barnard castle

In and Around Barnard Castle

More than just a ruined medieval castle…

Nestled in County Durham, Barnard Castle is also a full-blown market town with plenty to discover. Family days out offer lovely views of River Tees, historical relics, and exciting kid-friendly activities among nature. Here are some of the best things to get up to whilst in Barnard Castle.

Discover North Yorkshire with a day out at Barnard Castle

Explore 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.

Bowes Museum barnard castle

Bowes Museum

Built-in the style of a French Chateau, the 19th-century Bowes Museum is one of the best places to visit in England. It is considered to be one of the most significant museums in the country, spouting lush formal gardens and surrounding woodlands.

Inside the museum, visitors can enjoy even more of its romantic history with impeccable art galleries, historic fashion displays, statues and more. Plus, the Bowes Museum is also wonderful for children with interactive activities and workshops. Explore this fascinating museum, and you’ll quickly see why it’s such a significant part of English heritage.

Walking in Barnard Castle

Get Walking

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.

Visit an Alpaca Farm

Family days out in Barnard Castle can always provide something unique, like at Teesdale Alpacas. Located in a beautifully scenic area, this farm is full of fluffy alpacas of all ages. Visit the farm itself or book an hour-and-a-half-long alpaca walk and trek around with the animals.

seen through glass

Road Trip

This may be one for the boys…

We’ve had the pleasure of hosting Sam from Seen Through Glass at our luxury holiday homes whilst he was taking a tour of North Yorkshire. He experienced the beauty of Yorkshire from behind the wheel, starting at Stang Forest before heading into the Dales.

A perfect escape, whilst jumping on a plane can come with its challenges. Just see just how amazing our roads truly are for any automotive enthusiast!

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Barnard Castle ruins

Explore Castles

Like a postcard photograph, the ruined Barnard Castle blends in effortlessly with the centre of the town. It has a beautiful position high on a rocky outcrop above the river. The castle is open daily and is even a great place for a family picnic in the centre of town.

Nearby, you’ll also find Bowes Castle, another one of the great things to do with kids. Built along the Roman road that is now A66, this Durham County castle is just a short drive, usually under 10 minutes by car from the town.

Check out the Witham Community Arts Centre

Check out the Witham Community Arts Centre

A local community centre and a perfect spot for family days out, the Witham offers an art gallery, cinema, theatre, and cafe. Drop in for an immersive workshop or see a catchy musical while on your holiday in Barnard Castle. Check out what’s on at the Witham Community Arts Centre to start planning your getaway.

cottage near Barnard Castle

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.

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