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Leisure & Lifestyle

What’s happening in and around East Durham

New Raby Castle visitor destination to open this weekend

New Raby Castle visitor destination to open this weekend

After six years of planning, Raby Castle is ready to open its doors and welcome visitors to The Rising, a 24-acre site featuring the remodelled Walled Garden along with old and new buildings. It is an ambitious scheme – the largest and most significant for generations...

County Durham volunteers share their stories

County Durham volunteers share their stories

In a week when the contribution of volunteers is under the spotlight nationally, three County Durham residents have spoken about the transformational impact volunteering has had on their lives. Ann Ferguson, from Ushaw Moor, began volunteering 16 years ago after...

Sunday chefs announced for Seaham Food Festival

Sunday chefs announced for Seaham Food Festival

The full celebrity line up for Seaham Food Festival has been confirmed with the announcement of the final chefs who will be taking to the cookery stage. The Durham County Council-run festival will return to Seaham’s coastline on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August, with...

Free guided walks return to Seaham

Free guided walks return to Seaham

A popular series of guided walks in a County Durham coastal town will return this month. Following the success of last year’s programme, Durham County Council will once again be offering free walking tours around Seaham and the town’s coastline. Starting at Seaham...

County Durham nursery group named one of the best in the UK

County Durham nursery group named one of the best in the UK

A North East nursery group has beaten some of the biggest nursery groups in the UK in a poll voted for by parents. Clever Clogs Nursery Group was one of only 16 up and down the country to receive the coveted 10 out 10 score on the nursery industry’s equivalent to the...

Popular TV chefs to star at Seaham Food Festival

Popular TV chefs to star at Seaham Food Festival

Two popular TV presenters are among the first celebrity chefs to be announced for Seaham Food Festival. The Durham County Council-run festival will return to Seaham’s coastline on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August, with two days packed with celebrity cookery...

Funding boost for reimagined cultural venue in Durham City

Funding boost for reimagined cultural venue in Durham City

A cultural venue that will bring internationally significant exhibitions to County Durham has been awarded £500,000, as work gets underway on site. Durham County Council has secured the grant from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme to support its...

All you need to know as Bishop Auckland Food Festival returns

All you need to know as Bishop Auckland Food Festival returns

Bishop Auckland Food Festival returns to the town this weekend, bringing celebrity chefs, street food traders, live entertainment, and fun family activities. The festival, organised by Durham County Council, will take over the town’s Market Place from 10am to 5pm this...

More than 150 traders confirmed for Bishop Auckland Food Festival

More than 150 traders confirmed for Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Curries, crepes, cocktails and mocktails will be among the mouthwatering delights on offer at next weekend’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival. Durham County Council, which organises the festival, has confirmed more than 150 traders from County Durham and beyond will be...

Peterlee and Seaham among the locations for new specialist markets

Peterlee and Seaham among the locations for new specialist markets

New markets ranging from street food to Christmas markets will be coming to locations across County Durham. Durham County Council has procured specialist social enterprise Baccanalia to organise bespoke markets at 11 centres across the county. Ranging from craft...

Town board appointed to deliver Spennymoor vision

Town board appointed to deliver Spennymoor vision

A town board to oversee the long-term development of Spennymoor is being established as residents are asked to give their views on what they would like to see for the community. Durham County Council has appointed Alan Boddy as the independent Chair of the new...

The best summer bulbs to plant now with East Durham Garden Centre

The best summer bulbs to plant now with East Durham Garden Centre

During the warm summer months, gardens in full bloom are a sight to behold. If you're looking to add vibrant colours to your outdoor space, planting summer bulbs that will come back year after year is a great option. Whether you prefer bold and bright blooms or...

Pupils get inspiring advice from working women

Pupils get inspiring advice from working women

Young women in County Durham were inspired to achieve their career ambitions no matter their gender, this International Women’s Day. To mark the international day, which is celebrated all over the world on 8 March, Durham County Council hosted a dedicated event for...

Peterlee 75 finale event to take place this weekend

Peterlee 75 finale event to take place this weekend

A free music event will take place in a County Durham town this weekend to celebrate its 75th anniversary. Durham County Council will be hosting a free concert in Peterlee’s Castle Dene Shopping Centre at 12pm on Saturday, 9 March. The concert is the final part of...

Peterlee pub The Five Quarter to host 12-day beer festival

Peterlee pub The Five Quarter to host 12-day beer festival

A range of real ales, including five from overseas brewers, will be available at The Five Quarter in Peterlee, during its 12-day beer festival. The pub in Hailsham Place will host the festival from Wednesday 6 March to Sunday 17 March inclusive. The overseas brewers...

Regional News: Leading nursery expands team with three new recruits

Regional News: Leading nursery expands team with three new recruits

One of the North East’s top-rated nurseries is expanding with the appointment of three new members of staff. Little Ladybirds Day Nursery has announced that Hollie Trowsdale, Jess Willett, and Amy Oliver have all been recruited as Early Years Educators. Little...

Grants available for new retail businesses in County Durham

Grants available for new retail businesses in County Durham

Aspiring entrepreneurs with ambitions to set up retail, leisure or hospitality businesses in County Durham can apply for a new grant to help make their dream a reality. Durham County Council has launched the Retail Start Up Grant to support businesses in their first...

Durham hairdresser celebrates 30 years in the salon

Durham hairdresser celebrates 30 years in the salon

Lisa Price, hairdresser and salon manager at Janet Maitland Hair Excellence in Hetton, is celebrating her 30th work anniversary with the company, having joined the salon group as a Saturday girl aged 17. Lisa began her career after a chance meeting with Janet Maitland...

Thousands of panto lovers have a ball at Cinderella

Thousands of panto lovers have a ball at Cinderella

The clock has struck midnight on Gala Durham’s spellbinding pantomime Cinderella, with more than 30,000 theatre-goers joining in the fun. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, the magical production featured a talented North East cast who delivered 73...

East Durham College hosts inaugural event for agriculture students

East Durham College hosts inaugural event for agriculture students

As part of its ongoing commitment to showcasing the fantastic work of students, East Durham College ran its first-ever stocksmanship event at the Houghall campus just before Christmas. The stockmanship event has run throughout the first term of the academic year as...

Durham Bus Station to open this week

Durham Bus Station to open this week

Durham City’s new bus station will open this weekend. Durham County Council has confirmed the new Durham Bus Station will open to the public on Sunday 7 January. The facility, which is located on the site of the former bus station on North Road, will be a modern...

Traders wanted for next year’s Seaham Food Festival

Traders wanted for next year’s Seaham Food Festival

Applications are open for traders interested in taking a stall at next year’s Seaham Food Festival. Durham County Council has confirmed the event will return to the town on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August 2024. More than 120 traders set up stalls at this year’s event,...

Preparations are underway to keep County Durham moving this winter

Preparations are underway to keep County Durham moving this winter

A North East council is ready to keep its county moving during winter. Durham County Council’s preparations are well under way to ensure priority roads are kept clear during the winter months. While the weather has started to become colder, the council’s highways team...

Lumiere Light Labs illuminates opportunities for artists

Lumiere Light Labs illuminates opportunities for artists

While the streets of Durham City and Bishop Auckland were lit up for Lumiere 2023, local artists were also given the chance to put their work in the spotlight. As part of this year’s light-art biennial, Durham County Council’s community arts team has been involved in...

Campaign encourages visitors to ‘Do Durham Differently’

Campaign encourages visitors to ‘Do Durham Differently’

Durham’s unique and diverse experiences, world-class attractions and eclectic accommodation are the inspiration behind a new campaign aimed at boosting the county’s visitor economy. Do Durham Differently is the latest national destination marketing campaign from Visit...

East Durham Garden Centre has Christmas all wrapped up

East Durham Garden Centre has Christmas all wrapped up

British Garden Centres, the UK’s largest family-run garden retailer which includes East Durham Garden Centre, has unveiled its new Christmas advert, “#AllWrappedUp” for 2023’s festive season. The touching advert, which stars two local children from North Lincolnshire,...

Seaham schoolchildren among those to enjoy road safety magic show

Seaham schoolchildren among those to enjoy road safety magic show

A fun magic show with a serious road safety message has been enjoyed by more than 1,000 County Durham school children. Allan’s Road Safety Magic Show toured 10 of the county’s primary schools in one week, performing to audiences of pupils from reception and years 1...

Ho ho ho… Christmas is on its way to East Durham Garden Centre

Ho ho ho… Christmas is on its way to East Durham Garden Centre

The best time of the year is nearly here, and the ever-popular Santa’s Breakfast and Afternoon Tea experience is available to book at East Durham Garden Centre with tickets on sale now. Make sure you don’t miss out on the most important meal of the day and book...

Dalton Park makes a splash with Dale, the Magnificent Eco Whale

Dalton Park makes a splash with Dale, the Magnificent Eco Whale

Dalton Park makes even bigger waves into using its outlet as a place to ‘feel good and do good' this week with the arrival of Dale, the magnificent eco Whale. A family-friendly recycling activation to support The Great British Beach Clean Project. Made entirely from...

Peterlee pub to celebrate real ales during 12-day beer festival

Peterlee pub to celebrate real ales during 12-day beer festival

A range of real ales, including those from overseas brewers, will be available at The Five Quarter in Peterlee, during its 12-day beer festival. The pub in Hailsham Place will host the festival from Wednesday 11 to Sunday 22 October inclusive. The overseas brewers are...

Boost for County Durham charities thanks to Peterlee’s Seaward

Boost for County Durham charities thanks to Peterlee’s Seaward

A Peterlee electrical test and measurement equipment specialist has donated thousands of pounds to County Durham charities. Seaward Electronic, based at the South West Industrial Estate, has donated £3,000 to three local charities to help support a number of important...

Seaham girl recognised for outstanding achievements by Youth Council

Seaham girl recognised for outstanding achievements by Youth Council

Young people from across County Durham have been recognised for their outstanding achievements at an annual awards ceremony. Durham County Council’s Youth Council hosted its third annual County Durham Youth Awards to recognise the achievements of young people and...

Peterlee pub to cut the price of food and drink in one day special

Peterlee pub to cut the price of food and drink in one day special

A Peterlee pub is to cut the price of all food and drink by 7.5 per cent on Thursday, September 14 - to highlight the benefit of a permanent VAT reduction in the hospitality industry. Prices at Wetherspoon pub The Five Quarter in Hailsham Place will be reduced for one...

Wonderland adventure brought to County Durham parks

Wonderland adventure brought to County Durham parks

Fans of Alice in Wonderland can continue the adventure with a free theatre production coming to parks across County Durham. Throughout this month, Gala Durham will be touring A Mad Hatter Adventure, a spin-off from the venue’s recent show, Alice In Wonderland. The...

A weekend full of foodie delight at Seaham Food Festival

A weekend full of foodie delight at Seaham Food Festival

The sunshine followed the rain as food-lovers flocked to County Durham’s coastline for two days of festival fun. Around 120 traders set up shop at Seaham Food Festival to sell everything from sizzling street food to sausage rolls, scotch eggs, cheesecakes, cheese,...

North East MasterChef star completes Seaham Food Festival line up

North East MasterChef star completes Seaham Food Festival line up

From the audience to the stage - the final chef to complete the Seaham Food Festival line-up has now been announced. The popular seaside event returns on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August, with visitors able to enjoy two days of fun, entertainment, and delicious food...

County Durham parks raising the Green Flag

County Durham parks raising the Green Flag

Green spaces across County Durham have once again been awarded a prestigious national status. Eight parks and green spaces, which are maintained by Durham County Council, have received Green Flag accreditation from the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The...

Over 100 traders confirmed for next month’s Seaham Food Festival

Over 100 traders confirmed for next month’s Seaham Food Festival

Super scotch eggs, dirty fries, local fudge and cookie pies – these are just some of the tasty delights that’ll be on offer at this summer’s Seaham Food Festival. Durham County Council, which organises the festival, has confirmed that around 120 traders from County...

M People’s Heather Small performs for Seaham school children

M People’s Heather Small performs for Seaham school children

“What have you done today, to make you feel proud?” Pupils at Seaham Trinity Primary School were treated to a music performance M People singer Heather Small and drummer, Andrew Lovell. Andrew, better known as “Shovell”, arranged the show through his company AjoiA as...

Investment supports countryside volunteering in County Durham

Investment supports countryside volunteering in County Durham

People in County Durham are being encouraged to volunteer to help look after their countryside. Durham County Council has invested £2.3 million into its parks and countryside sites across County Durham, including nature reserves, local wildlife sites and Sites of...

Durham’s visitor economy hits £1 billion milestone

Durham’s visitor economy hits £1 billion milestone

Tourism contributed more than £1 billion to Durham’s economy for the first time ever in 2022, the latest industry research has revealed. Last year, 17.9 million people visited the county, spending a record-breaking £1.04 billion. This is an increase of 25.6 per cent...

Celebrations set to begin as Peterlee turns 75

Celebrations set to begin as Peterlee turns 75

Year-long celebrations are set to begin to mark 75 years of an East Durham town. Durham County Council has received a grant of £92,302 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to carry out a programme of events to commemorate 75 years of Peterlee being established as a...

County Durham Pound named best project at national awards

County Durham Pound named best project at national awards

A scheme has been recognised for its efforts to create social value opportunities across County Durham with a prestigious national award. The County Durham Pound scheme has been awarded Best Public Sector Project award at the 2023 Social Value Conference. County...

Philip Plyming appointed as new Dean of Durham

Philip Plyming appointed as new Dean of Durham

His Majesty The King has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Dr Philip Plyming as the next Dean of Durham. Dr Plyming succeeds the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, who was appointed Dean of St Paul’s in London last year, and has been Warden of Cranmer Hall,...

Three more celebrity chefs announced for Seaham Food Festival

Three more celebrity chefs announced for Seaham Food Festival

The latest famous faces heading to the County Durham coastline for a popular food festival have been announced. Seaham Food Festival returns on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August, bringing with it a spectacular line up of food and drink traders, family entertainment and...

Funding boost for pothole repairs in County Durham

Funding boost for pothole repairs in County Durham

County Durham’s roads are set to benefit from a funding boost of over £2.5 million. Durham County Council has been awarded £2.64 million by the Department for Transport for the repair and prevention of potholes across the county. The money will help strengthen the...

First celebrity chefs announced for Seaham Food Festival

First celebrity chefs announced for Seaham Food Festival

Three stars of MasterChef and Great British Bake Off are among the first celebrity chefs announced to headline a popular seaside food festival this summer. Seaham Food Festival returns on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August, bringing back a sensational line up of food and...

Emerging music artists to headline at Durham Brass

Emerging music artists to headline at Durham Brass

Talented up and coming musicians from the North East are being given the chance to headline at a County Durham music festival. Durham Brass Festival returns from Sunday 9 to Sunday 16 July, with the Durham County Council event promising a week of spectacular...

Dalton Park to become dog friendly from Bank Holiday Monday

Dalton Park to become dog friendly from Bank Holiday Monday

Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Destination is set to become dog friendly from Bank Holiday Monday 29th May and is planning a day of doggy delights to mark the occasion. The event, which starts at 10am will include best behaved dog trials, a doggy selfie spot (with...

New countryside guardian for East Durham

New countryside guardian for East Durham

The new head of a charity that stands up for County Durham's countryside has appealed for members of the public to join him in defending its rolling fields, woods, rivers, streams, and ponds. Wingate farmer Andrew Thompson, who is the new chair of the Durham branch of...

Mul leaves his distinctive mark on Dalton Park

Mul leaves his distinctive mark on Dalton Park

Renowned North East artist, Mul Draws, has created the largest art installation Dalton Park has ever seen to celebrate the centre’s 20th anniversary. Two huge, stunning murals have been created and 48 planters have had a Mul style makeover to add new dimensions of...

£2.8m awarded for active travel in Durham City

£2.8m awarded for active travel in Durham City

Successful funding bids are paving the way for improvements to sustainable travel across County Durham. Durham County Council has been awarded £2.8 million from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund to create sustainable transport infrastructure in Durham City....

The Range opens its doors at Dalton Park

The Range opens its doors at Dalton Park

Following months of anticipation, leading British Home, Leisure and Gardens retailer, The Range has opened it’s new Dalton Park store. The store will provide the local area with all the home, leisure, and garden offerings of the range alongside a dedicated outdoor...

Around 140 traders confirmed for Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Around 140 traders confirmed for Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Banging burgers, katsu curries and local cheeses and chutneys are just some of the culinary delights that’ll be on offer at next weekend’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival. Durham County Council, which organises the festival, has confirmed that around 140 traders from...

Seaham company performs hair raising live TV reveal

Seaham company performs hair raising live TV reveal

Magic was in the air when Tim Lichfield from Northallerton wowed audiences with his new youthful looks live on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch this month. Award-winning magician and radio presenter Tim, a regular ‘lunchmate’ audience member on the popular show...

Fat Freddy’s Drop announced for Durham Brass Festival

Fat Freddy’s Drop announced for Durham Brass Festival

A summer festival which brings the streets of County Durham alive with the sound of brass music is set to return this year, with the first act now announced. Durham Brass Festival promises a week of spectacular performances, new commissions, free concerts, community...

Durham City hosts UK launch of innovative litter app

Durham City hosts UK launch of innovative litter app

A mobile app that rewards residents and visitors for picking up litter has been launched in Durham City as part of the county’s commitment to becoming a sustainable destination. UnLitter UK encourages people to play their part in maintaining clean and green...

Grants of up to £1000 available now for not-for-profit organisations

Grants of up to £1000 available now for not-for-profit organisations

Grants of up to £1000 are available now for not-for-profit organisations across County Durham. believe housing’s community investment programme has opened two new funding opportunities to support groups in the areas it operates in. The £500 Small Community Grant and...

County Durham exhibition will celebrate women and girls

County Durham exhibition will celebrate women and girls

Women and girls are being celebrated in a free exhibition and special event in County Durham next month. The Being Inbetween exhibition, showcasing the transition from child to adult, arrives at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on Monday 6 March, before the Durham County...

App helps boost job applications in the care sector

App helps boost job applications in the care sector

An employment referral app is helping a number of care providers across County Durham to recruit and retain high quality care staff. Durham County Council is supporting a group of providers to pilot the technology, with more than 100 care staff having already been...

N’ice’ start to the Year of the Coast activity at Dalton Park

N’ice’ start to the Year of the Coast activity at Dalton Park

Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Destination is set to support Visit County Durham’s Year of the Coast campaign with a free seaside themed Ice & Waves Trail event during February half term. Five stunning sculptures will be placed around the centre on Monday...

East Durham man supported from ‘sofa surfing’ to carer role

East Durham man supported from ‘sofa surfing’ to carer role

A County Durham man who worked to overcome addiction has thanked those who helped him find a job supporting others. David, from East Durham, came to Employability Durham after spending some time with an independent charity for people affected by drug and alcohol...

Sleeping Beauty is a spellbinding success

Sleeping Beauty is a spellbinding success

After a successful festive period, a County Durham theatre is now looking ahead to its next Christmas performance. Over 30,000 people booked tickets for Gala Durham’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. The production, which ran for 73 performances at the Durham County...

Dalton Park toasts a record year for sales

Dalton Park toasts a record year for sales

Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Destination ended 2022 on a high with a record year for sales. Like for like sales across the year were up 14.5 percent vs 2019, the last comparable year due to the pandemic. The results come following an incredible 2022 for the outlet...