The historic market town of Barnard Castle is only a short drive from a number of our large luxury holiday homes, including Scargill Lodge Cottages, Greenbank Barns, Waterloo Lodge, and Harelands Farm. Affectionately known as ‘Barney’ to locals, the town is named after the 12th century Barnard Castle, set on a high rock above the River Tees with stunning views over the Tees Gorge. Experience the rich history, heritage, and beauty that this market town offers, and there is plenty to do for all ages for groups exploring from accommodation near Barnard Castle.

A flourishing market is held on ‘the cobbles’ in the Market Place every Wednesday. Along the main streets are plenty of pubs, shops and restaurants to enjoy, as well as a wonderful mix of independent boutiques and antiques shops. There are also riverside walks to discover, and a family day out in Barnard Castle must include Bowes Museum, heralded as one of the finest galleries and museums outside of London.

Here are some of the highlights....

Exploring The Town

We have romantic visions of Yorkshire market towns having independent shops, small art galleries, easy (ideally free) parking, and lots of choice when it comes to lunch spots. The reality can be much more hit and miss. Today was a lazy Saturday exploring the high street, and there’s a surprising amount to see.

As high streets across the country adapt to the scourge of online shopping and out of town shopping centres, what impressed us were the number of independent shops, and excitingly for a high-end holiday letting business, the variety of interiors inspiration on offer.

On the Market Cross, the Grade I listed octagonal building also known as the Butter Market now acts as more of a roundabout. In its history it has been a dairy market, court room, lock-up cells and fire station. On Wednesday’s head to the market on the Cobbles with its wide range of local produce.

Interiors

Brilliantly quirky, Ruby & D has a mix of vintage and sustainable upcycled hand painted furniture. For small home improvements, we recommend their colourful door handles or their painting workshops if you’re more “DIY”.

Niche Interiors, further up the high street, offers a stunning array of ornaments and soft furnishings worthy of any interiors magazine. Niche worked closely with the owners of Greenbank Barns and Gayles Hall Barns on their outstanding interiors; you may recognise some of their accent pieces, hanging lights and colourful rugs that make those properties feel five star.

There’s certainly plenty of inspiration if you like the style of our accommodation near Barnard Castle!

Photo from @nichemyhome, Instagram

Dining

When it comes to restaurants in Barnard Castle, the brunch and lunch options are wide ranging.

Moments Café, a dog friendly cafe, opened last year and serves a wide range from scones with cream and jam to their vegan menu. Near the Buttermarket is No.15 Coffee House and Deli, also dog friendly, where you could while away an hour over a cappuccino or full English breakfast. There is also The Artisan Corner where you could chose a delicious cake, Sunday lunch or brunch. There’s also a deli to buy some local produce to take home with you.

In the evening our favourite spot is Babul’s, an Indian restaurant with rave reviews and a small cocktail bar upstairs. Blagraves House,  The Stables, and the Capri all serve a bistro menu in the daytime and evening.

Antiques in Barnard Castle

You may have come across the iconic Mouseman on your travels – the English oak furniture made by Robert Thompson. The small but well stocked showroom at Ignet Antiques showcases his work alongside other leading Yorkshire oak craftsmen.

Next dive into the treasure trove that is Antique Pine. We were drawn in by beautiful leather sideboards, statement lamps that echo designs you will see at Brompton Lakes, and big intricate clocks like on the wall of Penthouse, Darcy Mews. Having antique in the name might out some visitors off, however their range is huge.

One of the busy shops along the main street happens to be the YMCA thrift shop, which was stacked with interesting books, old records, and a wide range of ornaments.

Bowes Museum

Now over 130 years’ old, Bowes Museum is nationally renowned for its art collection. There are works by El Greco, Francisco Goya, and Canaletto, as well as a sizable collection of decorative art, ceramics, textiles, tapestries, clocks and costumes, as well as older items from local history.

In the gardens are a nature trail, and it is very family friendly with a children’s’ play area. There’s a café for when you need a welcome break.

Tickets start at £15 per entrant, or £5 for children.

WHAT’S ON

Egglestone Abbey

In spite of the shops and the culture, Barnard Castle feels like a countryside town; in a few minutes’ drive you’re onto lanes where you are separated from fields by drystone walls – an ancient art in these parts.

Between the town and the A66 is Egglestone Abbey. The charming ruins of the small monastery of Premonstratensian ‘white canons’ is picturesquely set above a bend in the River Tees.

Explore the abbey ruins, take in the views over the Tees Gorge and visit the sensory garden. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic, and a shop is open most of the year selling drinks and snacks. Dogs are welcome on leads.

FIND OUT MORE

The Great Outdoors

Deepdale Nature Reserve: A few minutes walk from Barnard Castle, this is one of Teesdale’s most beautiful woodlands. There is a good network of footpaths with footbridges and stepping stones across the Deepdale Beck and the Ray Gill. Explore.

Egglestone Abbey to Barnard Castle circular: The walk from the abbey to the 12th century Barnard Castle partly follows the river, and takes around 50 minutes each way. Explore.

High Force waterfall: Surrounded by stunning Upper Teesdale and in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this where the River Tees spectacularly drops 21 metres into the plunge pool below. Gentle woodland walks run around the falls. Explore.

So many spots in the area will accept your four legged friend, so there is plenty of choice for what to do on a dog friendly holiday in accommodation near Barnard Castle…

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