As the weather gets better and (hopefully) the rain starts to fall away, the chance to explore parts of the open countryside and picturesque villages increases. 

County Durham is packed full of incredible places and amazing views - including countless villages that pack in an abundance of history, activity and peacefulness. 

As part of great County Durham villages, we have pieced together five villages we class as 'unsung' and often overlooked compared to some other places in the region. 

Here are our five 'unsung' villages you must visit in County Durham:


Just named one of the poshest places to live in the UK for the third year in a row, Brancepeth is an absolute dream of a place to visit - due to its heritage and beautiful building dating back centuries. 

With ivy-covered cottages, a castle landmark and dreamy-looking houses - it's no real surprise that Brancepeth has been included in the poshest places list

Brancepeth Castle dates back to the 12th century, with a café in the gatehouse and even a golf course next to the village hall. 

This place is a must-visit - especially on a sunny day.

Alongside the history, there are some lovely walks around Brancepeth, whether it's the grounds of the castle or just around the village.


With a population of just over 1300 people, this village is the definition of quaint. With Langley Beck running just alongside, it's a picturesque location for a walk and explore. 

Whether it's looking around St Mary's Church, Staindrop or  The Wheatsheaf pub - this place is amazing. 

However, the main thing about Staindrop is its proximity to Raby Castle. 

Despite having to pay to get into the attraction, it's well worth a visit.


Like those listed so far, Gainford is packed full of history, from its church to its house styles and even its pub. 

The village, which is located right on the edge of the River Tees, there are plenty of river walks, which you could expect from its location. 

Alongside the walks along the river and the village, the main features are an unspoilt village green, a Jacobean hall and a Georgian street called High Row.

The Georgian architecture continues throughout the village with many of its houses.


Perhaps the most historic of all of the places listed - Piercebridge boasts an excavated Roman fort, which is open to the public.

Piercebridge is also known for its river walks down the Teesdale Way, and you can watch the River Tees run down while standing on the impressive Roman bridge. 

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From St Mary's Church to the pub, The Fox Hole, it's a perfect visit - especially if you're visiting from Darlington or Barnard Castle, which are several miles away.

Castle Eden

Right on the edge of the Teesside and County Durham border, Castle Eden village sits with its lovely views and its beauty spot; Castle Eden Dene. 

While the Natural England site includes The Castle at Castle Eden, there are several other notable viewpoints in the 14 acres of woodland, including Blunts Beck Waterfall, Tree of Names, and Gunners Pool Bridge.

An amazing place to go for a walk, there are plenty of nice pubs nearby, including the Castle Eden Inn.