Visit and Learn

Location and Venue:

The main venue for the whole conference (including the networking reception buffet) is the Town Hall, Bishop Auckland, Durham.

Tours will start and, as suits, finish at the Town Hall.

NB: Accommodation is not provided

Visit and learning opportunities

Bishop Auckland, like many of the country’s most interesting historic areas, is not necessarily easy to reach from all points in the UK.

There is a huge range of interesting built cultural heritage in the area, not least in nearby Durham, and delegates travelling longer distances are encouraged to extend their stay around the event so they may learn more about the area.

This guidance is intended to assist in planning how to maximise any learning opportunities and experience of the local area.

ThisisDurham writes:

Known as the gateway to Weardale, Bishop Auckland is a bustling market town in the Vale of Durham, standing high above a meander in the River Wear with commanding views of the surrounding countryside.

Walk from the town centre straight into the beautiful grounds of the magnificent Auckland Castle, the country residence of the Prince Bishops for more than 900 years. And don't miss the annual Bishop Auckland Food Festival which takes place in the castle grounds every April. (Castle currently closed for major restoration, however you can still visit St Peter's Chapel at weekends)

Surrounding the Castle are the 800 acres of the Bishop's Deer Park - a great place for a summer picnic or an autumnal stroll through vividly coloured parkland.

The town is set for major developments over the next few years, with a new welcome building at Auckland Castle, a new Museum extension, an institute of Spanish art and culture, and the redevelopment of the 17th Century Walled Garden which will feature stunning new glasshouses providing 'garden rooms' restaurant and event spaces.

The town burst into life in 2016 as Eleven Arches presented the first season of ‘Kynren – an epic tale of England’ - the £31 million open-air live action spectacular that attracted more than 100,000 visitors during the summer. Kynren returns in 2017 to take audiences on an epic storytelling journey through 2,000 years.

Bishop Auckland's historic town centre has a thriving arts and cultural offering, with the Bishop Auckland Town Hall home to a superb library, cinema, theatre and arts complex. Plus, the town has more than 200 shops - head for Bondgate for boutiques and specialist shops that you won’t find on the high street. And after a busy day, sample the delights of one of the many cosy cafés to help keep the energy levels up!

A mile from the town are the remains of Binchester Roman Fort, home to the best preserved Roman military bath house in Britain. And at Escomb, you can see one of the finest examples of early Christian architecture in Northern Europe at the restored 7th Century Escomb Saxon Church.

Wikipedia writes:

Bishop Auckland is a market town and civil parish in County Durham in north east England . It is located about 19 km northwest of Darlington and southwest of Durham , at the confluence of the River Wear with its tributary the River Gaunless .

The town has a number of Grade I listed buildings . The grounds of Auckland Castle alone contain seven such structures.[80] Additionally Escomb Saxon Church ,[81] St Andrew's parish church,[82] St Helen's church,[83] St Helen Hall,[84] West Auckland Manor House,[85] the East Deanery[86] and the 14th century Bishop Skirlaw bridge are all Grade I listed.[87] Other notable buildings include the town hall, a Victorian railway viaduct and Binchester Roman fort.[88]


Public transport in the area is reasonably good but restricted outside commuting hours.

If you want to make the most of any extended time in the area, this is best done by car.

General travel information

By Train

Bishop Auckland Station is the main railway station in Bishop Auckland and is to the south of the town, about 15 minutes walk from the conference venue, the Town Hall

Local transfers from the main line routes to Bishop Auckland Station take place at Darlington.

If you’re travelling from London, Virgin Trains East Coast run regular services a day, seven days a week from London Kings Cross to Bishop Auckland Station (with change in Darlington that takes no more than 30 minutes). The whole journey shouldn’t take more than 3 hours.

· Currently you cannot arrive in Bishop Auckland by train from London before 11.20 am on any one day

If you’re travelling from the west there are frequent train services with TransPennine Express from Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds etc., with changes in York and Darlington stations. The whole journey should not take more than 3 hours.

· Currently you cannot arrive in Bishop Auckland by train from Birmingham before 11.20 am on any one day

If you’re coming from the north or Scotland Virgin Trains East Coast run regular services every 60 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley, with one change in Darlington or in Durham (to continue by bus to Bishop Auckland Station).

· Currently if you leave Edinburgh on the 06.26 you should arrive in Bishop Auckland on the 09.18 (2h 52 min. journey)

By bus

Station to station bus journeys are about 40 minutes from Durham and Darlington.

By air

The nearest airport is Durham Tees Valley Airport [] at around 31 km (19 miles) drive south-east of Bishop Auckland.

· See airlines at

Alternatively, there is Newcastle International Airport at approximately 49 min (36.3 mi) via A1(M) and A1.

· See airlines at

By car

The nearest motorway junction is Junction 60 of the A1(M), which is around 8 miles (13 km) away.

· For parking in Bishop Auckland see


Current quotes for a 9 am pick up in Durham to Bishop Auckland are c.£25 for 1 person.

Delegates staying over for the event should organise their own accommodation to suit.

There is a wide variety of accommodation available both locally and nearby.

The most historic city near to Bishop Auckland is Durham which offers a wide variety of accommodation.

Staying in and around the region

For general reference on accommodation in the Durham area see:

Hotels near Bishop Auckland:

· The Aclet:

· Brooklands, Bishop Auckland, DL14 6PW, United Kingdom

· Premier Inn Bishop Auckland Hotel:

· West Auckland Road, Bishop Auckland DL14 9TW, England

· Park Head Country Hotel and Restaurant:

· 13 Park View Terrace, Bishop Auckland DL14 8QB, England

Other accommodation advice and resources






Accommodation is also on offer in the area through Airbnb:

Other Places to Visit: Auckland Castle and Bishop Auckland are located within County Durham, which is wellknown for beautiful countryside and its many heritage sites, in particular Durham Cathedral and World Heritage Centre; Beamish – the Living Museum of the North; The Bowes Museum; Locomotion: the National Railway Museum; Raby Castle; Binchester Roman Fort; Adventure Valley; Killhope Lead Mining Museum and High Force waterfall. To check upcoming events and festivals, and activities in the area, visit or

Outdoor Activities:
There are more than 120 designated and branded walking and cycling trails in the county, including the Walney to Wear (W2W) cycle route through the Durham Dales, which comes right through Bishop Auckland, the award-winning Coast to Coast route and the North Sea Cycle Route. There is also an impressive network of railway paths and a number of routes across the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Pennine Way, the Durham Heritage Coast footpath and a relatively recent Wainwright walk are high-profile routes in the county.

Nearby Cities and Towns:
The closest major city to Bishop Auckland is Durham, with its dramatic Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site. Less than an hour’s drive away lies Newcastle/Gateshead with the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the Sage Gateshead plus theatres, shops and museums. There is also excellent shopping to be found in the huge Metro Centre retail park in Gateshead as well as in the centres of the towns and cities.

Things to See:

  • Art Gallery – The Mining Art Gallery situated in the Grade I listed Old Bank Chambers in Bishop Auckland Market Place, will open for public previews on October 14 2017, with its official launch taking place on October 21 2017. The Gallery will explore why miners chose to paint and the impact of mining on communities. More than 420 works by local artists such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish have been gifted to the gallery by the Gemini Collection of Mining Art. Entry is £4 per adult, with doors opening daily, 10am to 4pm.

  • Auckland Park – The Prince Bishops created Auckland Park over 800 years ago as their own private hunting ground. The 200-acre parkland retains many of its medieval elements, including the fish ponds and woodland paths, providing an important record of how the medieval bishops lived, entertained and hunted. It is open daily and is free to access.

  • No.42 – At No.42 Bishop Auckland Market Place you will see a snapshot of the work being carried out by Auckland Castle Trust. The shop and gallery space supports local artists, offering them a place to display and sell their work. The workshop area is a space where the whole community can try their hand at something new and develop new skills and interest. The Collections Display, showing both Future Plans and archived items, is a gateway to both the past and future. It offers a chance to look forward to the exciting changes ahead for Bishop Auckland and take a sneak peek into Auckland Castle’s archives, which will be fully open to the public once the new buildings are complete. No.42 is free to enter and is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm.

· To find out more about attractions and places

· Top Things to do (Trip Advisor)


· Bishop Auckland Area – historical note