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GO Kids & Families in Durham

Family Days Out in Durham Whether you’re going for an hour, a day or a week, there are plenty of things to keep the kids occupied during a family holiday to Durham.

From museums and parks to cinema and swimming, this city has something for everyone – even activities that parents will enjoy.

If your kids are interested in history, then they’ll be spoilt for choice in the ancient city of Durham as the place has plenty of museums to visit.

For starters there’s the Durham University Museum of Archaeology [map], which is home to archaeological displays from excavations in and around the city of Durham.

Situated on the banks of the River Wear below the historic Durham Cathedral, this is where you’ll find the city's ancient hidden past. The majority of the archaeological material in the museum is from North East England, but there are also relics from the Swiss Lakes, Greece and Rome.

Not far from here is the Durham Light Infantry Museum [map], which traces the proud history of the county’s regiment. Here you’ll discover a superb collection of more than 3,000 medals awarded to more than 1,000 men who served in one of the finest County Regiments – The Durham Light Infantry.

Some of the medals date back 200 years when the regiment fought in the Peninsular War against Napoleon, while others are from the last campaign in Borneo in 1966. Alongside the medals there are many other artefacts on display, such as uniforms, regimental record books and a memorial book, which you can write in.

Next up is the Durham Heritage Centre and Museum [map], which is Durham's only local history museum telling the story of the city from Medieval times to the 20th century. Exhibits here include the ‘Death Chair’ that was used to take sick boys from Durham School to the Infirmary, a cell from Durham Jail and displays on the pilgrimage to the shrine of St Cuthbert.

One not to be missed if you’re travelling by car is the famous Beamish Open Air Museum [map], which is located about eight miles North West of Durham. This is a living, breathing, working museum that makes a great day out for all the family. Parts of north-eastern life are reconstructed as they were in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Here you can go underground and explore the mines, or see what life was like on a working farm, take a lesson in an old schoolroom, and even sit in the dentist’s chair.

For a more relaxing family break why not head to the scenic Wharton Park [map], with its breathtaking views of Durham, impressive floral displays, Victorian style conservatory, tennis courts, putting green, and children’s play area.

Water babies on the other hand may prefer to make the most of the city’s only swimming venue, Durham Swimming Baths [map] on Elvet Waterside, which consists of a large 23m pool and a smaller 17m pool for kids and learners.

For more indoor fun, you could take a trip out of the city centre to Metroland [map], the largest indoor funfair in Europe. This attraction, which is situated on the MetroCentre site in Gateshead, has all the usual fun fair favourites including a rollercoaster and swinging pirate ship. Tickets are available for a single turn on an individual ride or as a pass for all day fun.

After all that fun, you’ll just want to chill out in the evening, so why not take the little ones to the cinema to see the latest children’s film. There is only one cinema in the heart of Durham, the Gala Giant Screen Cinema [map] on Millennium Place, which has one screen showing the latest releases.

But there is plenty more choice out of a town at the UCI Cinema [map] at the MetroCentre in Gateshead or the UGC Cinema [map] on Boldon Leisure Park in nearby Boldon.

If you want to comment on our choices or recommend somewhere, why not use our What You Recommend form to let us know.

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