County Durham is a county in the North East of England, to the South of Northumberland and the North of Yorkshire.
Throughout the Middle Ages it was a Palatinate, where the Bishops had almost regal authority, and it became known as the Land of the Prince Bishops.
There is rugged Pennine countryside, and a tradition of industry and shipbuilding in the East and along the coast.
The City of Durham, with its magnificent cathedral and castle, has a superb setting on a rocky crag overlooking a loop of the River Wear.
Barnard Castle has the fine Bowes Museum in a French chateau style.
Bishop Auckland, home of a famous amateur football team, is where the Bishops of Durham have their Palace.
Darlington is a large town with a museum celebrating its important role in railway history. The line to Stockton was the first in the country.
Gateshead, over the Tyne from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has one of the country's largest shopping centres, the Metro Centre.
Hartlepool is an important maritime town, which also retains part of its mediaeval town wall.
Jarrow still has the Anglo-Saxon church where the Venerable Bede wrote his history, and is famous in 20th century history for the Jarrow Marchers.
Stockton-on-Tees, destination of the railway line from Darlington, claims to have the widest High Street in England.
Sunderland has a long shipbuilding heritage, and became a city in 1992.
County Durham lies between the River Tyne and the River Tees. Its other important river is the Wear.