County Durham is a ceremonial county and (smaller) unitary district in north east England. The county town is Durham. The largest settlement in the ceremonial county (in its own unitary Borough) is the town of Darlington. The county has a mixture of mining and farming heritage, as well as a heavy railway industry, particularity in the southwest of the county in Darlington, Shildon and Stockton. Its economy was historically based on coal and iron mining. It is an area of regeneration and promoted as a tourist destination.
The ceremonial county borders Tyne and Wear, North Yorkshire and Northumberland forms part of the North East England region. Many counties are named after their principal town, and the expected form here would be Durhamshire. The county is commonly known as County Durham but was officially named Durham until at least 1997. The structural change legislation in 2009, however, referred to the county of County Durham. The former postal county was known as "County Durham" to distinguish it from the post town of Durham. Durham is the only English county name to be prefixed with "County" in common usage - a practice more common in Ireland.