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Durham Land of the Prince Bishops

Explore the historic city of Durham, home to the iconic Durham Cathedral and Castle, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites that create a breath-taking cityscape. Discover landmarks like the Botanical Gardens, Beamish Industrial Museum, Bowes Museum, Auckland Castle, and the enchanting waterfalls at Low and High Force.

  • England

  • 7 nights
  • Half Board
  • Culture

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Adagio Collection

The perfect blend of guided shorter walks, sightseeing trips, and quality accommodation for a more leisurely way to discover the world.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore Durham's best kept secrets.
  • Discover Durham Cathedral and Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Walk among bluebell woods and botanical gardens.
  • Wander around the famous High and Low Force waterfalls.
  • Step back in time at the Beamish Industrial Museum.

Discover the captivating allure of Durham, home to the iconic Durham Cathedral and Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that graces the city with one of Europe's most breathtaking panoramas. Recently emerging from its well-kept secret status, Durham has become a sought-after destination for a leisurely escape, drawing visitors with its inherent charm and beauty.

Our centrally located medieval hotel in the heart of the city allows for an immersive experience, exploring Durham's treasures predominantly on foot, eliminating the need for additional transportation. During our three-day exploration of this medieval gem, we'll meander along picturesque riverside footpaths, unveiling the city's hidden gems on a guided walking tour. Nature enthusiasts will relish a delightful excursion to the Botanical Gardens, winding through enchanting bluebell woods when in season.

Delve into Durham's industrious past at the Beamish Industrial Museum, gaining insight into the city's historical significance. For art connoisseurs, the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle awaits with its impressive collections. The well-preserved Bishop’s Palace at Auckland Castle invites admiration, surrounded by expansive grounds and a deer park.

No Durham visit would be complete without a leisurely stroll to the mesmerizing waterfalls at Low and High Force. Immerse yourself in Durham's rich history, artistic wonders, and natural beauty, making the most of our guided tour that unveils the city's myriad delights beyond its renowned landmarks.

  • En suite four-star hotel accommodation on a half board basis.
  • All local transport required for the itinerary.
  • All entrance fees as noted in the itinerary.
  • All local tips.
  • Services of an Adagio Tour Leader.
  • Personal Expenses (such as your bar bill).
  • Lunches.
  • Discretionary Tips.
  • Optional Excursions.
  • Travel Insurance.

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Tour Codes

50020

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

Arrive at the Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County where you will be greeted by your Adagio leader. Check in is from 3pm. 

When you arrive at the hotel, why not check out afternoon tea here or at Tealicious on Elvet Bridge?

Day 2

Discovering Durham

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    Sightseeing hours

  • Distance

    Minimal miles

This morning you explore some of Durham's secrets with a local guide. Durham is a city full of the remains of mediaeval times, from bridges to fortifications, to narrow streets (called “vennels"), to mysterious bricked up doorways. No wonder that it provided many settings for the Harry Potter films.

In the afternoon you will have a guided tour of Durham’s magnificent Cathedral. The Norman cathedral is set on a rocky promontory next to the Castle with the medieval city huddled below and the river sweeping around. Durham's massive pillars, its stone-vaulted roof (the first in Christendom) and its beautiful rose window led Bill Bryson to describe it as "the best cathedral on Planet Earth". After that you can visit the Cathedral's treasures housed in the most intact monastic buildings in the country.

Day 3

The Bishop's Palace

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Distance

    3 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    125m

Today you will visit Bishop Auckland, The Bishops' Palace has been recently renovated through the generosity of the philanthropist, Jonathan Rutter. This has rejuvenated the local area and you will be shown round the Palace by a designated route with guides in each room. Among the highlights of the Palace are Zurbaran's paintings of Jacob and his 12 sons in their original setting, the largest private chapel in Europe and rooms illustrating the lives of the bishops who lived here. 

The Bishops' deer park has always been open to all and we can explore its delights on a walk. Or if you have not had your fill of art, you can visit the Mining Art gallery. 

Day 4

Waterfalls and Castles

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Distance

    3.7 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    105m

Today you head for Teesdale and the market town of Barnard Castle. There you have a guided tour of the Bowes Museum, a French chateau in the Durham countryside, built by John Bowes to house his French wife's incredible art collection which includes many automata like the famous Silver Swan. If you have not had your fill of the museum, you can spend the rest of the day there, otherwise you can head further up Teesdale so that you can enjoy the scenic delights of walking along an easy stretch of the Pennine Way from Low Force to High Force. 

You walk over the Wynch Bridge, a footbridge used by miners, past waterfalls used as the backdrop to the film 1917, and see lots of unusual wild flowers, which may include the Teesdale pansy.

Day 5

Along the banks of the Wear

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    3 or 6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    130m

Durham's riverbanks with their unusual "oxbow" formation are the setting for this morning's walk. You walk from the hotel to see Durham's medieval bridges, its weirs, its riverside sculptures, the Little Count's house and his noisy neighbours, the ducks. This is a figure of eight walk so you can choose the 3 mile or the 6 mile version. 

In the afternoon you visit Durham Castle, once the home of the Prince Bishops, but now a college of the University. You can visit the dining room where students are fed from kitchens which still feature medieval hearths. You can see the Black Staircase and, maybe ... its ghost. The Norman chapel is one of the most peaceful spots in Durham.

Day 6

Beamish Industrial Museum

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    Sightseeing hours

  • Distance

    Minimal miles

Today you go to Beamish, a most unusual open-air museum. Its creator, Frank Atkinson, inspired by Scandinavian folk museums, had the vision, more than 50 years ago, to collect relics of the North East's industrial history before they were destroyed, to dismantle them and transport them brick by brick to Beamish, the site of a one-time colliery. Now you can visit a 1913 colliery village complete with drift mine, prize leeks and proggy mats or a town of the same era with buildings including a fearsome dentist's, a pub (still serving pints) and a sweet shop (still serving cherry lips and barley sugar twists). There is a farm, two railways, a manor house from 1825. The latest venture is a 1950s area. You can walk round the extensive grounds or take a trolley bus or tram. All this complete with locals playing the parts of the homeowners or workers of the time - a truly living museum!

On the way back to the hotel, your driver will aim to pass by the Angel of the North statue. Since it spread its wings in 1998, it has become one of the most talked about and recognisable pieces of public art ever produced. 

Day 7

Bluebell Woods and Botanical Gardens

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Distance

    4.2 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    185/225m

Today you walk 1.5 miles from the hotel through the ancient bluebell woodlands of Maiden Castle to the Botanical Gardens where you can meet a gardener. The University Botanical Gardens specialises in conservation and biodiversity. It is also the home of many quirky sculptures, bird hides, a small flock of rare breed sheep which graze the arboretum and wild flower meadows and a prized victoria amazonica. You'll discover why anyone would want to find out the best conditions for growing Japanese knotweed. 

In the afternoon you can choose to visit the nearby Oriental Museum or you can complete the circular walk back to the hotel. 

Day 8

Departure day

Meals

Breakfast

Your holiday comes to an end and your leader wishes you farewell after a leisurely breakfast. Check out of the hotel is by 12pm. 

Departure dates for your selected tour

10th Apr 2024 - 17th Apr 2024 (7 Nights)

29th May 2024 - 5th Jun 2024 (7 Nights)

15th Jul 2024 - 22nd Jul 2024 (7 Nights)

4th Sep 2024 - 11th Sep 2024 (7 Nights)

Travel Details

To reach the hotel ...

By Road -  Directions from the A1 north or south - Follow signs to Durham and take the A690 into city centre. Continue straight through the first roundabout and at the second roundabout turn left. Turn left again at the traffic lights and the hotel will be on the left. 

Parking - There is limited parking in the hotel car park which is charged by the hotel at £11 per vehicle, per night.

By Rail - The nearest railway station is Durham Station 15 minutes' walk from the hotel. It will cost approximately £5 in a taxi to reach the hotel from the station, or if you prefer to walk, turn right outside the station and soon left down some steps. Then right over the footbridge and left down the road then an alley to cross the main road. Cross the river on the main road and straight on under the road bridge and past the car park. Turn right at the lights to go over New Elvet Bridge and the hotel is at the junction to the left. 

By Air - The nearest airport is Newcastle Airport 25 miles away.

Check in - You can check into the hotel from 3pm. Should you arrive earlier we cannot guarantee your room will be ready. If you arrive before 3pm you can of course check in and the hotel will happily store your luggage for you.

Route planning to and from Durham: 

The AA and RAC both offer free and detailed on-line route planning facilities on their websites which may help you find the hotel. 

An excellent website to assist in your travel plans is Rome2Rio.

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County

The 4 star Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County is tucked within the historic city centre of Durham in a perfect location on the banks of the River Wear. Scenic views of the river, Durham Castle and the Cathedral can be enjoyed from some rooms. Hearty breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday price and are taken at the hotel. 

Having recently been refurbished, all bedrooms have en-suite, hair dryer, TV, Wi-Fi (£10 per day), safe and tea and coffee making facilities. Even though Wi-Fi in your bedroom is chargeable by the hotel, free of charge Wi-Fi is available in the lobby and public areas of the hotel. Room service is available upon request. The hotel also has a fitness club with gym equipment. 

Locally in the city centre you will find everything else you could possibly need during your stay including supermarkets, ATMs and pharmacies.

The hotel has a car park however it is a paid parking area. There is limited overnight residents parking at £11 per vehicle per night.

Please note that this hotel is centrally located and as with many city centre hotels, bedrooms can be on the small side. Please do not expect large bedrooms for two people. Some rooms will have views across the city, whilst others will have views of the car park. Due to the location, some rooms can be noisy from road noise outside. Being so central, this hotel is in a perfect location for our holiday programme, however these points should be considered. 

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

To fully enjoy the walking on this holiday you should be able to walk along uneven undulating paths at about 1½ to 2 miles per hour for distances between 5 and 7 miles broken into two or three sections, with walks lasting up to a total of 5 hours.

Local Costs

Holiday Budgeting

As you plan your holiday budget, it's essential to account for expenses such as drinks, meals not covered in the holiday price, entrance fees not included, optional local excursions, and any souvenirs or additional services like laundry. For a rough estimate, budgeting around £10-£20 per person per day for lunches and drinks is a helpful guideline.

Local Transport Costs

We include the local travel costs using private hire coaches when necessary. 

Our Adagio Leader will arrange everything. You just need to be at the right place at the right time.

Tipping

In your holiday price, we've included tipping for our local suppliers, covering hotel and restaurant staff, local guides, and drivers. Should you wish to make an extra contribution for a specific service, this should be given directly to the recipient at your discretion.

Your Group

Your Leader

Your tour leader plays a crucial role in enhancing your holiday experience, and they share your passion for exploring the world on foot. In addition to being resourceful and organized they are also well-travelled and deeply enthusiastic about showing you new destinations. Your tour leader takes care of all the local, ensuring you can fully enjoy your holiday without worrying about the logistics. While leading group holidays, they always keep in mind that each group is composed of individuals. Each tour leader brings their unique style, talents, and professional background to the table. Rest assured, they are all trained, qualified, experienced, and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting, and inspiring as possible. Remember, your leader, while on holiday, is your first port of call for any issues, ensuring a smooth and worry-free experience for you.

Leaders Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will meet with you to review the programme for the next day. This is your chance to discuss details and ensure that the planned activities align with your walking ability. If you have any concerns about clothing or equipment, feel free to bring them up during this discussion. If, for any reason, you prefer not to participate in the organized group program, please inform your leader. Your preferences are important, and your leader is there to make sure your experience aligns with your expectations.

Local Guides

Visiting historical sites, churches or museums are much more rewarding with a local guide. They give an insight to the local culture, language and traditions and can bring a destination alive. Many of our Adagio holidays include a knowledgeable English speaking guide on at least one of the days. Please refer to your daily itinerary to see where a guide is included.

Group Size

We believe that the best things come in small packages, and our Adagio holidays prove just that. We limit our groups to a maximum of 18 persons, plus the Adagio Leader, so that everyone has the opportunity to mix, share their love of travel and return home with new friendships. Small groups also have less detrimental local impact, allows us to use public transport on some days, eat at small local restaurants and, we believe, offers a better experience.

Travel Plans

Getting to your Holiday

To reach the hotel ...

By Road -  Directions from the A1 north or south - Follow signs to Durham and take the A690 into city centre. Continue straight through the first roundabout and at the second roundabout turn left. Turn left again at the traffic lights and the hotel will be on the left.

Parking - There is limited parking in the hotel car park which is charged by the hotel at £11 per vehicle, per night.

By Rail - The nearest railway station is Durham Station 15 minutes walk from the hotel. It will cost approximately £5 in a taxi to reach the hotel from the station, or if you prefer to walk, turn right outside the station and soon left down some steps. Then right over the footbridge and left down the road then an alley to cross the main road. Cross the river on the main road and straight on under the road bridge and past the car park. Turn right at the lights to go over New Elvet Bridge and the hotel is at the junction to the left. 

By Air - The nearest airport is Newcastle Airport 25 miles away.

Check in - You can check into the hotel from 3pm. Should you arrive earlier we cannot guarantee your room will be ready. If you arrive before 3pm you can of course check in and the hotel will happily store your luggage for you.

Route planning to and from Durham: 

The AA and RAC both offer free and detailed on-line route planning facilities on their websites which may help you find the hotel. 

An excellent website to assist in your travel plans is Rome2Rio.

Personal Details Check

To ensure the accurate administration of your holiday arrangements, kindly verify that the personal details we have for you are current and correct. Confirm that you've given us all the necessary information for securing your travel and accommodation. Please review your passport details, date of birth, and any other pertinent information crucial for the management of your holiday.

Additionally, please make us aware of any dietary allergies or intolerances you may have. Your well-being is important to us, and this information will help us make appropriate arrangements for your meals during the trip.

You can access and update the provided information or add missing details through the "Manage My Booking" feature on our website at www.rambleworldwide.co.uk. Alternatively, reach out to our Sales and Reservations team at +44 (0)1707 331133. Upon receiving your booking confirmation, promptly check the details. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable holiday experience.

Meals

Breakfast and dinners are taken at the hotel. As well as continental you can also enjoy a hearty English breakfast, just right for setting you up for the day. Dinners consist of three choices per course including a vegetarian option and tea and coffee. The hotel prides itself in its food being prepared from fresh, local ingrediants.

Packed lunches are not provided to allow for flexibility, however your leader will be able to advise you on the closest place to buy provisions.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Comfortable, broken in, walking boots or shoes with a good sole are recommended for this holiday. Walking shoes or other comfortable footwear will be suitable for sightseeing days.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun screen
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the days activity)
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Reusable Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)

This list is not exhaustive and every traveller is different and may have their own preference.

Holiday Specific Kit

In addition, we recommend that you bring a flask with you on your walks each day. Due to the time of year, it is sensible to bring a hot drink out with you to help keep warm.  

Water To Go

Opting for filtered water from a reusable bottle with its built-in water filter, like the Water-to-go bottle available at www.watertogo.eu, is a sustainable alternative to single-use sealed water bottles. Simply refill it from any water source and contribute to saving the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

Exciting news: Water-to-go has introduced two new bottles to their collection. The Active bottle is designed to fit bike water bottle holders, and the Sugarcane bottle is an even more planet-friendly option. Crafted from fibrous cane, a by-product of liquid extraction, it undergoes a process to create plant-based plastic. Explore the details on the Water-to-Go website for this innovative new range.

As a token of appreciation for your commitment to the environment, we've secured an exclusive 15% discount with Water-to-Go for you. Visit www.watertogo.eu and use the code RWH17 during your order.                        

Note: If you're booked on a long-haul holiday departing after November 1, 2023, you'll receive a complimentary Water to Go bottle, sent to your home address 2 or 3 weeks before your holiday. Thank you for being a part of our sustainable journey!

Travel Document Checklist

To ensure your holiday gets off to a good start, please make sure that you bring the following documents and information with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday currency
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Maps & Guidebooks

The Map Shop

If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:

The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
WR8 0HJ
England

Tel: 01684 593 146
Website: www.themapshop.co.uk
E-mail: themapshop@btinternet.com

If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.

Staying Healthy on Holiday

Further Health Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

It’s a condition of booking that you obtain adequate travel insurance, from a reputable provider, to undertake the holiday, including UK trips chiefly due to the cancellation element of cover.

The policy must cover the period from the date of booking to the last day of your trip and should include, as a minimum, cover for: medical expenses (including the consequences of a Covid positive test result), mountain rescue including helicopter rescue, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and shall not have exclusion clauses limiting cover for the activities you will partake in on your trip, including altitudes reached in the holiday arrangement. It is your responsibility to check that your policy is adequate for the nature and destination of the holiday booked.

Once you have obtained your travel insurance, please provide us with the name of your travel insurer, the policy number and the insurer’s 24 hour emergency assistance number.

In the event that you fail to obtain suitable Travel Insurance we shall not be liable for any costs incurred or claims made against us due to your failure to comply with this term.

If travelling outside the UK you must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested to do so by RWH Travel staff, tour leaders or suppliers. No refunds will be made should you be excluded from the walking programme through being uninsured or you being unable to demonstrate that you are insured.

Our house broker MPI should be considered for whom we are an affiliate and contact information is on our website and will be referred to in your booking confirmation.

If you are travelling to an EU country or Switzerland please also ensure that you have either an existing valid EU EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) or a valid UK GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). You can apply for a UK GHIC free of charge on the NHS website at https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/cra/start.

Our Ethos

Responsible Travel

We are dedicated to promoting responsible travel practices that prioritise the well-being of both the environment and local communities. We believe in the transformative power of travel and aim to minimize our ecological footprint by selecting eco-friendly accommodations, encouraging waste reduction, and supporting sustainable transportation options where possible. Our walking tours are designed to immerse participants in the local culture, fostering meaningful connections with the communities we visit. We strive to leave a positive impact by engaging in responsible tourism activities, respecting local customs, and contributing to the preservation of natural landscapes. Through our commitment to responsible travel, we aim to create enriching experiences for our guests while actively contributing to the conservation of the destinations we explore.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. 

The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust

Unlike many other tour operators, we take pride in our unique approach. Ramble Worldwide channels its surplus profits back into various outdoor, walking-related, or environmental conservation projects in the UK through our own trust. When you choose us, you contribute to this impactful initiative.

The primary focus of our Trust's financial support is directed towards Britain's premier walking charity, The Ramblers. They play a crucial role in advocating the benefits and significance of walking to the British public. Additionally, our Trust invites applications for small grants from local organizations in the UK that require support for walking-oriented activities. This encompasses initiatives such as establishing footpaths and bridleways, funding for the reconstruction of bridges and refurbishing huts, and bursary funding for organisations that support individuals to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors..

For more comprehensive details, please visit the 'About' section on our website and click on the Charitable Trust link. Your choice to travel with us goes beyond a memorable vacation; it contributes to meaningful projects that have a positive impact on our community and environment.

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