Discover Durham’s summer of culture


This summer, the historic city and county of Durham is showcasing its history and heritage like never before with a wealth of fabulous attractions.

Open Treasure opened recently at Durham Cathedral

Open Treasure, Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral has recently unlocked the doors to Open Treasure, a new £10.9 million exhibition experience, which gives visitors access to the cathedral’s magnificent buildings and breath-taking collections as never before. Embracing the latest in exhibition technology, Open Treasure combines old with new in a world-class, interactive experience, as visitors journey through the most intact surviving medieval monastic buildings in the UK.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, the Dean of Durham, said: “Open Treasure is a fantastic way for visitors of all ages to discover more about Christianity in the North East, the Cathedral’s fascinating history as well as our current life as a working church.

“We hope that the interactive displays, fascinating artefacts and amazing spaces will draw visitors young and old from near or far to share this wonderful new venture with us.”

The spectacular Kyren open-air live action show


In the shadow of Auckland Castle Kynren – an epic tale of England is the UK’s most spectacular open-air live action night show since the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and is listed as one of the world’s top 10 must-see tourist attractions to experience in 2016. It takes spectators on a spellbinding journey through British history on a landscaped open-air stage (equivalent to five football pitches with a full-size lake at its centre), with a movie-like, fast-paced and action-packed journey from Roman times to the Second World War, through the Viking invasions, the splendour of the Tudors, the Industrial Revolution and the Roaring Twenties.

As the story unfolds you’ll be treated to ships and a steam train, mass choreography, combat, dance, dazzling pyrotechnics and grandiose lighting and water effects.

Anne-Isabelle Daulon, chief executive officer of Eleven Arches, which stages Kynren, said: “We are delighted that four shows into its first season, Kynren is unanimously celebrated as a world- class spectacular by delighted visitors. Kynren is already attracting audiences from all over ‎the world – the US, China, New Zealand and South Africa among others, contributing to firmly establish County Durham as a destination of national and international significance.”

Until 17 September.

Caroline Groves, Parakeet shoes Photography by Dan Lowe Bowes

The Bowes Museum’s Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

Providing a spectacular setting on the edge of Barnard Castle features shoes worn by or associated with famous icons including David Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, The Honorable Daphne Guinness, Queen Victoria and Kylie Minogue and also explores extreme footwear such as tiny 19th-century lotus shoes made for the Chinese tradition of foot binding.

Organised by the V&A, the exhibition displays more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary men’s and women’s shoes by 70 named designers, including Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Prada, many from the V&A’s unrivalled collection and is the on;y place this exhibition can be seen outside London.

Until 9 October.

Somme 1916: No Turning Back

Somme 1916: No Turning Back, Gala Theatre

This immersive live action experience will see the theatre transformed to recreate the sights, sounds and smells of the First World War. With the help of actors, sets and special effects, audiences will be transported back as they join a new recruit on his journey from volunteering to enduring the trenches before returning home in a dramatic and moving telling of the tragedies of the times, providing a fascinating insight into the experience of those who went to war.

From Thursday 21 July to Sunday 28 August.

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