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Things to do on the Durham Coast

A family walks along green grassy clifftops with fields and cliffs stretching miles into the hazy distance. The sea behind them is silvery and rippled. It's sunny and the sky is pale blue with banks of white and grey cloud.
Walking on the Durham Coast | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Discover the beauty of the Durham Coast. Embark on a seaside stroll, looking out for rare flora and fauna such as the Durham brown argus butterfly and the deep-pink bloody cranesbill flower. Alternatively, why not try your hand at skimming a stone or flying a kite?

Coastal walks

Explore the coastline from up high, and take in the views that stretch as far as the eye can see. There are miles of coastal trails to wander – look out for surprising sights such as the 'Your Turn, Little Tern' sculpture by David Buurma at Cotsford Fields near Horden.

Visitors walking near the 'Your Turn, Little Tern' sculpture in Cotsford Field on the clifftop at Durham Coast
The 'Your Turn, Little Tern' sculpture at Cotsford Fields | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Blast Beach

Head to Blast Beach for a coastal adventure. Paddle in the waves, seek out sea creatures on the shore and look for wildflowers – some of the fields above Blast Beach are among the best places to enjoy them on the Durham Coast.

You won't be able to miss the sweeping cliff-top views here, though they’re quite different to how they looked at the end of the last century. Once home to the biggest coal mine in Europe, the area has been the subject of a huge clean-up project, ensuring that people and wildlife can safely use this stretch of coast again.

Wildlife spotting

Discover the great variety of wildlife that calls this coastline home all year round. Which of these can you spot?

Durham brown argus

This rare little butterfly is the flagship species for a stretch of coast that's full of interesting and unusual wildlife. There are several colonies along the coast. Warren House Gill is one of the best places to look for them when they're on the wing in June and July.


There's nothing like the sound of the skylark to make it feel like spring has sprung. They nest all along the coast in the grassland, so it's easy to enjoy their song flights.

Grey partridge

The numbers of this once-common bird have seriously declined, and it’s now a protected species. Happily, you can still find grey partridges on the Durham Coast. Beacon Hill is a good place to keep an eye out.

Dingy skipper

This is one butterfly that lives up to its name. It may not be the most beautiful, but we still like this rare little insect. Look for it basking on bare earth.


It’s very unusual to have areas of limestone on the coast. As a result, the Durham Coast is home to lots of rare plants, such as the bloody cranesbill, dyer’s greenweed and devil’s-bit scabious.

The patches of scrub that intersperse the grassland provide shelter for birds such as grasshopper warblers. Listen out for their insect-like song. You can find some of the best wildflower meadows at Blast Beach and Shippersea Bay.

A woman and boy look at sea treasure in their hands whilst two other people walk along the tideline in the background
Enjoy some coastal adventures | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Family fun on the Durham Coast

Tick off some of the activities on your list of ‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’. There are plenty to choose from on the Durham Coast, whether you want to try your hand at skimming a stone, hunting for bugs, flying a kite or climbing a tree.

We've also hidden loads of geocaches on the Durham Coast, so why not get out there and find them? Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt that's fun for all ages. All you need is a GPS device or a GPS-enabled mobile phone and a sense of adventure.

Durham Coastal Half Marathon

Want to set yourself a challenge? Held every July, the Durham Coastal Half Marathon could be for you. Whether you’re looking to set yourself a personal best or simply finish the route, you’ll take in spectacular views along the way as you run along the Durham Coastal Path.

Visitors exploring the rocky shoreline on the Durham Coast, County Durham

Discover more on the Durham Coast

Find out how to get to the Durham Coast, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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