Top 10 parks in Durham

Exploring 10 of the best parks in Durham

Let's look at some of the best parks in Durham. 

Durham is full of beautiful green spaces where you can enjoy nature and outdoor activities. 

These parks are not only lovely places to visit but also important parts of Durham's history and culture. 

Join us as we explore each of these parks, discussing what makes each of them so unique.

Wharton Park

Overlooking the River Wear and Durham’s famous cathedral, Wharton Park is a Green Flag Award Winning (2023) nestled in the city centre. 

Offering a great space for those in the city to unwind, the park has an abundance of walking and cycling routes as well as a soft play area for the kids.

Hardwick Park

A highlight of the surrounding countryside, Hardwick Park lies on the outskirts of Durham, in Sedgefield - a 20-minute drive from Durham’s city centre. 

At the heart of Hardwick Park, is a lake and a beautifully crafted wooden bridge. 

Other features include Hardwick’s stunning landscape views and the rich variety of wildlife that call Hardwick home.  

Whitworth Hall Country Park

Situated 22 minutes from Durham city centre, Whitworth Hall Country Park is a privately owned park that’s truly majestic in its presentation. 

A favourite of those looking to get married, the hall that serves as the park’s namesake features a fireplace, huge windows and impressively designed wooden features. 

The gardens that surround the hall are meticulously maintained too and are home to several breeds of deer. 

Durham University Botanic Garden

Managed by Durham University, the Botanic Gardens is a paid entry park that showcases species of plants from all over the world – each in their own specially tailored gardens and glasshouses. 

One for the real plant enthusiast or someone who’s looking to learn more about the sheer array of plant life that is out there, Durham University’s Botanic Gardens is a worthwhile place to explore.  

Finchale Priory

Formerly the site of a medieval priory, Finchale still has the priory’s ruins on display and is a park for the architecture or history buff. 

The park is free to enter and is wheelchair accessible. Only 13 minutes’ drive from the city centre, it’s also easy to get to too.

Waldridge Fell Country Park

Winner of the Green Flag Award in 2022, Waldridge Fell Country Park is a 10-minute drive from the city centre and is considered a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to it being one of the few lowland heaths in the UK – being home to a rare array of insect and plants that are scarcely found elsewhere in the country. 

More a nature reserve than a conventional park, Waldridge Fell, alongside its many walking and cycling routes, is also a park suitable for horse riders and is free to enter. 

Dragon Park

If you have any little knights and princesses at home, they’ll absolutely love Dragon Park. 

As the name suggests, Dragon Park is full of dragon and castle-themed monuments, benches and playgrounds. 

An easy to navigate park, Dragon Park puts a fun little twist on the standard family day out to the playground and will be a thrill for the kiddies. 

Only a 5-minute drive from the city centre, it’s easy to get to too.

Riverside Park

Nestled in the crook of the River Wear, Riverside Park caters offers visitors a wide selection of water sports; everything from boat rides and kayaking to a splash pad for the little ones. 

A 15-minute drive from the city centre, it’s perfect for those warm summer days. 

Aycliffe Nature Park

This park is home to a variety of habitats and wildlife making it a great place to explore year-round. 

30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, take in sights and sounds of nature as you stroll through the park's pathways.

Jubilee Park

Located in Spennymoor – a quick 15-minute drive from Durham - Jubilee Park is a nearby common with wide open green spaces, playgrounds, and numerous walking paths.

The park is also home to a tennis court, a basketball court, two bowling greens, and an all-weather football pitch. 

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