On the banks of the River Wear, are the extensive remains of Finchale Priory. It was founded in 1196 on the site of the hermitage of St Godric, a retired sailor and merchant, who settled here after a life of adventure and travel. The priory was an outpost of Durham Cathedral and functioned as a holiday retreat for the monks of Durham until its suppression in 1538. The story of Finchale can be read in its surviving remains, from St Godric's original church and tomb through to the 13th-century priory and its later rebuilding.
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year, daily 10-5. Closed 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan
Also in the area
About the area
Discover County Durham
County Durham reaches halfway across England, from the North Pennines in the west, to the sea in the east. Much of it is very sparsely inhabited, and is naturally beautiful; a mix of rolling hills, monumental valleys, lush farmland and unforgiving moors. It’s strong on industrial heritage as well, and remnants of the now all-but-vanished mining industry are everywhere.
The City of Durham has a magnificent Cathedral which can be traced back to the establishment of a church in the 10thcentury as the final resting place of the miraculous remains of Saint Cuthbert. The Cathedral, alongside the city’s Castle (an 11th-century structure that now houses University College), were created a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The area’s mining past is fully documented at the Durham Mining Museum; an amazing resource. Bishop Auckland is the other major settlement, and for centuries was run almost as an independent state by the powerful Bishops of Durham. These days it is still a bustling town with plenty of shops, historical interest and events like the annual food festival. The coastal town of Peterlee is unusual; it was set up as a new town to house Durham miners after WW2.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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