VCD Blog - What's New for 2023 and Beyond

A number of exciting new openings will be taking place across the county in 2023, further enhancing Durham’s offer, attracting new audiences and encouraging return visits.

Raby Estates

Ambitious renovations and developments are underway at Raby Estates, as they expand the visitor offer at Raby Castle, Park and Gardens. The Rising development is due to be complete in 2024.

The Faith Musuem

The Faith Museum

Due to open 7 October 2023, The Faith Museum, part of The Auckland Project, will be England’s first museum dedicated to exploring the story of faith in Britain and its meaning today.


Locomotion is investing in new experiences, buildings and interpretation across the museum to better tell the significant story of Shildon, and its contribution to the development of railways worldwide. In spring 2024, the opening of New Hall will make Locomotion home to the largest collection of historic rail vehicles, under cover and on one site anywhere in the world.

Beamish museums new cinema

Remaking Beamish

Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, is celebrating the largest single investment ever seen with a £10.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Remaking Beamish project. Work to expand the 1950s Town continues with the construction of a new toy shop, electrical store and cinema underway. Georgian themed accommodation, a pottery workshop and tavern are also in the pipeline. Due to be completed by spring 2024.

Durham Coast at sunrise


The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £2.78m to the Tyne to Tees, Shores and Seas Partnership scheme (SeaScapes).

Illustration of the Story building

The Story

The grade II listed Mount Oswald is currently undergoing restoration and will become a state-of-the-art history centre – The Story at Mount Oswald. It will bring Durham’s fascinating history to life through historic records, photographs and objects, alongside exhibitions, activities and events. Due to open late 2023.

Park Head Hotel bedroom

Park Head Hotel

Following an extensive refurbishment, Park Head Hotel opened on 1 February 2023. Offering 38 en-suite hotel rooms and 80 seat Oak Room Restaurant, where guests can tuck into delicious local produce.

The Silver Swan

The Silver Swan

The Bowes Museum’s Silver Swan will take centre stage for the museum’s main exhibition of 2023 - Movement: Celebrating 250 years of the world’s most famous Silver Swan runs from 8 July 2023 to 7 January 2024.

Durham Distillery logo

Durham Distillery

Work on the new home of Durham Distillery is almost complete. The 5,000 square foot distillery, shop and bar will be found under the streets of historic Durham City, in Prince Bishops Place. Gin making and cocktail classes are now available and distillery tours will be available soon (date TBC).

Couple walking at Durham Cathedral

Northern Saints Trails

Six walking trails that bring to life the stories of the region’s saints, set against a backdrop of the best of the North East’s landscapes, heritage and food and drink.