Presentation Title

Presentation Description

Speaker Name,
Speaker Job Title,
Durham County Council


Highlighting the ambition DCC has for:

  • Supporting, sustaining and creating more and better jobs
  • Investing in the infrastructure that will provide the opportunity
  • Realising that ambition today and in the future
  • Opportunities for being part of ambition

Vision 2035 Objectives

More and Better Jobs

  • Employment sites
  • Strong, competitive economy
  • Broader visitor experience
  • Education, training and employment for young people
  • Help all people into work
  • Fewer people affected by poverty and deprivation

Long and Independent Lives

  • Best start in life for children
  • Young people with SEND achieving the best possible outcomes
  • A physical environment that is good for health
  • Better health and social care integration
  • People supported to live independently for as long as possible in their own homes

Connected Communities

  • Safe childhoods
  • Housing standards mantained or improved
  • Town and village centres will be vibrant, well used, clean, attractive and safe
  • Good access to workplaces, services, retail and leisure
  • Supportive communities
  • High-quality housing which meets the needs of residents

Crosscutting Areas / Planning Assumptions

Scope and Scale

  • Economy – £9 billion
  • Population – 530,100
  • Workers – 256,000
  • High Skilled People – 103,000
  • Self-employed – 34,000
  • Average Wages – £26,000
  • Students – 15,000
  • Businesses – 14,100
  • Total GVA in 2018 – £8.8 billion
  • Total number of homes in 2017 – 242,160
  • 40 multinationals invested in the county in the last three years
  • County Durham is a safe place to live, work and visit. The police authority is the only one rated outstanding.
  • Durham Castle and Cathedral UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • North Pennines AONB UNESCO Global Geopark
  • 20.13 million people visited Durham in 2019, up by 2.1% on 2018 (11.39 million visitors in 2020)
  • Visitor expenditure was £955 million in 2019, up 1.9% on 2018 (£506.75 million in 2020)
  • In 2019, the number of people employed supported by tourism is 12,133 (FTEs), up by 1.1% on 2018 (6,794 in 2020)

Employment Base

Start Ups and Enterprise

  • In 2019, 1,710 new businesses were created in County Durham
  • This was the highest amount of start ups in any North East local authority followed by Northumberland
  • This accounted for 17% of total start ups across the north east and 6% of the total business base
  • 92.7% of businesses survive past one year slightly higher than the north east and England rate

Closing the Gap

  • Economic output (GVA) has risen from £6.2bn to £8.8bn
  • Increase of £2.6m, 43% over 15 years
  • Still lagging national average by £3.2bn/yr

There are five objectives which will help County Durham to close the gap with the national economy, driven by more and better jobs

  • Maintaining the high level of well-paid and highly skilled manufacturing employment
  • Increasing business services employment, particularly higher skilled and higher paid employment
  • Increasing productivity of the workforce in both the public and private sector
  • Encouraging new employment, including new start and self-employment, to replace job losses with higher skilled job opportunities in growth
  • Providing young people and the unemployed with  better employment opportunities

Investment Plan

The ambition for County Durham is to build a successful and sustainable future in which all of our residents have the opportunity to access good housing and employment in an environment which delivers a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle.

  • £3.4 billion planned investment in the county
  • 30,000 new jobs by 2035
  • 305 hectares of land for strategic and general employment development
  • 25,992 new homes by 2035
  • Aykley Heads planned investment creating up to 4,000 private sector jobs
  • Circa 200,000 sq ft grade A office planned for Millburngate and the Fram Well
  • £700m investment by Durham University by 2027

Durham City

  • Durham University (£700m)
  • The Gates (£30m)
  • Milburngate (£160m)
  • Millennium Square (£18m)
  • North Road (£14m)
  • Shire Hall (£15m)
  • County Hospital (£17m)
  • University Hospital (£30m)
  • Claypath (£50m)
  • Aykley Heads (£290m)
  • DCC Headquarters (£50m)
  • Mount Oswald (£42m)

A1(M) Corridor

  • Forrest Park, Aycliffe (£153m)
  • Durham Gate, Spennymoor (£120m)
  • Spennymoor Town Centre (£17m)
  • Integra 61 (£115m)

A19 Corridor

  • Jade Business Park Enterprise Zone (£50m)
  • Peterlee Horden Railway Station (£10.5m)

Science & Innovation

  • NETPark, Sedgefield (£271m)


  • GlaxoSmithKline, Barnard Castle (£90m)
  • Genesis, Consett (£100m)
  • Beamish Museum, Stanley (£10m)

Aykley Heads


The vision is that Aykley Heads will become a highly attractive location for innovative and knowledge rich businesses. It will drive a step change in economic growth across County Durham, providing high quality jobs in growth sectors.

Aykley Heads covers 56 hectares and is set in mature parkland, providing an opportunity to create a totally distinctive business park for the North East.

The site is a short walk from the city centre and is adjacent to the main line train station, offering high-quality office space for Durham

The creation of the business park will provide 38,468 sqm of floorspace and will enable businesses to grow on the site.

The development of the whole site will support up to 4,000 new jobs boosting the economy by £400m

Growing fintech companies: Atom bank, Waterstons, Honcho and Tait Walker all based at Aykley Heads.

Aykley Heads will appeal to the low carbon economy, digital and creative industries.

These sectors are expected to continue to grow particularly as many Durham University students remaining in the region are employed in these industries.

Full permission for Phase 1 was approved December 2020

  • Construction of ‘Plot C’, the first building on the site has begun in March 2021with completion July 2022
  • The £12m building will provide 3,512 sqm of Grade A office space
  • Funded equally by Durham County Council and the Getting Building Fund managed by North East LEP
  • Providing needed flexible accommodation offering multiple or single occupation in a sought-after location
  • It will provide a stimulus for further private investment
  • Development of the main part of the site will begin in 2025

Jade Business Park


The newly completed Jade Business Park in Murton, near Seaham offers manufacturing and distribution opportunities on a fully serviced site next to the A19.

  • Enterprise Zone status
  • 55-acre site
  • Phase one offers seven new industrial units, totalling 155,000 sq.ft

Jade tenants include Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Europe (SEWS-E), innovative modular house builder Corehaus, solar power innovator Power Roll, architectural façade manufacturer ARGLA and RG Distributors Ltd T/A Catering leaving only one 11,195 sq ft unit which is under offer.

Phase one is now 93% let with only unit 4 remaining offering 11,195 sq ft of space

Jade Business Park offers qualifying occupiers a business rates discount which is worth up to £275,000 over a 5-year period of occupation.


  • 55-acre employment site
  • Excellent transport links next to A19
  • Will provide over one million sq ft of new employment space and over 2,500 jobs.
  • Prime location for businesses to establish themselves in Durham, for relocation and expansion.
  • Potential for £190m investment with £25m public funding

Integra 61


At Integra 61, Invest North East England says the development “provides the largest scale logistics and manufacturing development the North East has seen in a generation”.

A £189 million development at Junction 61 of the A1(M), it is the North East’s premier mixed-use logistics and manufacturing park. It is one of few locations in the UK able to deliver such large-scale buildings in addition to roadside and residential opportunities.

  • 83 hectare mixed use site adjacent to A1(M)
  • 4,400,000 sqft floorspace
  • 270 homes and retail/hotel/retail uses
  • 3,100 private sector jobs (Amazon with more than 1,000 jobs)
  • £150m boost to the economy

Citrus Group, owner and developer of Integra 61 has already attracted the online retailer Amazon, securing more than 1,000 permanent new jobs for the area.

Amazon’s new facility on the site is one of the UK’s largest logistics buildings. Opening its doors in September 2020 it has brought more than 1,000 new permanent jobs to the area.

The £5.5 million works have significantly improved access to the site and addressed longstanding congestion and safety issues. These improvements have been carried out by Durham County Council and jointly funded with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Highways England and Roadchef.

This strategically located development has the added advantages of being close to all main North East ports and also in close proximity to major local employers such as Nissan (NMUK), Hitachi, Caterpillar, NSK and Co-op.



Established in 2005 with over 200 acres of land owned by Durham County Council set aside for science and technology businesses with a primary focus on applications in the medical / pharmaceutical, defence, space and communications sectors. £5m of infrastructure works have been put in place

  • One of the UK’s premier science, engineering and technology parks for the commercialisation of cutting-edge
  • R&D for major international organisations, universities and entrepreneurs and currently home to over 35 high tech businesses employing 550 people


NETPark is the only UK science park to house two UK Catapult Centres

– North East Satellite Applications Catapult

  • stimulating the space sector in the region
  • helping businesses to identify commercial and research opportunities in a rapidly growing sector of the economy

– High Value Manufacturing Catapult managed by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)

Three national innovation centres on site, all managed by Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)

  • National Centre for Printable Electronics
  • Healthcare Photonics
  • Formulations Centre

All providing state of the art development facilities to enable companies to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes.

Durham University’s Centre for Advanced Instrumentation (CfAI) is based in the NETPark Research Institute.

CfAI is one of the major research groups in University’s Physics Department with an international reputation for the development, design and construction of state-of-the art instruments for optical and infrared astronomy.

The new Orbit Centre will house space for around 15 businesses. Businesses located at Orbit will have access to the University’s research expertise, support and learning, test facilities and collaborative working opportunities.

NETPark Phase Three


Acres of development land


public funding


additional Future jobs

NETPark Phase Three

Phase three offers high growth, innovative science, engineering and technology companies the opportunity to design and build their bespoke premises to grow at one of the UKs premier science parks.

With 26 acres of serviced development land available for businesses ready to commercialise and scale up their operations.

We are offering those located outside the area the opportunity to take advantage of the collaborative environment developed at NETPark, which includes our strategic partners Durham University and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

Forrest Park

Newton Aycliffe

  • New site adjacent to Aycliffe Business Park – combined, the two parks make the largest employment site in the North East (by land area)
  • Next to the A1(M), a £170 million expansion at Forrest Park
  • Investment opportunities include office, logistics and light manufacturing on a 54 hectare site
  • £1.75 million sq ft of industrial space
  • Potentially creating 3,280 private sector jobs
  • £153m boost to the economy
  • Logistics and light manufacturing

Aycliffe Business Park

Aycliffe Business Park is the biggest single employment area in County Durham and one of the largest business parks in the UK.

Some of the park’s biggest employers include high-profile businesses – Gestamp Tallent, Hitachi Rail Europe, 3M, Inovyn, Husqvarna and PWS.

While engineering and manufacturing remain at the core of Aycliffe Business Park, a number of new developments in recent years have brought dozens more SMEs from the services and leisure sectors to the park, creating a vibrant, busy employment hub and a wide variety of industries.

Located just off the A1 (M), Aycliffe Business Park is located at the heart of the North East with key road, rail, air and sea links on its doorstep.

Darlington train station is located just six miles away, providing direct and speedy rail links to London, Edinburgh and the rest of the UK.

Aycliffe Business Park is also just 11 miles from Teesside Airport, 18 miles from Teesport and 39 miles from Newcastle Airport.

Fintech and Digital in County Durham

‘An emerging cluster for FinTech firms’ the Kalifa Review

Our strategy is to

  • Support the businesses already here
  • Develop a proposition to grow our ecosystem
  • Support our future digital development plans

Our exciting plans to develop the County’s Digital and FinTech sector further building on our experience of supporting amazing organisations like Atom Bank to grow.


County Durham's FinTech Future

The new Aykley Heads Digital Business Park, providing a strong DigiTech hub – supporting scaling businesses, encouraging collaboration and with the University

Creation of a FinTech Accelerator and dedicated DigiTech incubation office space

A programme of mentoring and coaching to support the scale up of senior management

Collaboration with the FCA to create tailor-made FinTech regulatory support for the North, based in Durham.

Access to digitally focused city centre space at our exciting new Milburngate development.

Developing a business network, supporting connections and further collaboration with Dynamo, FinTech North, Innovate Finance formulating a FinTech cluster stakeholder steering group

Creating a digital hub business directory and marketing support for businesses in the sector, along with an events programme designed to showcase our businesses strongly

Our FinTech Landscape

Since 2014, the region has seen 1,742 technology start-ups creating 7,000 jobs in the digital sector. The region was the most represented region outside of London in the 2019 Tech Nation Fintech Programme with 13% of the cohort being North East based firms

Durham University

Teaching provision in computer science, mathematics, finance and accounting

Home to Durham University FinTech society and the Institute of Advanced Research Computing

A new £42 million Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science building with state-of-the-art learning, teaching and study spaces. With plans for both to more than double their undergraduate and postgraduate student numbers by 2026/27

Atom Bank

The digital bank, financial services provider and future unicorn chose Durham for its operations enhancing the North East FinTech offer for digital banking services

Access to technically skilled graduates from Durham and Newcastle University has been a really important factor in fulfilling their workforce requirements

Recently announced loans of £1bn to SMEs and is now recruiting for more talent to add to the team

Our FinTech Landscape

Home to the £30m National Innovation Centre for Data, co-funded by the Government and Newcastle University – addressing skills availability issues

fDi markets data shows County Durham, with Tyne and Wear are the top North East destinations for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) by financial services projects and for UK domestic projects across financial and professional business services according to data from Wavteq’s UK Investment Flow database

The Region’s sector comprises an estimated 58 firms, of which 31% are established FinTech companies, and there are an estimated 3,100 FinTech related roles contributing £171m to GVA in the North East

The North East has the only dedicated FinTech Cluster in the North of England, operated by Dynamo North East, a volunteer led NFP organisation aimed at growing the region’s IT economy

Advanced Manufacturing

Why choose County Durham for your advanced manufacturing business

  • 69,000 people employed in the North East’s advanced manufacturing sector (6% of the region’s workforce, 2nd highest of all UK regions)
  • £10.2 billion in advanced manufacturing exports from the North East in 2019
  • Significant cost savings for labour and property compared to other UK regions and global hubs
  • A variety of incentives
  • One-fifth of the cost of London for industrial property
  • 52,000 STEM students in the North East – 50% of its student population
  • 8.7% of students (10,000) in the North East study engineering and tech-related subjects –higher than any UK region
  • Over 140 undergraduate and postgraduate engineering-related courses in the area’s five universities, with 11 colleges offering over 300 advanced manufacturing-related courses

Advanced Manufacturing

County Durham and surrounding areas

  • UK’s leading region for advanced manufacturing FDI in per capita terms
  • Specialised research centres of excellence including:
    • Automotive & Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP)
    • Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)
    • Future Engineering, Informatics for business and manufacturing
    • National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation
    • National Institute for Smart Data Innovation (NISDI)
    • Technology Futures Institute
    • Transport Operations Research Group (TORG)
  • Industry support bodies and advanced manufacturing networking events
  • Specialism for precision engineering used in aerospace and automotive industries
  • 50% more capability in manufacturing than the English average


Over the past thirty years the North East has established itself as a centre of excellence for automotive manufacturing, producing:

  • 30% of all UK passenger vehicles
  • 20% of all electric vehicles across Europe
  • 10% of all UK non-highway vehicles
  • 350,000 engines per year

The area offers

  • The leading UK location for battery manufacturing
  • A world leader in power electronics, motors and drives
  • Globally competitive supply chain which consists of 31 tier 1 suppliers
  • A wealth of specialist SMEs
  • Several R&D centres
  • A strong business support network
  • A combined workforce of over 30,000 people
  • A turnover £11 billion per annum.

Aerospace and Defence

  • 3,700 workers are employed in secure well-paid jobs across the area
  • 150 employers in the region:
    • 50 manufacturing companies
    • 100 companies specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft

Major aerospace employers in the region include BAE and Rolls Royce

Sector generates £224 million in gross value added per annum in the area

Electronics & Engineering

  • County Durham is the largest employment cluster (1/4) of the 8,835 people employed in the sector in the North East
  • Four major manufacturing subsectors in the region:
    • Instruments and appliances for measuring, testing and navigation
    • Electronic components
    • Electric lighting equipment
    • Electronic and electric wires and cables
  • Combined they account for almost 60% of total electronics related employment within the region.

Life Sciences

  • Home to large life sciences companies: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), MSD and Piramal Pharma Solutions
  • The sector plays a significant role in the region’s economy:
    • Employing 3,853 people
    • 91 businesses
    • Combined turnover of around £616 million
  • The region’s largest sub-sector in the region by employment, number of companies and turnover is the biopharma service & supply sub-sector
    • 2,597 employees
    • 66 companies
    • £444million turnover
  • GSK’s site in County Durham is one of the company’s biggest secondary manufacturing sites, manufacturing HIV and respiratory drugs, two of the firm’s major focus areas
    • Employing 1,100 people
    • Supplying nearly half a million packs of products per day
    • To 140 global markets


  • The sector grew from 20 companies in 2010 to 60 in 2019.
  • 3,000 people employed in the rail-related industry
  • County Durham is the largest key cluster – 53.5% of North East rail employment
  • Home to two rail Original Equipment Manufacturers – Hitachi Rail and Vivarail

Hitachi, the first Japanese train manufacturer to enter the UK market employing around 1,200 staff
Building Azuma fleet and Lumo for East Coast Trains
Hitachi Rail are developing battery packs to offer emission-free power for battery trains in the UK

Vivarail based in Seaham refurbish London Underground network rolling stock adding green power trains.
The company’s upcycled D-Trains retain the bodyshell and bogies of the original vehicles,  fitted with modern engines and cutting-edge technology to create eco-friendly trains that have lower fuel consumption and low emissions

(Image courtesy of LNER)


County Durham has so much to offer:

  • Excellent connectivity by road and rail
  • High quality urban, rural and coastal environments
  • Good quality, value for money housing
  • A range of shopping, leisure and visitor attractions
  • Diverse range of jobs
  • Business and innovation support

We and our partners are investing more to make it even better

Durham University

£700 million masterplan expanding student numbers and creating 750 new jobs.

The Riverwalk

A mixture of retail, leisure and student accommodation.


Delivering 25,992 new high-quality homes by 2035 that meet the needs and aspirations of our residents.


Horden Railway Station

  • Rail industry projections suggest the station will see more than 70,000 passengers each year
  • Improved travel connections for leisure, employment and business opportunities
  • Providing a direct transport link to Teesside, Wearside and Tyneside
  • Enabling visitor to travel to the east of the county, whether for business or pleasure

£10.5m investment

New Elvet Bridge

Crucial repairs and maintenance to New Elvet Bridge in Durham City, an important link between the east and west sides of Durham carrying on average 17,000 vehicles a day.

Repairs and maintenance to protect this vital crossing point include:

  • refurbishing of the deck joint on the northern (Claypath) side of the bridge
  • removing the deck joint on the southern (Elvet) side of the bridge, to create a continuous deck structure with reduced future maintenance requirements
  • waterproofing of the bridge deck
  • carrying out concrete repairs throughout the whole structure, to improve and extend its life
  • improvement of the drainage systems
  • implementing a cathodic protection system to prevent metal corrosion
  • renewal of the protective coatings to the concrete surfaces, giving waterproof protection to the structure and generally improve the appearance of the bridge

£6m investment secured from Department for Transport and Durham County Council

J61 and Durham Services

  • Junction 61 is a key link for businesses, residents and those using the motorway, to access the rest of the county and motorway network
  • New developments around the area will see an increase in the number of vehicles using the junction
  • To meet increasing demand and to improve safety:
    • new lanes have been added with existing ones widened
    • pedestrian access around the junction has been improved

£6.3m investment

Durham Bus Station

  • A major transport hub for the county and region to be built in the city offering first class facilities improving access to public transport
  • Designed to increase the overall space for passengers in a light and airy setting, with enhanced visibility and safety
  • Improved facilities for passengers, including parent and child toilets, increased seating and space in the passenger waiting area
  • Plans include a two-storey area with office space

£10.4m investment

Dragonville Industrial estate and Sherburn junction

  • Improving connectivity for more than 3,000 people working there
  • Signalised junction on the A181 with a new link road connecting retail and industrial sites
  • Allowing more traffic to move safely around the area
  • Improving air quality
  • Increasing the links with the A1(m)

£2.9m investment

Park and Ride

  • Three park and ride sites serve the city from the main approaches, Sniperly (north), Belmont (East) and Howlands (south).
  • The popular scheme offers 1,180 spaces with a nominal fee for a return bus trip to the city.
  • Each site provides:
    • regular buses throughout the day
    • frequent stops in key locations of the city
    • running 12 hours a day
    • offering toilet facilities
    • achieved Park Mark, the Safer Parking Award, with regular security patrols and CCTV


A mixed used development which will include office, retail, leisure, residential and hotel space.

  • 450,000 sq ft mixed use scheme
  • 60,000 sq ft retail and leisure space
  • 230,00 sq ft office space
  • 600 car parking spaces
  • 153 luxury apartments
  • 92 bed Premier Inn Hotel
  • Occupiers including; Premier Inn and Bar and Block Steakhouse

Milburngate is being delivered by the Arlington Richardson Development Partnership who have successfully delivered a number of strategically important regeneration projects across the region.

City of Culture 2025

  • The county is bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025
  • Durham County Council submitted the initial expression of interest with principal partner Durham University on behalf of Culture Durham – a partnership of organisations united by their belief in the power of culture to transform lives
  • First year submissions can cover county areas as well as cities, which led to a record number of entries
  • Durham is one of eight areas to make the longlist
  • Shortlist anticipated to be announced in March
  • Securing the title would bring:
    • transformational social and economic benefits for the entire region
    • long-term boost for our economy, our people and our cultural infrastructure

The Visitor Economy in County Durham

The vision for Durham as a visitor destination

Durham will offer a visitor experience that matches its outstanding natural landscapes and internationally famous built heritage.

The visitor economy will support long term social, economic and environmental sustainability right across the county and be recognised by the county’s residents as important to the quality of their lives.

Destination Management Plan

A tool for all stakeholders in the County to use in developing the visitor economy.

The plan outlines what will help Durham be successful and is based on a significant body of research and market intelligence.

Compiled by Visit County Durham in collaboration with the county’s tourism industry and a range of partners and stakeholders.

Destination Management Plan priorities

1. Lengthen the amount of time that visitors spend in the county
2. Improve the quality of the visitor experience post arrival
3. Differentiate Durham for external audiences
4. Attract new staying visitors to the county
5. Retain existing day visitors to the county
6. Address seasonality
7. Develop new product and support existing product strengths
8. Improve SME and micro business performance

Visitor Economy Development

Pipeline of investments is estimated at around £350m of current developments projects in the destination including Beamish Museum, Raby Castle, Auckland Castle Trust, Durham City Riverbanks, Redhills, Seaham Hall and Ramside Hall.

Key Markets and Projects

  • Domestic target markets identified via visitor segmentation including county loving traditionalists, aspirational family fun and fun in the sun segments as well as groups, weddings and business events
  • International target markets – working with the Port of Tyne and Newcastle and Teesside airports, mainly targeting the travel trade as they plan itineraries, routes, etc from 1-3 years in advance, cruise travel has the longest lead in time. Aiming to attract markets from the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the USA
  • Northern Saints Trails & pilgrimage – 6 long distance walking trails, based on ancient pilgrim routes, position the North East England as the ‘Christian Crossroads of the British Isles’, and bring the fascinating stories of the region’s Saints to life, set against a backdrop of the very best of the region’s attractions, landscapes, places to eat.
  • Dark Sky Tourism – working with business to develop their dark sky ‘offer’ whilst promoting the destination as a location for some of the best quality star gazing in the UK.
  • Food tourism development – The Taste Durham Food Tourism Strategy is designed to enhance the competitiveness of County Durham as a leading food tourism destination and provide guidance and leadership towards sustainable development in the local food and drink economy.

Key Markets and Projects

  • Discover England Fund – Visit County Durham are partners involved in 5 large-scale projects, the aim of which is to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry marketplace, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right time. All Discover England Fund projects target the UK domestic market and the projects are as follows
  1. England Originals tells the stories of 15 of England’s premiere Historic Cities aimed at US visitors.
  2. The Explorer’s Road is a 500km tourism route highlighting hidden landmarks, market towns and countryside aimed at the German market.
  3. Discover England’s Coast project, led by the National Coastal Tourism Academy, will promotes England’s coastal destinations the coastline using interactive video technology which allows holidaymakers to create their own coastal itineraries, targeted at the German, Dutch and French markets.
  4. Manchester Gateway promotes day trips by train directly from Manchester to Northern England’s most iconic attractions and incredible landmarks
  5. England’s World Heritage Story: The North exploration of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites across Northern England with bespoke guided tours.

Culture Sport and Tourism

Durham’s castles and Historic Buildings include: Binchester Roman Fort, Auckland Castle, Bowes Castle, Raby Castle, The Auckland Project.

Durham’s Cathedral & Churches include: Durham Cathedral.

Durham’s Museums include: Killhope Lead Mining Museum, Durham Mining Museum, The Auckland Project, Beamish, Weardale Railway, The Bowes Museum, Binchester Roman Fort, Locomotion.

Durham’s Festival and events include: Lumiere, Durham City Run, Kynren, Take Off Festival, Durham Vocal Festival, Bishop Auckland Food Festival, Durham Adventure Festival, Durham Pride, Seaham Food Festival, BRASS, Durham Miners’ Gala, Durham Book Festival.

Festivals and Events

Durham Brass festival offers a vast range of brass-related live music with audiences across outdoor spaces and indoor venues throughout Durham, plus online streaming from incredible brass artists around the globe.

Seaham Food Festival and Bishop Auckland Food Festival boast a host of tasty treats from around 100 traders and producers, mouth-watering demonstrations from famous faces in the cookery world and fun for all the family all weekend with a fantastic programme of family entertainment, outdoor theatre, and live music.

Durham City Run Festival will take place on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 July. Organised by Events of the North, in partnership with ourselves and Durham University, the 2022 Durham City Run Festival will see the return of the popular Durham City Run 10K and 5K races, along with the Run Like a Legend Mile, and Paula Radcliffe’s Families on Track.


Proudly made in Durham, Lumiere illuminated the city again for four nights from 18 – 21 November 2021. Over 1 million people have attended Lumiere in its ten year history, and the festival’s economic impact has grown year-on-year, bringing visitors into the city and boosting local businesses, and placing Durham in the world’s spotlight.


  • 20m visitors
  • Economic value of £955m
  • Supports 12,133 (FTE) jobs
  • 70 attractions across the county

Data from the 2019 STEAM report.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the visitor economy was sizeable.

  • 11.39m visitors
  • Economic value of £507m
  • Supports 6,794 (FTE) jobs
  • 70 attractions across the county

Durham Heritage Coast

A truly stunning location, the Heritage Coast is recognised internationally for its rare plants and wildlife, having previously won a UK Landscape Award. Incorporating 14km of coastal path from Seaham to Crimdon.

North Pennines AONB

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), incorporates much of the Durham Dales, and is a stunning landscape of open heather moors, dramatic dales, tumbling upland rivers, wonderful woods, close-knit communities, glorious waterfalls, fantastic birds, colourful hay meadows, stone-built villages, intriguing imprints of a mining and industrial past, distinctive plants and much, much more.

As well as being an AONB the North Pennines is also a UNESCO Global Geopark – an accolade awarded to areas across the world with outstanding geology.


Leisure Transformation

£78 million is to be invested in improving the county’s leisure facilities with refurbishments, new services and rebuilding of leisure centres in Chester-le-Street, Bishop Auckland and Seaham.

Durham County Council leisure facilities have members across sites in all the County offering a wide range of leisure activities including gyms, swimming pools, sports pitches and group exercise classes.


2020/21 figures for the 39 libraries across County Durham include:

Active borrowers – 22,330

Number of books issued – 178,897

Number of digital loans – 317,761

Pick & Collect data for Nov 2020 to Jan 2021: 38,107

Customers registered for eBooks and eAudiobooks – 9,717

Doorstep Book Deliveries -1,991

All Data correct as of 31 March 2021

Theatre and Community Arts

Theatres and cinemas in County Durham include: Gala Theatre Durham, Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Empire Theatre and Cinema.

Community arts aims to provide very person living in County Durham with the opportunity to participate in the arts. We engage large numbers of people in community arts activities, promoting the benefits for improved health, life long skills and confidence, as well as the enjoyment of taking part.


3 theatres (Gala, Durham, Empire, Consett & Bishop Auckland Town Hall) offering an annual programme of cinema and live productions.

Each venue attracts the following visitors annually for ticketed cinema and theatre shows:

  • Gala – over 179,000
  • Empire – over 56,000
  • BATH – N/A as closed for a large part of 2019

Other Venues and Museums

Durham Town Hall

8,210 visitors in 2019/202


11,076 visitors in 2019/2020

A great place to live

  • Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland
  • Barnard Castle
  • Beamish Museum, in Stanley
  • Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle
  • Durham Cathedral and Castle, a World Heritage Site
  • Durham Dales
  • Durham University
  • High Force and Low Force waterfalls, on the River Tees
  • Killhope Wheel, part of the North of England Lead Mining Museum in Weardale
  • Kynren, night show in Bishop Auckland, depicting British History.
  • Locomotion railway museum, in Shildon
  • Riverside Stadium, Chester-le-Street
  • Weardale Railway, at Stanhope, County Durham, Wolsingham and Bishop Auckland

Support for the Visitor Economy

  • Experts in the visitor economy
  • Business support to start, grow or diversify
  • Workforce development
  • Research and market intelligence

+44 (0) 3000 261 220

Town Centres

  • Approach to Towns and Villages agreed by Cabinet in 2018 – to extend the council’s success in regenerating its main centres and ensure issues that affect people in smaller towns and villages are also tackled
  • By focusing on partnership working, Towns and Villages has already identified a current operational investment programme of £750m covering town centres, employment, transport infrastructure and housing investment schemes across the county
  • Towns and Villages strategy agreed by Cabinet in 2020 with an extra £20m commitment – focuses on renewed regeneration across the county and improvements in selected areas
  • Investment Plan agreed by Cabinet in 2021 leading to an additional £5m allocation following consultation through the Area Action Partnerships (AAPs)
  • The Strategy and Investment Plan align with the response to the climate emergency and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Seeks to target those people and places most affected and help them become more resilient, as well as aligning other council and partner investments to benefit local communities across the county

Town Centres

We have secured a £33.2 investment for Bishop Auckland as part of the Stronger Towns Fund, allowing us to progress with ambitious plans to regenerate the town and invest for generations to come. As part of the bid, we set out a vision for the town to become a world-class heritage visitor destination of UK national importance, a service centre for the whole of South West Durham and a gateway to the Durham Dales.

Retail hub project

£300k investment – provides two strands of support to retail and hospitality aimed at growth

Making retail and hospitality businesses more resilient.
Strand 1 – improving resilience, broadening sales, training and support opportunities
Focused on customer service, emergency first aid and food safety in catering

Strand 2 – focussed on supporting new business formation and supported growth
Supporting development of shared retail space, temporary retail offerings and ‘meanwhile uses’ of existing town centre property

Digital High Street Programme

£775k investment to 2024 (£107,250 in 2020/21)

Free Wi-Fi

Already installed in Bishop Auckland, Stanley and Seaham

Coming soon to Chester-le-Street, Barnard Castle, and Durham City

Neighbourhood retail improvements

£2,750,000 investment by 2024

• £73,597 in 2019/20
• £201,403 in 2020/21

1st phase to identify opportunities for potential improvements and links to wider investment.
2nd phase to deliver physical improvements to support retailers and businesses to ensure community resilience within our centres.

• E.g. Sacriston workshop conversion (improve units and support local development opportunities, £200k investment)

Support for Business

  • Can do approach puts economy first.
  • Business friendly & keen to work with occupiers
  • Support to start, grow or locate in County Durham
  • Access to funding & finance
  • £20 million Finance Durham Fund, capital grants for company expansion

+44 (0) 3000 261 261

Salvus House, Aykley Heads

Durham, DH1 5TS

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