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County Durham is a county in North East England. The county town is Durham, a cathedral city, whilst the largest settlement in the ceremonial county is Darlington. Four unitary authorities cover the ceremonial county — Durham County Council and the councils of the boroughs of Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees.
The ceremonial county borders Tyne and Wear to the north/north east, Northumberland to the north, Cumbria to the west and North Yorkshire to the south; the borough of Stockton-on-Tees is unique in England in being divided between two ceremonial counties, with the part of the borough north of the River Tees being in Durham and the part south of the Tees being in North Yorkshire. Historically, the county of Durham included the southern area of the modern county of Tyne and Wear, including Gateshead and the city of Sunderland, but excluded the former Startforth Rural District around Romaldkirk and Cotherstone from the North Riding of Yorkshire. It bordered Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland and the North Riding of Yorkshire.