During World War Two, survivors of Dunkirk were brought here to heal, regaining strength in peaceful surroundings.
You can’t miss the rose beds
Expect the unexpected
You’ll encounter playful surprises among our woodland trails and wide-open spaces.
Keep eyes peeled for inspirational art, cool wildlife carvings, vibrant floral gardens, fun family-friendly activities and live theatre, music and dance events.
We hold regular outdoor events for families, grown-ups and teeny tiny folks.
Experience the outdoors at Ushaw
Thirty acres of beautiful park, gardens and woodland – just four miles from historic Durham City.
Whether you’re pushing a buggy, holding hands or exercising a furry friend, Ushaw’s park and gardens are a delightful place to unwind and leave your worries behind.
You’ll find space to roam and recharge.
This is Ushaw, an outdoor experience so good, it’s beyond belief.
- Formal gardens
- Woodland walks
- 3-mile circular walking route
- Bounds Cafe – outdoor café and terrace
- The Bounds: grass events and play space with children’s toys
- Quadrangle of Georgian historic house
- Regular programme of outdoor events & exhibitions
Ushaw-in good times
Our gardens & parkland
are open Daily 11am–4pm,
The Main House & Chapels are open Thursday to Sunday 1pm–4pm
Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels & Gardens,
near Durham City
The History of Ushaw's Park and Gardens
Our gardens tell Ushaw’s story perfectly. Once a community of faith, reinvented into one of Durham’s best visitor attractions, open for all since 2014.
When Ushaw’s school for priests closed, its gardens fell wild and overgrown.
After lying abandoned and unloved, volunteer gardeners and friends of Ushaw set about saving them.
Now fully restored, visitors love perching on our benches with a good book, sharing stories over coffee from the Bounds Café and soaking up fresh air and freedom.
400 red roses and clematis were planted in 2016 in memory of Ushaw students that fought and died in World War One.
During World War Two, survivors of Dunkirk were brought here to heal and convalesce, regaining strength in peaceful surroundings.
Now, there are beautiful borders and vivid, vibrant rhododendrons which sparkle in Summer.
Old photographs show these magnificent plants as tiny shrubs as far back as 1865.
Book a Guided Tour
The main House and associated buildings are accessible to all. They are a permanent home for our exhibitions, art and world renowned library. Ushaw is one of Britain’s best places to see Gothic Revival, Georgian and Victorian architecture.
You can take a guided tour or wander freely through corridors, chapels and cloisters experiencing unbroken peace and tranquillity. Children and families can collect clues, solve mysteries and unravel our treasure and learning trails.
Our gardens bloom bright and provide a stunning selfie spot in front of the main house, St Cuthbert’s Chapel and our Library.
Wander a little further, past unusual trees like our Holm Oak, Monkey Puzzle, Weeping Ash, Sweet Chestnut and Purple Beech.
You’ll see the outline of an old lake, dredged for clay to make bricks used to build our historic house.
Dotted around are animal carvings, the work of acclaimed carver Tommy Craggs, using wood from a sweet chestnut uprooted during Storm Desmond.
Wander in the Wolf Wood
Some historians believe Ushaw comes from the Anglo-Saxon term “Ulfs Shaw” meaning Wolf’s Wood.
For the energetic, you can enjoy a 3-mile circular route around the estate, starting at the main house and taking in the old hilltop with wide-open views of Durham’s countryside.
Everywhere you’ll find clues to our enchanting past. The Beech trees at the bottom of drive were planted in 1800 to shield against the wind and keep building works secret from nosy neighbours. On the eastern drive, the holes of a forgotten golf course now lie under fields and pasture.