Places of Interest - an overview of Seaham
Promenade and Esplanade
Byron Place Shopping Centre
Dalton Park Shopping Centre
St. Mary the Virgin Church
Durham Heritage Coast
Marina and Port of Seaham
Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa
Town Centre area
With ample car parking from Seaham Hall picnic area to the north and Noses Point, Dawdon in the south, the promenade, esplanade and Terrace Green provide wonderful recreational opportunities. You can walk for approximately five kilometres with wonderful vistas looking over the cliffs and out to sea. A lot of decorative art features adorn the promenade.
Seaham’s popular North Beach with its sea washed sand and rock pools has been greatly enhanced by a fine 3,700 feet long seawall which also protects the crumbling cliffs and endangered coast road. Good cliff top car parks now provide excellent access to the beaches and picnic areas. The beaches are regularly used for local and national sea angling competitions organised by Seaham Sea Angling Club.
Byron Place Shopping Centre
Byron Place shopping centre opened in November, 2007. It is made up of a fabulous line up of stores including a 45,000 sq ft Asda foodstore, Argos, BetFred, BrightHouse, Card Factory, Farmfoods, Greggs, Home Bargains, The Flooring Store, O2, Park Lane Cards and Gifts, Peacocks, Select, Specsavers, Subway and Wilkinson. There are 358 dedicated shopping spaces, which guarantee easy access to the centre.
Dalton Park Shopping Centre
This private sector investment provides excellent shopping opportunities. The existing 150,000 square foot food and non-food retail outlets cater for the sale of designer label fashions, home care products, leisurewear and the like. Planning consent was recently granted for a second phase which will include a cinema, petrol station, hotel, pub, food store and various restaurants. The £35m project will create 500 jobs in the area and it is anticipated that work will start on site within a year and take 12 months to complete.
St Mary the Virgin Church
Latest News > Ongoing Projects> Archaelogical Survey
Local Information > Historic Seaham
One of the most outstanding features in Seaham is St. Mary the Virgin Church. Located to the north of Seaham this old Anglo Saxon church has roots thought to date back to the 7th century. Still regularly used for church services and much sought after for weddings, the church is a must for visitors and tourists to the town. The Church is recognised as one of the 20 oldest surviving churches in the whole country.
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Old Seaham is situated in Church Lane off the B1287 and is North of Seaham Harbour. The earliest mention of the area is in a Land Grant made by King Oswy in 658, then by Witmer in 710, who gives land “in a vill called Daldun” to the Church. Later in 933 King Athelstane, a grandson of King Alfred, renews the lands to the Church.
Recent archaeological digs showed that extensive Christian burials of both sexes took place in the large field to the north of the present Church. The remains were carbon dated to about 700 A.D. The Church in Seaham is described by historians as being one of the earliest Anglo-Saxon Churches in existence. The original dimensions of the Church are typical of the earliest period of Church building. The windows of the Nave are one of the most interesting features. Originally eight in number, these are round headed with a single splay opening. Externally there are two shallow concentric grooves, internally the east window on the north side has two bands of wheatear and cable ornamentation on the soffit of the window head. One window still shows the remains of a groove for a shutter.
Another distinctive feature is the herringbone working on the exterior of the north wall. This feature is some 6ft. above the plinth along the whole length of the Nave and the pattern reverses near the north door. Alterations and extensions to the Church were made by the various Families associated with the Church:
1170-1180 the Escollands added the existing Chancel,
13th Cent. the Hadhams altered some of the windows,
15th Cent. the roof was replaced and battlements added,
16th Cent. the Bowes added a porch on the south side,
1773 the Milbankes added a sundial.
In 1476 Sir Ralph Bowes sold the Advowsen of the Church and some land to “the right high and mighty Prince Richard, Duc of Gloucestre”. As King Richard 3rd he transferred to property to Coverham Abbey, Yorks. Subsequently ownership of the Church passed to Queen Elizabeth 1st. The Queen Mother acknowledged her link to the Church through the Bowes-Lyons family with a very generous donation in 1961 in support of the Church.
Seaham was still a farming village until the late 18th Cent when Judith Milbanke wrote “A little hamlet where there is neither Coal pit nor even a fishing coble”. All that was to change following the estate sale to the Londonderry family, and changes continue into the present century. The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is a Grade 1 listed building which serves the local community with regular Services, Baptisms and Weddings. Details are available from the Churchyard noticeboard.
Information kindly provided by Mr Ray Armbrister.
Durham Heritage Coast
A significant part of the stunning coastline within County Durham is located at Seaham. This coastline won the Countryside Agency's official designation as a Heritage Coast in 2001. It has very recently achieved European recognition, being one of three entrants honoured with a formal 'Special Mention' for its works in the prestigious Landscape Award of the Council of Europe completion. The press release issued in respect of this achievement can be viewed here.
Many of the improvements carried out by the Durham Heritage Coast Partnership have been so spectacularly successful that they have gained a string of national and European environmental awards – visit Durham Heritage Coast Partnership website on http://www.durhamheritagecoast.org/ . Seaham at the northern end of the Durham Heritage Coast is the most developed section with funding from the Turning the Tide Project which was funded by the Millennium Commission. This led the successful removal of spoil dumped over the sea cliffs and on to the beaches.
Visitors can follow the Seaham Timeline trail from Seaham Hall car park.
The impressive Promenade improvements and recently extended Esplanade provide wonderful walking opportunities along the cliff tops. There are also extended walks along the coastline to adjoining settlements.
Marina and Port of Seaham
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Looking down from the Esplanade you have great views of the busy south dock handling varied cargos. The owners have ambitious plans for expanding their business. Public access to the North Dock which is now the new Seaham Harbour Marina has been restored and it officially opened to the public in May, 2013.
Seaham Hall Hotel & Serenity Spa
Built in the 17th century, the Hall has a colourful history being the venue for the wedding of the romantic poet Lord Byron to Lady Annabella Milburn. Following a £20m transformation it is now tastefully restored and transformed into a luxury hotel and spa of considerable grandeur. With 19 rooms it opened in 2001, was voted AA hotel of the year in 2004 and the Serenity Spa voted World’s Best Spa for Style by Sunday Times magazine.
Seaham Hall has gained a world wide reputation since it was transformed into a luxury hotel and spa in 2001, offering nineteen suites to tourists and businessmen visiting East Durham. It was awarded five-star status from the AA in 2006 and it subsequently became the only North East eating estabishment to achieve a Michelin Star for fine dining, the most coveted accolade in the culinary world, in January, 2007.
Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa is the only five-star centre in the region and expanded its facilities with the addition of a further twenty nine bedrooms, a meeting room, installation of a waterfall and the provision of additional disabled parking bays. The development compliments the high quality accommodation already provided. The architectural style of the new building is said to be "contemporary and simple and in an appropriate contrast to the main hall". The hotel and spa has, in 2012 been acquired by an independent hospitality organisation which has committed considerable funds to ensure Seaham Hall's long-term future and position as the finest 5 Star hotel in the North East of England.
It is located to the north of Seaham and adjoins St. Mary the Virgin Church. For more information visit http://www.seaham-hall.com/
Seaham is proud of its outdoor leisure facilities which are enjoyed by residents and visitors. All four of the town’s parks are owned and directed by the Town Council. These are:
Seaham Town Park which were former miners' welfare grounds laid out during 1910/1920’s period. They provide excellent facilities for cricket, outdoor bowls and football. The park hosts the Seaham Red Star Football Club, Seaham Park Cricket Club and Seaham Town Bowls Club. The Town Council has opened a BMX/Skateboard facility within the park and has provided a children's play area.
Just within the gates to the park the new Seaham Town Hall is now operational and on 2nd April, 2015 Oldfield's Pantry café opened for business.
Dawdon Park hosts the Dawdon Cricket Club, Dawdon Bowls Club, Dawdon Whippet Club and Dawdon Football Users Group comprising five separate clubs. This park is situated in the south of Seaham. These former welfare grounds were laid out the 1920’s and provide high class facilities for cricket, outdoor bowls, football and whippet racing. The outdoor Dawdon Community Fun Day arranged by Dawdon Youth and Community Centre takes place annually in July. The Friends of Hazel Dene work actively in partnership with the Council in the care and maintenance of the park and the adjoining community woodlands.
Both of these parks are a legacy donated to the town by former mineworkers who originally paid for the establishment of the parks through levies from their pay whilst working in the pits.
Deneside Park (1935) impresses visitors with the beauty of its setting, its lawns, paths, little stone bridges across the burn and flowering shrubs and trees. The park also has an excellent new children’s play area .
Parkside Neighbourhood Park - facilities include a football pitch, fitness trail, trees, shrubs and a children's play area.
The town has numerous open spaces, community woodlands, children’s play areas and established walks as well as a leisure centre complex and its own 18 hole golf course.
Seaham prides itself on the high class, colourful floral displays and hanging baskets sited throughout the town.
For further information or enquiries about Parks and Recreational Services, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Seaham Town Centre
The historical shopping area within Seaham is Church Street which has been complemented by the adjoining Byron Place shopping centre. This provides a wide choice of shopping opportunities for both residents and visitors.