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Things to do at Penshaw Monument

A view looking up towards a visitor in a bright pink sweater sitting with a black and white dog on the edge of the sandstone base of Penshaw Monument. Huge dark stone columns rise either side of them, up towards the rooftop which is open to a white clouded sky.
Pause and relax at Penshaw Monument | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Penshaw Monument is a striking landmark of the North East, built in 1844 in memory of the 1st Earl of Durham. Here are some of the highlights of what you can see and do at the site, from a tour to the top of this impressive monument to exploring the nearby Penshaw Wood.

Climb Penshaw Hill

You can park off the main road at the bottom of the hill. From there, there is a network of paths which take you around the whole site, including Penshaw Wood. However, it’s hard to resist heading straight up the steps to the monument at the top.

The summit offers a fantastic panorama of the North East – on a clear day you might be able to see as far as the Cheviot Hills, 50 miles away, or spot the spire of Durham Cathedral to the south.

The stepped shape of Penshaw Hill is attributed to a local legend – the Lambton Worm. The giant monster is said to have wrapped itself around the hill 10 times.

In spring and summer you’ll find a beautiful display of wild flowers carpeting the hill and quarry slopes. There’s also the old limestone quarry on the north side of the hill, which is a good place to spot birds feeding amongst the trees.

Two young children looking out over the countryside from Penshaw Monument, Sunderland
Visitors take in the views from Penshaw Monument | © National Trust Images / John Millar

Try geocaching

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure-hunting game. There are over a million secret containers (called geocaches) hidden in outdoor locations throughout the world.

Hunting for them is great fun for people of all ages – all you need is a GPS device or a mobile phone and a sense of adventure.

The National Trust has created a special geocache here at Penshaw Monument, but you'll have to solve a few puzzles first to find it.

To find out more, visit

Explore Penshaw Wood

Take a couple of hours out to explore the enchanting woodland to the west of the monument, whether you're alone with your thoughts, walking your dog or enjoying a family outing.

The wood is rewarding to visit at any time of the year but is particularly beautiful in the warmer months when carpets of bluebells spread out across the forest floor, wood anemones line the paths and the scent of wild garlic fills the air.

A family walk along a path through the woodland around Penshaw Monument; the dappled sunlight shines down through the leaves

Discover more at Penshaw Monument

Find out how to get to Penshaw Monument, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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A group of visitors walk up steps towards the Penshaw Monument in the background on a sunny day, in Sunderland

Volunteering opportunities at Penshaw Monument 

Use your people skills or love of the outdoors to help us to care for Penshaw Monument and other special places across County Durham. Find out more about how you can get involved.

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This National Walking Month, explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

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From medieval manor houses to classic Georgian mansions to lighthouses, the North East's story is brought to life through its characterful historic buildings.

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Explore the North East's wide open spaces on foot or by bicycle. There are nature reserves, vast estates and huge swathes of undulating countryside to discover, as well as plenty of wildlife to spot.