The largest town in Wear Valley, Bishop Auckland lies at the point where Dere Street – the Roman Road from York to Corbridge and Hadrian’s Wall – crosses the River Wear. Its history as a seat of the Prince Bishops reaches back to the 12th century, and this link with the Prince Bishops was of great value to the town as it grew in importance, first as a market town and then as an industrial centre. Today Bishop Auckland is a lively town and shopping centre with a busy market (on Thursdays and Saturdays) and a good choice of cafés, pubs and hotels. The distinctive town hall dominates the market place. It now houses a Tourist Information Centre, where staff are on hand to advise visitors. The influence of the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham is evident in the magnificent surroundings of Auckland Castle, originally a place to entertain their great hunting parties, but today it is the home of the Bishop, an administrative centre and a venue for banquets, conferences, concerts and events. There are excellent views of the town and river from Newton Cap Viaduct, on the road to Crook.