There's a variety of excellent golf to be found around the Durham City area.
There's a variety of excellent golf to be found around the Durham City area. In fact, the area makes a brilliant base for a golfing break as it can also be combined with the cultural delights of Durham city itself - and its cathedral, which acclaimed American writer Bill Bryson describes as the finest in the world.
A great base to stay is the Highfield Hotel in East Rainton just a few miles outside the city, which boasts value-for-money accommodation (singles from £45 and doubles from £65) as well as a highly rated Thai restaurant, the Star of Siam.
What's more, a whole host of first-class golf courses are easily accessible from the Highfield, including Ramside Hall, Houghton-le-Spring, Seaham, Chester-le-Street, Mount Oswald and one of the newest courses in the region, Sharpley, which is situated in lush rolling countryside on the outskirts of Seaham.
Each of these courses is less than a 15-minute drive from the Highfield and all offer a wide variety of golfing facilities as well as superb courses that exhibit all the attributes that the North East is famous for.
Most are parkland courses that offer a good challenge for all standards of golfer, whilst, for example, Ramside also has a driving range.
The hotel is also a great base for exploring the scenic delights of the North Pennines, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland and the borders.
To the east lie many coastal resorts and sailing facilities, including Hartlepool Marina.
But the ancient city of Durham with its cathedral, castle and market, just minutes to the south, are certainly a visit.
Durham's history and heritage is truly rich in all senses of the word.
The cathedral, the city's jewel in the crown, is the final resting place of St Cuthbert and became the most important centre for Mediaeval pilgrimages in Northern England.
Together with the adjacent castle, it has been a World Heritage Site since 1987.
But industry has also been an important in the whole of County Durham since the start of the Industrial Revolution over to centuries ago.
This industrial legacy is celebrated at several excellent museums that are also situated close to the Highfield.
For instance, the now peaceful
Durham Dales rang with the clatter of lead mining for the manufacture of pipes and roofs and the Weardale Museum at Ireshopeburn near Bishop Auckland offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the miners.
Coal and the railways also figured large in North East life throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Tanfield Railway, situated at Sunniside in Gateshead, is the world's oldest existing line and you can explore this industrial heritage further at the recently opened Locomotion - the National Railway Museum - at Shildon.
For shopping you will be spoiled for choice. The world famous Metro Centre and Eldon Square In Newcastle are within 20 minutes' drive and you will find the cities of Durham and Sunderland offer good retail therapy too.
Another excellent ingredient of the Highfield package is the well-appointed Star of Siam - the longest-established authentic Thai restaurant in the North East.
The restaurant offers magnificent views of Penshaw Monument and the surrounding Wear Valley. It is open seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner.
Factfile Highfield Hotel, 101 Durham Road, East Rainton, Tyne and Wear, DH5 9QT.
Contact: Phone: 0191-512-0905; Fax: 0191-584-8787.
Ramside Hall: www.ramsidehallhotel.co.uk
Mount Oswald: www.mountoswald.co.uk
General information on County Durham: www.visitcountydurham.com