Known as the gateway to Weardale, Bishop Auckland is a bustling market town in the Vale of Durham, standing high above a meander in the River Wear with commanding views of the surrounding countryside.
Walk from the town centre straight into the beautiful grounds of the magnificent Auckland Castle, the country residence of the Prince Bishops for more than 900 years. And don’t miss the annual Bishop Auckland Food Festival which takes place in the castle grounds every April. (Castle currently closed for major restoration, however you can still visit St Peter’s Chapel at weekends)
Surrounding the Castle are the 800 acres of the Bishop’s Deer Park – a great place for a summer picnic or an autumnal stroll through vividly coloured parkland.
The town is set for major developments over the next few years, with a new welcome building at Auckland Castle, a new Museum extension, an institute of Spanish art and culture, and the redevelopment of the 17th Century Walled Garden which will feature stunning new glasshouses providing ‘garden rooms’ restaurant and event spaces.
The town burst into life in 2016 as Eleven Arches presented the first season of ‘Kynren – an epic tale of England’ – the £31 million open-air live action spectacular that attracted more than 100,000 visitors during the summer. Kynren returns in 2017 to take audiences on an epic storytelling journey through 2,000 years.
Bishop Auckland’s historic town centre has a thriving arts and cultural offering, with the Bishop Auckland Town Hall home to a superb library, cinema, theatre and arts complex. Plus, the town has more than 200 shops – head for Bondgate for boutiques and specialist shops that you won’t find on the high street.
And after a busy day, sample the delights of one of the many cosy cafés to help keep the energy levels up!
A mile from the town are the remains of Binchester Roman Fort, home to the best preserved Roman military bath house in Britain. And at Escomb, you can see one of the finest examples of early Christian architecture in Northern Europe at the restored 7th Century Escomb Saxon Church.
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