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Must-See Places

THE CASTLE It's always worth a  visit to the town's namesake, Barnard Castle itself, built in the 12th Century by Bernard de Balliol. As well as providing a picturesque backdrop to the town, this medieval fortress provides an interesting historical perspective and scenic views over the River Tees and the surrounding countryside.
THE COUNTRYSIDE  The surrounding countryside is perfect for walking, cycling, and exploring. As well as the local countryside of Teesdale, you're within easy access of the nearby Yorkshire Dales or the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are also many picturesque villages in the local area that are worth exploring - we can provide detailed recommendations and ideas for drives and walks, so just ask and we'll be happy to help. 

HIGH FORCE:  Located a 20 minute drive away, High Force is one of England's most impressive waterfalls. Hike along the River Tees to reach the waterfall - beautiful in any weather but incredible after heavy rain!

Eating, Drinking & Shopping

LOCAL PUBS & BARS  Barnard Castle is well served by a plethora of pubs and restaurants. We like The Old Well Inn (great real ale pub with lots of interesting nooks and crannies) while the Three Horseshoes has a great menu (the Sunday lunch comes highly recommended) and a lovely garden in the Summer, while the CroBar is a must-visit for cocktails.


RESTAURANTS & TAKEAWAYS  Recently refurbished Blagraves is a historical gem and makes for a really interesting and picturesque place to eat, while Artisan Corner does fantastic food at very reasonable prices – the staff are always lovely too.


If you like Indian food you’ll be spoilt for choice, as Barney has not just one, but two excellent restaurants in Babuls and the Bengal Merchant.  There are also two very good fish & chip shops (the town is split 50/50 on which one is best!) and - if the weather behaves -  the best place to eat them is on Scar Top next to the Castle, while taking in the view.


CAFÉS It goes without saying that there are some great coffee shops for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea –  Nobia & Sons make the world’s best Scotch eggs, The Stables Market does a great fry up and No.3 does everything!

SHOPPING Barnard Castle is a great place for a mooch, with a multitude of antiques and interiors shops. Niche Interiors and the Bowes Museum gift shop are both well worth a visit for that one-of-a-kind item nobody at home will have. 

Local Attractions

Raby Castle is possible the most picturesque castle in the North. There's a deer park and a frankly amazing woodland adventure play park for children, The Plotter's Forest. And of course, a great tea room! 


Durham (40 mins) is a wonderful historic Cathedral city and well worth a visit, as is Richmond, with its own special castle and a great range of independent shops. If you want to strike further afield, the cool northern vibes of Newcastle are only an hour away.


The Bowes Museum A ten minute walk from Swan Cottage, this beautiful building never fails to make visitors gasp when they first stumble across it.  The Museum was purpose-built as a public art gallery for John Bowes and his wife Joséphine Benoîte Coffin-Chevallier, Countess of Montalbo, who sadly both died before it opened in 1892. In the words of This is Durham: “This family friendly Museum is home to some of the best examples of European fine and decorative arts in the UK with galleries dedicated to paintings, furniture, fashion & textiles, ceramics, silver & metals and more.” It does make a great place to spend an afternoon, with lots of family-friendly activities and cool exhibitions, such as the recent Vivienne Westwood exposé.

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