The village is contained within Hell Hole Wood and is home to Beamish Museum, an open-air museum seeking to replicate a northern town of the early 20th century. Its principal public house is the Shepherd and Shepherdess, near the Beamish Museum entrance.
To the north of Beamish, Pockerley Manor preserves a rare though altered example of a pele tower in County Durham, probably dating from the 15th century with later alterations and additions. It is attached to a later farmhouse and the building is now known as Pockerley Manor. The tower has living accommodation built over a stone basement, the first floor reached through a stair built into the thickness of the wall, and the roof is largely original.