Auckland Tower

The natural starting point for your visit to The Auckland Project.

Climb high to see far – the 29 metre Tower with its 15m viewing platform offers 360° views across Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland town and the rural landscape beyond.

Our team will be on hand to answer your questions and help you plan the ideal route around our attractions.

Auckland Tower is the perfect place to orientate yourself at the start of your visit and get the lay of the land. Buy tickets here, collect guidebooks and maps, and learn about events and activities, as well as finding out more about the Prince Bishops of Durham, before making your way to the Castle.

The building, designed by Nìall McLaughlin, stands on the threshold between the town and the Castle. Its modern design echoes historic structures, like a great wooden siege engine drawn up against the Castle’s fortifications to allow access to the historic inner realm.

Don't forget to look up – the Tower also features a number of striking architectural details, including decorated tiles and ceiling panels.

The history of Bishop Auckland

Bishop Auckland is a small town but one with a big history. The town has been home to the Prince Bishops of Durham since 1183, when Bishop Hugh de Puiset built a manor house there, on the grounds of what would become Auckland Castle. This was the Prince Bishops’ country seat, with their main residence at Durham Castle.

But the town’s history goes back even further. The Romans had a fort at nearby Binchester and there is also evidence of even older settlements in the area.

The birth of the railways also played an important part in Bishop Auckland’s history. The original Stockton and Darlington Railway, which was the first ever public railway line to use steam locomotives, passed through nearby West Auckland. After the arrival of the railway in 1842, the town’s population increased from 4,000 to 14,000 within fifty years.

Our work

The attractions of the Auckland Project are rooted in the town's local history, passion and might, we are simply developing on what is already here – the fantastic legacy of the Prince Bishops. Over the last ten years we have been investing in the town's heritage and building community programmes.

Every visit to the Tower or another one of our seven attractions, helps us to ensure that the town's future is as magnificent and vibrant as its past.

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‘A wonderful attraction. We were escorted to the top by a guide who explained what we could see from the top. The views were fantastic. Incredible modernist architecture.' – Sean


‘Love this structure and brave architecture. It adds to, and compliments the urban landscape. The light grey silicate wood protector lights up in sunlight, and is beautiful. A real asset to Bishop Auckland. Great views and full of interest. The staff are very helpful and friendly.  Auckland Tower has been noted around the world, and is much admired. It is an iconic entry point to this interesting place, helping to ignite interest in its rich history. Bold and imaginative.' – Polligull


‘Auckland Tower is well worth a visit. Beautiful building inside with lots to investigate. Very friendly staff. Lifts to the top where you can get a spectacular view of the town. Toilets on site. Seating on site to have a view of the town from lower level too.' – Virginia