Past events

Over the past years, Old Durham has taken part in annual Heritage Open Days, public walks and music concerts. We have recorded past events below, and hope to continue in a similar vein into the future.


Heritage Open Days

As part of the annual national Heritage Open Days in mid-September, the upper garden is open for extended hours.

Saturday 10th – Sunday 11th September 2016

Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th September 2013


Music in the Gardens

An afternoon of refreshments and free music within the walled gardens, often the last Sunday of Heritage Open Days.

Sunday 11th September 2016

Attended by over 730 people throughout the afternoon, we had six groups featuring Appalachian, classical, jazz, folk, popular, blues and baroque/renaissance music.

Sunday 13th September 2015

Sunday 14th September 2014

Sunday 15th September 2013

Sunday 9th September 2012


Music events

In addition to our annual Music in the Gardens event.

Sunday 8th June 2016. Durham Scratch Choir played a set in the gardens.


Walks Programme

Our trustee, Martin Roberts, leads walks of historic gardens around Durham.

Sunday 15th June 2014. Durham Peninsula Gardens and Riverbanks, Part 2.

Garden walk led by Martin Roberts, with focus on the historic landscapes on the peninsula.

Sunday 4th May 2014. Durham Peninsula Gardens and Riverbanks, Part 1.

Garden walk led by Martin Roberts, with focus on the historic landscapes on the peninsula.

Sunday 14 April 2013. Durham Colleges.

The college gardens of Durham University are a hidden delight, rarely open to public view. But thanks to the kindness of the college heads, they are exclusively open to the Friends. This all day event will take us through landscapes that date back to the medieval city, through seventeenth and eighteenth century gardens laid out by the gentry on the Bailey, to the modern gardens of the South Road colleges. We visited gardens at St Chad’s, St John’s, St Mary’s, Trevelyan and St Aidan’s colleges.

Sunday 16 June 2013. Cocken and Finchale

In the mid-eighteenth century the young Ralph Carr of Cocken Hall married well and spent much of his new wealth laying out the grounds of his estate. It became one of the most visited County Durham landscapes, such was the fame of its dramatic walks and panoramas. Despite the loss of the hall, the remains of that landscape, and the evidence of earlier, formal parkland can still be traced on the estate today. Carr’s landscape ended with the perfect, tree-framed view of the medieval ruins of Finchale Priory.

Sunday 12 May 2013. Newton Hall.

An afternoon walk through the modern landscape of Newton Hall housing estate in search of the evidence for the eighteenth century landscape of the great house that once stood there. You will be surprised just what evidence can still be found. Armed with old photographs and maps we shall investigate just how the twentieth century house builder could not totally eradicate the historic landscape he inherited.

Saturday 23 June 2012. Ceddesfield Hall, Sedgefield.

A recently discovered mid C18 garden designed by Cathedral canon and influential landscape designer, Joseph Spence. Subsequently altered and part municipalised, but a fascinating site with much good detective work. The Hall is the former rectory in the middle of the village, now a community centre.

Saturday 26 May 2012. Kepier Hospital, Old Durham Gardens, Durham Peninsula Gardens.

A day-long event, held jointly with Northumbria Gardens Trust. Trace the green-fingered Heath family from their origins at Kepier Hospital with its late C16/early C17 walled garden and classical loggia, via present day Hatfield College,out to Old Durham, finishing in the later C17. Castle and College gardens influenced by Old Durham.

Saturday 21 April 2012. Sherburn Hospital

A rich garden history, with medieval origins, a C17 terrace, an unusual mid C18 “outgarden”, with later gardens continuing right into C19 and C20.


Apple Day

Saturday 23 October. Local historian David Butler led a guided tour to Old Durham.

Visitors on Apple Day (2010)