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Durham Land of the Prince Bishops

Easy walking discovering the cultural heritage of Durham

  • England

  • 7 nights
  • Half Board
  • Apr

    Jun

    Jul

    Sep

  • Adagio

Tour codes: 50020

Book now from £895

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Adagio

Our range of Adagio leisurely walking holidays and sightseeing tours are designed at a slower pace than the average Ramblers Walking Holidays, perfect for those who would like to slow things down but keep active. 

Overview

Durham’s delights were a well-kept secret until recently. The city is home to one of the most recognisable landmarks in the U.K, the majestic Durham Cathedral. Together with Durham Castle, this UNESCO World Heritage site forms one of the most stunning city panoramas in Europe. We spend three days exploring this medieval city and its riverside footpaths including a walk to the Botanical Gardens through delightful bluebell woods. 

We also discover Durham’s industrial heritage at the Beamish Industrial Museum and marvel at the philanthropic donation of millions of pounds to renovate the Bishop’s Palace at Auckland Castle and its grounds and deer park - where we can also walk. 

No visit to Durham would be complete without a walk to visit the waterfalls at Low and High Force, followed by a visit to the Bowes Museum with its famous Silver Swan at Barnard Castle. Our hotel, in the medieval city centre, enables us to do much of our programme without requiring the use of transport.

  • Services of a dedicated Adagio leader
  • All local transport costs
  • All entrance fees
  • Half board accommodation in a four star hotel
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

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

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.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.

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 3 pm. 

When you arrive at the hotel, why not try out its fabulous pool with Durham’s riverbanks opposite its floor-length windows? Or check out afternoon tea here or at Tealicious on Elvet Bridge?

Day 2

Discovering Durham

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

This morning we 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 we 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

  • Distance

    3 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    125m

Today we 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. The Spanish Art Gallery should also be open in 2021.

Day 4

Waterfalls and Castles

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Distance

    4.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

Today we head for Teesdale and the market town of Barnard Castle. There we 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, we 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. We 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 wildflowers, which may include the Teesdale pansy.

Day 5

Along the banks of the Wear

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

Durham's riverbanks with their unusual "oxbow" formation are the setting for this morning's walk. We 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 5km or 8 km version (50m. ascent). In the afternoon we 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 that 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

Today we 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 around 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!

Day 7

Bluebell Woods and Botanical Gardens

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Distance

    4.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    140m

Today we walk 2.5 km from the hotel through the ancient bluebell woodlands of Maiden Castle to the Botanical Gardens where we can meet the Head 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 wildflower meadows and a prized Victoria Amazonica. You will 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 Adagio leader wishes you farewell after a leisurely breakfast. Check out of the hotel is by 12 pm.

Departure dates for your selected tour

6th Apr 2022 - 13th Apr 2022 (7 Nights)

1st Jun 2022 - 8th Jun 2022 (7 Nights)

13th Jul 2022 - 20th Jul 2022 (7 Nights)

7th Sep 2022 - 14th Sep 2022 (7 Nights)

21st Sep 2022 - 28th Sep 2022 (7 Nights)

Travel Details

To reach the hotel ...

By Road  If travelling by car, please be aware that due to essential maintenance work, the New Elvet Bridge will be closed to traffic from the 20th July 2020 for the duration of 14 months.

During this time, please follow the directions below:

TRAVEL FROM THE SOUTH:

Follow the A1(M) and take exit 61 (Bowburn Services)

Take the 2nd exit onto Durham Rd/A177

Continue to follow the A177 for 3.5 miles, passing through High Shincliffe & Shincliffe Village, past Houghall College.

At the roundabout take the 3rd exit for Whinney Hill and continue past HMP Durham.

Continue straight ahead onto Old Elvet and then turn right onto Territorial Lane and then left onto Elvet Waterside and you can enter the car park using the 2nd entrance on the left.

TRAVEL FROM THE NORTH:

From the North leave the A1M at Junction 61 and take the 4th exit.

Continue on the A177 for 3.5 miles, passing through High Shincliffe and Shincliffe Village past Houghall College and at the next roundabout take the 3rd exit for Whinney Hill and continue past HMP Durham.

Continue straight ahead onto Old Elvet and then turn right onto Territorial Lane and then left onto Elvet Waterside and you can enter the car park using the 2nd entrance 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.

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 four-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 an en-suite, hairdryer, 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.

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

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.

Walks & Excursions

We use a mix of privately hired vehicles, taxis, and public transport which gives us some flexibility in our itinerary. We have a wonderful programme of walking, sightseeing and visits planned to let you fully experience the area along with opportunities to relax at our wonderful hotel and enjoy your surroundings.

Local Transport Costs

We include the local travel costs using private hire coaches each day. 

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

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

Local transport costs, entrance fees and tips to local providers are included in your holiday price. You may wish to budget for any meals and drinks not included in the holiday arrangements, non-included entrance fees and any optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Tipping

We include tips in the holiday cost and your Adagio Leader will take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers.  If you feel that someone has gone out of their way to make your holiday enjoyable or help you in anyway, please feel free to give a personal tip to the person should you wish. If you are having an independent lunch or other service not included in the holiday arrangements, tipping is at your own discretion.

Your Group

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.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

An Adagio Leader will accompany you throughout the holiday. They are all experienced travellers with a love for exploring and will help capture the true essence of the destination with their stories, knowledge and insights.  They are well-organised, pay great attention to detail and enjoy being with people.  They are there to help make your holiday as enjoyable and stress free as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Your Adagio Leader will discuss the programme for the following day with the group at each evening briefing. This will be your opportunity to find out more details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. Also, if you have any questions or concerns on clothing or lunch arrangements, this can be discussed then. If you wish to opt out of the organised group programme, this is fine, just let your Leader know.  

Your Travel Details

To reach the hotel ...

By Road  If travelling by car, please be aware that due to essential maintenance work, the New Elvet Bridge will be closed to traffic from the 20th July 2020 for the duration of 14 months.

During this time, please follow the directions below:

TRAVEL FROM THE SOUTH:

Follow the A1(M) and take exit 61 (Bowburn Services)

Take the 2nd exit onto Durham Rd/A177

Continue to follow the A177 for 3.5 miles, passing through High Shincliffe & Shincliffe Village, past Houghall College and at the roundabout take the 2nd exit down Hallgarth Street and at the traffic lights continue down the hill on New Elvet. At the traffic lights in front of the bridge turn right into Old Elvet and left into Territorial Lane. One on Territorial Land turn left onto Elvet Waterside and you can enter the car park using the 2nd entrance on the left. and then left onto Elvet Waterside and you can enter the car park using the 2nd entrance on the left.

TRAVEL FROM THE NORTH:

From the North leave the A1M at Junction 61 and take the 4th exit.

Continue on the A177 for 3.5 miles, passing through High Shincliffe and Shincliffe Village past Houghall College and at the roundabout take the 2nd exit down Hallgarth Street and at the traffic lights continue down the hill on New Elvet. At the traffic lights in front of the bridge turn right into Old Elvet and left into Territorial Lane. One on Territorial Land turn left onto Elvet Waterside and you can enter the car park using the 2nd entrance 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.

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

Please ensure that the personal details we have on file for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. 

Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to accurately manage your holiday booking are correct at the time of booking (including health and dietry requirements). You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.adagio.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 386700. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for United Kingdom

Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.

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 because everyone is different but your leader will be able to advise 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

We recommend you bring the following items with you:

  • Walking boots or shoes with a good sole and waterproof uppers. 
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers. It does rain sometimes!
  • A sunhat, fleece hat and gloves… to cover all weather eventualities.
  • Sun cream. 
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Swimwear in case there is time for swimming if the hotel has a pool
  • A water bottle.  (see Water-to-Go below)
  • A picnic knife, fork and spoon, as required.
  • A simple basic first aid kit.
  • A daypack to hold all the above.
  • Trekking poles (if you usually walk with poles)

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • 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)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

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: [email protected]

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.

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel 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

Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.

Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

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. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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