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Watch the video to see why 2019 was Durham’s Year of Culture

Durham's Year of Culture

For a number of years Durham has seen continued growth and investment in cultural, sporting and heritage activity through Durham County Council, wider partners and cultural institutions large and small. 2019 saw the impact of this sustained investment in an unprecedented year of openings, activities, festivals, events and anniversaries, and was been designated as the county’s Year of Culture. A year-long regional and national marketing campaign, #Durham19, was delivered by Visit County Durham, Durham County Council, County Durham Cultural Partnership and partners from across the county.


Lumiere Durham, the UK’s largest light festival, returned in November 2019 for its 10th anniversary edition, whilst The Riverside played host to the ICC Cricket World Cup this summer – the world’s second largest spectator sport. 2019 also sawe the completion of a series of multi-million pound developments at some of the county’s most iconic attractions. Auckland Castle, the 900-year-old former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham and one of the best preserved medieval bishops’ palaces in Europe once again welcomed visitors following a multi-million pound conservation project, whilst Durham Cathedral Tower reopened following conservation works to preserve it for future generations. And at Beamish Museum the £18million Remaking Beamish scheme continued, creating a range of new ways for people to experience the heritage of the North East.


From festivals and attractions that put Durham on the world stage, to events with their roots at the heart of local communities, the #Durham19 campaign presented an opportunity to celebrate and shout about our diverse sporting, culture, arts and heritage offer.


Cementing the position of Durham as a premiere English cultural county, festivals and events contribute to a higher national and international profile as they provide reasons to visit, extend length of stay and can address seasonality by extending the tourist season beyond the summer months. A rich and varied cultural programme also engages residents, encouraging more people to discover and engage with Durham's culture, sport and heritage.

Durham's Year of Pilgrimage

2020 has been designated as the county’s Year of Pilgrimage, click here to find out more >



Durham's Year of Culture was sponsored and supported by Durham County Council, the County Durham Cultural Partnership, Visit County Durham and Partners.

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