A new visitor attraction that explores the past, present and future of County Durham is now open to the public.

Durham County Council officially unveiled The Story at the recently renovated and extended Grade II listed Mount Oswald manor house on June 14.

This visitor centre sits just outside Durham City.

The Story houses five essential collections, allowing visitors to access ancient documents, artefacts, records of bravery and life-altering events.

(Image: Durham County Council)

It includes six miles of archives that trace back 900 years of the county's history.

Also, for the first time since 1998, the full Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Collection is on display alongside the DLI Archive.

The venue offers an interactive exhibition space revealing the narratives within these collections.

(Image: Durham County Council)

Alongside this, a programmed sequence of activities will provide fresh avenues for people to delve into and learn more about the people and events that moulded the county.

The festivities marking its official opening continued over the weekend, catering to all age groups.

They ranged from historical re-enactments to pop-up theatre performances and live music.

Attendees also had the golden opportunity to be among the first to experience the innovative venue.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "We’re absolutely delighted that The Story is now open to the public.

"We’ve loved welcoming everyone, from the official opening on Friday through all the special activities over the weekend.

"We’ve had nothing but smiles on faces and laughter from old friends and new."

She pointed out the importance of conserving historically noteworthy collections like the Durham Light Infantry for posterity.


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She said: "This new attraction is a place where County Durham’s heritage is not only preserved but celebrated in a way that we hope will inspire people to find out more.

"It also gives them the opportunity to create and record their own history."

The Story, housed in the early 19th-century structure of Mount Oswald, underwent a series of restorations since planning permission was granted in 2020.

The process included adding a contemporary extension with a sprawling view of the surrounding estate, installing eco-friendly solutions such as 291 solar panels and 60 ground source heat pumps, and setting up an on-site and online state-of-the-art collections search.

Organisations including The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, and the Banks Group have contributed to the realisation of The Story.

Latter, gifted Mount Oswald manor house to Durham County Council.

For more updates on The Story, visit www.thestorydurham.org.