Bishop Auckland Tourist Information

Situated at the confluence of the River Wear and the River Gaunless is the town of Bishop Auckland, so named due to its long-standing status as residence of the Bishops of Durham. The largest in the Wear Valley, this historic town is one of the major shopping venues in the southwest of County Durham, and has over two hundred high-street and specialist shops, making it a great country town destination for ‘shopaholics’ and history lovers alike.

The home of the Bishops of Durham for over eight centuries, Auckland Castle, standing at the north end of the town, remains the administrative building for the Diocese, and is open to the public from Easter till September, providing a magnificent summer tourist attraction for visitors to the area. Bishop’s Deer Park, the eight hundred acres of woodland which surround the castle, is lined by the meandering River Gaunless, and is the perfect setting for a family picnic in the sun.

Within the town centre itself are many engaging attractions deserving of attention, including the 19th century Town Hall, a Grade II listed building constructed in the French Gothic revival style, with a library and performance space that has hosted many musical and theatrical performances over the years. The hall also houses the McGuinness Gallery, which holds art exhibitions with works hand-picked by authorities from the Durham Art Gallery.

Other notable town centre attractions include the 19th century Church of St. Anne, the Roman road Dere Street with its distinctive forts, and the Bishop Auckland Discovery Centre, displaying local artwork and illustrations of the culture and history of the town.

If wanting to journey further out of town, the nearby village of Escomb is home to a Anglo-Saxon church that has remained standing for over a thousand years, and the Grade I listed St. Andrew’s Church, the largest in County Durham, is close at hand in the village of South Church.

Interesting fact: Laurel and Hardy’s Stan Laurel was born and baptised in Bishop Auckland.

Things to see and do around Bishop Auckland:

Auckland Castle
Bishop Auckland Discovery Centre
Bishop Auckland Town Hall
Bishop’s Deer Park
Church of St Anne
Dere Street
McGuinness Gallery
Escomb Anglo-Saxon Church
St Andrew’s Church