Bishop Auckland & District


Founded in 1982, u3a is a UK-wide collection of locally-run interest groups that provide a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun. There are also many international groups. People enjoy exploring new ideas, skills, and activities together. There are over 1,000 u3as in the UK with over 430,000 members and membership is open to everyone who is no longer in full-time work. The annual fee is £20 p.a. or less with a reduction at the moment due to Covid restrictions. You can be a member of more than one u3a. u3a gives retired people a unique opportunity to do something different and offers people like us the chance to make new friends, develop new skills, learn new experiences and really get out and enjoy our retirement. Bishop Auckland & District u3a is part of the Northumberland Region u3a, which is part of the National organisation. Links to the National and Regional websites can be found on the u3a Links page.

Bishop Auckland and the surrounding area is steeped in history. Since 1183 Auckland Castle has been the country home of the Prince Bishops of Durham and is now owned by art collector and philanthropist, Jonathan Ruffer. Originally from the northeast he has returned with a vision for the area. One of his projects is The Auckland Project that includes the renovation of Auckland Castle along with the deer park and walled garden plus a Mining Art Gallery, a Spanish Art Gallery, and the Auckland Tower Visitor Centre as well as the archaeological excavation of Binchester Roman Fort. More information can be found by clicking here. Another project is the creation of an historical theme park called Kynren with a spectacular evening show at its heart providing an epic history of England. Kynren is modelled on Puy du Fou in the Vendée region of France which has developed over 40 years and is now the 2nd largest tourist attraction in France, bringing huge economic benefits to the region. Click here for a link to Kynren. Kynren is already in the top 5 new attractions in the UK and gets 5* ratings on Trip Advisor. Between them these projects provide tourists with activities to fill their time day and night and already there are travel companies with northeast tourist itineraries that have Kynren as the core event. In the future the knock-on benefits for sectors such as hospitality look very promising. Bishop Auckland is also known as the Gateway to the Dales. The area offers some spectacular scenery as well as a wide variety of activities and excursions.

Bishop Auckland & District u3a (formerly WearTees u3a) was established in 2000 and has grown rapidly to a current membership of approximately 260. We have a Monthly Meeting that is held at Bishop Auckland Town Hall with a guest speaker. As of Tuesday, 17th August meetings have resumed at Bishop Auckland Town Hall with appropriate Covid-protection in place. This meeting is a chance for all of our members to come together and enjoy the talk as well as getting up to date with group plans and catching up with friends new and old. Please click on the Monthly Meeting for more details and/or the 2021 Speaker Programme to see what talks are planned.

We have a good selection of groups in our u3a and several have continued to operate during Covid restrictions via Zoom. Most are now resuming activities in the coming weeks. As a member of Bishop Auckland & District u3a you can join as many or as few groups as you want to depending upon your interests. This is covered in your annual fee and while some groups are free others have a small charge to cover the use of facilities. Events that require transport or where there is an entrance fee are paid by the member as well as personal expenditure such as refreshments. Please take a look at our groups page for more information about them. There is also a contact link on each page so you can message the group leader. The calendar page gives you a monthly view of planned meetings and events.

The Events page draws attention to anything new and provides additional information about some of the group events. The Odds & Ends page contains information that our members might find interesting or useful but which does not relate directly to u3a activities.

If you require any further information you can send an email to any of our Committee members by using the Contact page. We’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Just to give you an idea of what happens in our u3a there is a link to one of our magazines on this page. A new magazine is produced quarterly. As we value the privacy of our members some information has been redacted.

Please explore our website by clicking on the main buttons at the top of the screen. If you click on an external link, such as a link to another u3a site, then use your back button to get back here or reload our website into your address bar. If you have any comments or would like to point out any errors related to this website please send them to the Website Manager.

© All photographs are the copyright of Bishop Auckland & District u3a and may not be copied or reproduced without permission