Fun Things for Families to Do in and Around Durham

Durham is a historic city in the North East of England that offers plenty of fun activities and attractions for families. From museums and castles to parks and countryside walks, there are lots of great ways to spend quality time together and keep the kids entertained in Durham.

Explore Durham Cathedral

One of the top attractions in Durham is the magnificent Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to 1093, this impressive Romanesque cathedral has stunning architecture and interiors.

Families can join a guided tour to learn about the history and climb the tower for panoramic views over the city. The cathedral also hosts family-friendly events like Lego workshops. Outside, kids will enjoy playing in the peaceful cloister gardens.

Spend a Day at Beamish Museum


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If you want a fun day out with the children you foster with, step back in time at Beamish, an open-air museum that vividly brings the history of North East England to life. Here you can explore reconstructed streets, shops and homes as they would have looked in the 1820s, 1900s, and 1940s.

Hop on a vintage tram, see steam engines in action, and meet costumed characters along the way. Kids will love the old-fashioned sweet shop, toy shop, and school house. Beamish is a full day out with events and activities for all ages.

Get Close to Nature at Rainton Meadows

Managed by the Durham Wildlife Trust, Rainton Meadows nature reserve is a great place to connect with nature. Families can walk or cycle along paths by the pretty lakes and ponds, looking out for birds, butterflies and deer.

The interactive Discovery Zone has fun activities like pond dipping and minibeast hunting. Picnic areas, play equipment and washrooms make it easy to spend a whole day enjoying the fresh air and wildlife spotting.

Play at Hall Hill Farm

For farm-themed fun, head to Hall Hill Farm near Lanchester. Meet and feed the goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits and more in the hands-on animal barn. Burn off energy in the indoor and outdoor play zones with giant inflatables, go-karts, and crazy golf.

Take a tractor ride tour of the farm and tuck into homemade food in the cafe. Special events like Easter egg hunts and Halloween activities make this a popular family day out.

Bowling and Arcades at Hollywood Bowl


For indoor entertainment, Hollywood Bowl Durham has tenpin bowling, soft play and amusements galore. Get competitive in the bowling lanes or challenge the kids to beat your score in the 2p pushers and shooter games in the amusement arcade zone.

Grab some snacks from the diner and let the little ones run wild in the multilevel soft play frame. With special offers for kids and weekday discounts, this is an affordable wet weather option.

Explore Adventure Valley

Nestled in the Beamish Valley, Adventure Valley is a 17-acre family adventure park. Kids can burn energy on the huge outdoor play structure, pedal go-karts, climb walls, and explore the maze.

Take a stroll through the wildlife walk, meet furry friends in the critter pen, and enjoy panoramic views from the viewing tower. Indoors there’s also soft play, a cafe, a gift shop, and party rooms. With so much to do, a whole day of fun is guaranteed.

Hit the Slopes at Dry Ski Slope

Try out skiing and snowboarding whatever the weather at Durham Dry Ski Slope. The 170m main slope has beginner and intermediate runs with a button lift to the top.

Kids can start off in the gentle nursery slopes before moving up. Private and group lessons are available along with ski and snowboard hire. Après-ski refreshments are served in the Alpine-themed cafe. An active and adventurous day out for all ages.

Cycle the Durham Heritage Coast


Stretching 14 miles from Seaham to Sunderland, the Durham Heritage Coast is great for scenic family bike rides. Mostly traffic-free, the coastal path takes in beautiful beaches, wildlife reserves, and impressive limestone cliffs.

Stop for a dip at Seaham beach or a scramble over the rock pools at Blackhall Rocks. Pack a picnic and make a day of exploring this picturesque stretch of coastline. Bikes can be hired in Seaham.

Learn Through Play at The Oriental Museum

Part of Durham University, the family-friendly Oriental Museum has interactive exhibits bringing Ancient Egypt and Asia to life. Junior archaeologists can excavate objects, play an Ancient Egyptian game and dress up as gods and goddesses.

Fun activity backpacks can be borrowed to engage kids as they explore the collection of mummies, samurai armour and terracotta warriors. Free family events run regularly too.

Let Off Steam at Wharton Park

With 84 rolling acres of parkland, Wharton Park near Durham City centre is a great place for kids to play and explore. As well as wide open green spaces for ball games and bike riding, there is a huge playground with towers, slides, swings and more. Pedal boats can be hired for the boating lake.

The Splash Pad water play area is perfect to cool off in summer. With a cafe and toilets on site, the whole family is catered for.

See Birds of Prey Up Close


An exciting educational experience, Durham Falconry offers encounters with magnificent birds of prey. You’ll see owls, falcons, hawks, and vultures. Book an experience to handle and fly your own bird under supervision. Photograph opportunities are available.

The knowledgeable falconers provide commentary on each species. Kids and adults alike will be captivated by these beautiful predators up close.

Get Active at Wacky Warehouse

For indoor playtime, Wacky Warehouse in Durham has huge inflatable slides, obstacle courses, a go-kart track, and arcade games. Kids can enjoy two levels of action-packed equipment while parents relax with a coffee in the cafe. Suitable for under 12s, energetic youngsters will have a blast bouncing, climbing, and sliding to their heart’s content. Party packages are available to celebrate birthdays and special occasions.

Whether you’re looking for culture, countryside, animals, sports, museums or just a fun day of activities, there are plenty of brilliant options for families around Durham. With both outdoor adventures and indoor amusements to pick from, you’re sure to find something to delight people of all ages. Durham has a wide variety of attractions to keep the kids entertained and create priceless memories together.