Durham Adventure Festival promises tales of excitement, wilderness and fearless activity out in far off lands - but you don't have to go too far to enjoy your own mini adventure.
For each adventure idea, we've included some of the companies we found who offer the relevant services. This isn't an endorsement, and we recommend you do your own research before booking.
Durham Adventure idea #1: Camping beneath the stars
If you're anything like us, any daydreams about adventures usually involve camping somewhere remote and exciting, usually with a good view of a starry night sky and a hearty campfire blazing away.
Although wild camping is illegal in most of England, some landowners offer a 'nearly wild' camping experience, and County Durham is blessed with lots of remote locations with camping sites.
One nearly wild Durham camping site we found was Highside Farm, at Bowbank in Middleton-in-Teesdale, which offers toilets and showers on a camping site on a farm. You could always then go on a gentian walk to explore the area, or see the waterfall at Cauldron Snout. Another is The Barn at Easington, which is next to the Durham Heritage Coast and encourages campfires.
Durham Adventure idea #2: County Durham stargazing
You don't need to go far to feel a millions miles away: with the numerous County Durham dark sky areas, you can be out of the city and staring at the stars in no time.
Hamsterley Forest dark sky discovery site is driveable in just over an hour from Durham, and offers 24 hour toilet facilities (overnight parking charges apply). Look out for Forestry Commission stargazing events as well as those organised by local astronomers such as Go Stargazing.
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Durham Adventure idea #3: Whitewater adventures
A testament to the variety of terrain we have in our wonderful county is that we've got exciting rivers where you can have an adventure. There's whitewater tubing at Low Force in Teesdale, or you could try gorge walking and kayaking with Weardale Adventure Centre, who also offer adventures such as mine exploration and high ropes.
Durham Adventure idea #4: Get in the sea
County Durham isn't just about the wonderful landscape: we've also got a great coastline. Head out on the water with activities such as canoeing and fishing. You could try Seaham Harbour Activity Centre for some sea kayaking and other sea-based activities such as stand up paddle boarding.
Durham Adventure idea #5: On your bike
There are lots of places to enjoy cycling in County Durham, from easy road routes through to challenging mountain biking paths. One idea for an adventure is the Weardale Way. At 77 miles long it's perfect for a challenging weekend adventure, taking you through County Durham's industrial heritage, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Durham Cathedral and Castle, Roman and Norman settlements, and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can find out more here.
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Durham Adventure idea #6: Canoeing is Wear-ly good
Please forgive us for that truly dreadful pun. As compensation, here's an idea for a great day out - an adventure that's close to the city centre and something the whole family can enjoy: canoeing on the River Wear. One company offering it is Wear Canoes, which offers canoeing along beautiful stretches of the River Wear. You can call them on 07792 902214.
Durham Adventure idea #7: Very crafty
Modern life has detached us from the basic skills humans once used in order to survive. Get back to nature and have an adventure with a bushcraft workshop, which includes skills such as building shelters, lighting campfires and cooking a meal out in the open.
One option is Hamsterley Forest, which runs regular family bushcraft days as well as den building and sleepout nights. You can find the itinerary here.
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Durham Adventure idea #8: Going underground
County Durham adventures don't just have to be on the surface; there are plenty of caves to explore too. Get underground and see what you can find. The Durham University Spelelogical Association says it's open to anyone who wants to give caving a go.
Durham Adventure idea #9: Diving down
Fancy learning to dive? Aquanorth runs diving taster sessions for £15 at a swimming pool. If you find that diving is for you, then they also run open water diving.
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