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Durham and the North East, The Reclaimed Coast

Learn about the industrial heritage of small mining towns and enjoy unique flora and fauna as you explore this largely undiscovered coastline.

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Day 1

Durham Heritage Coast

Start exploring the Durham Heritage Coast. Originally an important coal mining area, the coastline is now internationally important for wildlife. Coastal Magnesium Limestone outcrops have generated unique flora and fauna ideal for exploring on foot. Discover more about the industrial heritage of this part of the coast at Horden Heritage Centre. Overnight in Seaham or Seaton.

Day 2

Durham Heitage Coast

Spend the morning in Seaham, a lively harbour town offering spectacular cliff-top views. 

Visit the World War One “Tommy” art installation, the pre-Viking St Mary the Virgin church and head to Durham’s only marina, with its heritage and visitor centres. Seaham Harbour Activity Centre offers a range of activities including kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and much more. 

Go on to the picturesque Castle Eden Dene, a peaceful National Nature Reserve with 550 acres of natural woodland and 12 miles of footpaths and home to more than 450 species of plants and wild flowers, many of which are typical of those found in ancient woodlands that date back to pre-medieval times.

Play hide and seek at Blackhall Rocks. Famously featured in the final scene of ‘Get Carter’ starring Michael Cane in 1971, Blackhall Beach has been transformed from its industrial past to a stunning coastal stretch. Here you’ll find the largest cliff caves on Durham’s magnesium limestone coastline, bring the kids for the perfect session of hide and seek!  

Day 3


Drive down the coast to Redcar, just over six miles away. Stroll along Redcar’s Esplanade and indulge in the local lemon-top ice-cream before reaching Majuba Beach, popular with dog walkers, horse riders and kite surfers. If you’re lucky, you might catch a music festival here. 

The vast sands are popular with families but if you’re seeking a quieter stretch of sand, venture two miles south to Marske-by-the-Sea. 

After lunch, wander along to Kirkleatham Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts housed in a beautiful 1709 Queen Anne building. Take in the collection of industrial, maritime historical exhibits, there are plenty of exhibitions, family events and musical performances occurring year-round. You can explore the museum and plan your visit ahead with an online virtual 360 degree tour. 

The house sits in beautiful grounds and features a woodland trail suitable for all ages and those with access difficulties.  

Just a 10-minute drive away is the lovely market town of Gisborough. A short walk from the High Street, which offers a vibrant mix of independent stores and eateries, you’ll find the dramatic ruins of Gisborough Priory, founded n 1119. The remains of a 14th century church stands guard over the town, the surrounding woodland gardens make a relaxing sanctuary. 

Day 4


Tour the Victorian spa town of Saltburn-by-the Sea. Spend the morning at the blue flag beach which offers plenty of attractions, stroll past the traditional beach huts and pier which stretches some 200 metres out to sea, the only remaining pier in the whole North East and Yorkshire coast. Be sure to take a ride on The Saltburn Cliff Tramway, this water-powered cliff lift is the oldest still operating in the UK. 

Enjoy lunch at any one of the lovely Saltburn pubs, cafes or restaurants in the town.  

Spend the afternoon in the Saltburn Valley which dates back to the 18th century when it echoed to the strains of smuggling gangs who stole their way through the densely wooded network of tracks. 

Today the gardens are carefully tended, with huge formal displays and steep grassy banks. Take one of the circular walks through the woods, enjoy the Italian gardens, woodland centre and Saltburn Miniature Railway, open in summer, and take a break at the tea rooms. 

Stay overnight in Saltburn, there’s plenty of choice for very budget, from cosy B&Bs and hotels to yurts and shepherd’s huts. 

Regional Airports: Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley

Trains every half hour from central London to Durham (3 hrs) and every hour to Hartlepool (3 hrs 30)

Three coaches a day from central London to Durham (7 hrs) and two a day to Hartlepool (7 hrs)

Daily overnight ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle