

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The village of Brancepeth sits between Durham and Weardale, famed for St.

Brandon’s Church, notable for its brilliant 17th century architecture and woodwork.

Golf enthusiasts can visit the Brancepeth Castle Golf Club, considered the finest in England’s north-east.

Additionally, Brancepeth has several restaurants and pubs within a 5-mile distance.


Sacriston

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The village of Sacristion sits about three miles north of Durham city. The first settlement dates back to the 13th century and is known to locals as Segga.

Sacriston’s final coal mine closed in 1985 and the village today is known for its strong community.

You can visit its flourishing community, browse the local shops, or stop in for a pint at the local pub, The Crossroads Inn.


Lanchester

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Located 8 miles to the west of Durham, Lanchester is a residential village with many estates built since the 1960s.

Lanchester is home to St. Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College.

Amenities include the Lanchester Library, the Lanchester Community Center, and also pubs, including the King’s Head Pub.


Darlington

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Not really a village – it’s one of the more populated towns in County Durham – Darlington, is also home to the first steam-powered locomotive railway, the Stockton and Darlington railway.

Known as a historic market town, you can find a weekly outdoor market, plenty of shops, art galleries, a fitness center, and restaurants.