Much of Teesdale is in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and you won't be short of things to see and do whilst you are here! To help you plan your trip, we've put together a list of ideas for days out, whatever the weather.
You're spoilt for choice for walking routes, but here are a few of our favourites:
High Cup Nick. If you like a spectacular and challenging walk, High Cup Nick can't be beaten.
High Force Waterfall. High Force is the biggest single drop waterfall in England, and if you're in the area you really shouldn't miss it. You can start off at The Bowless Visitor Centre or The High Force Hotel.
Hamsterley Forest. With walking, cycling and horse-riding trails, as well as a cafe, Co Durham's largest forest is a great place to escape from it all.
Cauldron Snout. The walk from Cow Green Reservoir to Cauldron Snout takes in some fantastic scenery, including Falcon Clints - where you will almost certainly see the falcons it is named after, but probably few other humans.
The Teesdale Way. We are just up the road from the River Tees and the Teesdale Way. You can walk the whole lot, or just have an amble through Gainford Great Wood. Either walk to Winston Bridge from here, or park up in the layby (its a one minute drive away). See the photo gallery for other local walks marked up on an OS map.
It doesn't fit neatly into any category, but if you are going to walk along the Teesdale Way you really should take 5 minutes to watch this fascinating video of how Ray Hanna (the famous Red Arrows pilot) once flew his Spitfire under Winston Bridge for the film 'A Piece of Cake'. Narrated by Ray's daughter, this video gives an extraordinary slice of local history: The Winston Bridge Spitfire Story
Aysgarth Falls have been a tourist attraction for 200 years: Wordsworth visited them and Turner sketched them. There is also now a Visitors Centre and a cafe, and just a 45min drive away through the glorious Yorkshire Dales.
Eggleston Hall Gardens. If you like being outside, but are not quite so energetic, why not take a wander around the horticultural delights at Eggleston Hall Gardens
We know the weather isn't always kind, so there are plenty of indoor options too:
Killhope Lead Mining Museum. Killhope is a multi-award winning museum where you can experience the life and work of the leadminers of the area, and pop into the gift shop and cafe afterwards.
The Bowes Museum. The Bowes is an iconic French chateau in Barnard Castle, renowned for its mechanical silver swan. Another one for the 'must-do' list.
Valhalla Axe-Throwing and Archery. If you fancy something a bit riskier, why not try your hand at axe-throwing or archery? I mean, why not? Just down the road in Newton Aycliffe.
Durham Cathedral Museum. Durham City is only a 40min drive away, and the Cathedral is well worth a visit whilst you are there.
The Wensleydale Creamery. Walk through the historical cheesemaking exibits, see how they make the cheese now, and then taste it all in the cafe.
The Locomotion Museum is a short drive away in Shildon, the sleepy town which was the birthplace of the world's first steam-powered public railway. The North East is, of course, the home of railways and you can find out all about it's part in railway history at this wonderful museum.
Kiplin Hall and Gardens near Scorton, less than 30mins drive away. An oasis of calm and tranquillity in the heart of North Yorkshire, Kiplin Hall was built from 1619 for George Calvert founder of Maryland, USA. With an intimately presented hall, award winning tearoom and scenic walks around the lake, through the woodland and parkland, and in the walled and formal gardens, and activities for all ages, Kiplin is an ideal place to experience North Yorkshire country living at its finest.
The Green Howards Museum. If you are interested in military history, this museum houses thousands of objects from uniforms and weaponry to fine art.
Teesdale Leisure Centre in Barnard Castle has a swimming pool, gym, classes and activities.
Richmond Golf Club is open all year round to visitors and members alike and was voted in the top 50 best value for money golf clubs in the UK. It now also houses The Golf Studio, a state of the art facility which is available for tuition from the pro to play on courses from around the world, from Augusta to Royal Birkdale.
Brookleigh Riding Centre at Aldborough St John offers horse-riding lessons for all abilities and supervised hacking around beautiful North Yorkshire. @brookleighridingcentre 01325 710247
Headlam Hall Golf Course is a delightful, yet challenging (I'm told...) 9 hole golf course in the grounds of Headlam Hall Hotel.
We really aren't that far from the beautiful North East Coastline, from 45mins drive away, and here are a few of our recommendations:
Saltburn by Sea. Famous for its water-powered funicular railway, this charming Victorian seaside town has much to offer.
Whitby. Everyone knows Whitby, and its famous fish and chips, but did you realise its less than an hour and a half away from here?
If historic castles are your thing, this is the right place for you! The whole area is dotted with them, but here is a shortlist:
Raby Castle. You can actually see Raby Castle from here, so it's nice and handy. Explore the Deer Park, Coach House, Gardens and Castle and treat yourself to a coffee in the Stables Coffee Shop (dog friendly).
Bolton Castle. In nearby Wensleydale, Bolton Castle offers falconry exhibitions as well as tours of the Castle itself.
Barnard Castle. The now famous town of Barnard Castle is more than just a castle, but its worth visiting this English Heritage site whilst you're in the town.
Auckland Castle at Bishop Auckland was home to the Prince Bishops. It is one of the best preserved Bishops' palaces in Europe and is at the heart of Auckland Project. Take a tour of the Castle, walk the Deer Park or find out more about the archeological digs. Oh, and the project is also working to preserve the Weardale Railway, part of the famous Stockton to Darlington line.
Kynren returns in 2022! This Epic Tale of England returns to its spectacular Bishop Auckland stage this summer, with six performances on Saturdays from 6th August to 10th September. To mark the momentous Queen’s Platinum Jubilee there will be an additional performance taking place on Friday, 3rd June. Be transported back in time as 2000 years of history are brought to life with the award-winning blockbuster open-air performance. From Boudicca’s battles with the Romans to two world wars, via Vikings, Tudors, Stuarts, Queen Victoria and the Industrial Revolution, Kynren is a spellbinding experience. Audiences watch from the 8,000-seater tribune which provides panoramic views across the giant outdoor stage.
Staycation Express. Now here's a treat! Let the train take the strain and take this specially chartered service on one of the most scenic railways in the country. Running from Appleby (just 40mins away) over the Ribblehead Viaduct to Skipton and back, this train has been refurbished and offers 'in-seat' catering, so you can travel in luxury.
Beamish Museum. What can we say about Beamish which hasn't already been said? This fantastic outdoors museum is a great experience. The only problem is that you can't do it all in one day, but your ticket lasts for a year - another good reason to visit the area again.
The Forbidden Corner at Leyburn is billed as 'The Strangest Place in the World'. Originally built as a private folly but opened to the public in 1994, the labyrinth, follies, chambers and four acres of gardens are for children of all ages to enjoy.
If you fancy pampering yourself, don't worry, we have two fabulous spas within 10mins drive of here:
The Garage at the Morritt Arms. Located in the picturesque hamlet of Greta Bridge, the Garage offers an irresistable range of luxury treatments.
Headlam Hall. The spa at Headlam Hall hotel is a great place to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of water and authentic spa therapy. A lovely way for you to relax whilst your other half is relaxing on the golf course....
We are spoilt for choice around here. From Michelin starred restaurants to unassuming country pubs, we've got it all. Just take your pick:
The Brownlow Arms is our 'local', just up the road in Caldwell (1.5m away) and can't be beaten for a warm welcome (for you and your furry friends) and hearty food.
The Bridgewater Arms. We are delighted that as of 22 September 2021, this lovely place has once again opened its doors. It is about a mile away in the village of Winston, and has a public bar as well as great restaurant.
The Fox Hole Inn is set in the Roman Village of Piercebridge, just a short drive away, and the decor is a fun mix of traditional and contemporary. The bar offers a selection of locally brewed beers and organic wine and the kitchen serves food inspired by locally sourced ingredients. Dogs welcome in the Welly Bar and Garden.
The Bridge Inn at Whorlton reopened in December 2021, which was great news. Set in a picturesque village, less than a 10min drive away, serving locally brewed ale as well as food. If you are feeling energetic, you can walk there along the Teesdale Way. It's about an hour or so each way so a great midway stop off point. Whilst in the village, you can also wander down to see the Whorlton bridge over the River Tees. Formally opened in 1831, it is reported to be the oldest road suspension bridge in the UK (though currently closed to all traffic). Tel: 01833 316024
Piercebridge Organics If you are in Piercebridge, don't miss this delightful farm shop and cafe. A family farm since 1964, and now wholly organic, they sell their own wares - including Harry's eggs - as well as other local produce. As it says on the website: Food Miles - Zero!
The Four Alls is a traditional country pub located in the neighouring village of Ovington. It has a peaceful garden and a menu of home-cooked fare.
Debbie and Rachel's Plaice is our local takaway fish and chip shop, a 7 minute drive away in Gainford. Great fish and chips and the hub of the village on a Friday night! Always best to order in advance over the phone.
Gainford Pizza Delivery Yes, we can get food delivered here! Freshly baked stonebaked pizzas, and even gluten free options.
The Fox Hall Inn is on the A66, near East Layton, and offers a delicious menu and even has a dog friendly bar area.
Cafe Cheesedale. If you love cheese, you'll love Cafe Cheesedale. Just up the road at Butterknowle, Allison and Jonathan make their own cheese on their smallholding and serve it in their onsite cafe.
Coglans offers a full range of dining experiences, including an artisanal bakery, tea room, restaurant, deli and an a la carte dine at home menu. All set in the pretty village of Barningham.
The Rose and Crown at Romaldkirk is another great eatery, with the emphasis on local produce. Also a great place to stop for a cup of tea and piece of cake on your way back from High Force.
Middleton Lodge provides estate-to-plate seasonal meals in stunning surroundings at Middleton Tyas.
The Raby Hunt Restaurant. In another league altogether, this 2 Michelin Starred restaurant in Summerhouse is one of only 17 2* Michelin rated restaurants in the country.
The Stanwick Arms at Aldbrough St John has also recently reopened (Aug 2021). This friendly local pub overlooks the village green, and has regular visits from the The Crown Outdoors - a mobile, high-end food van run by the talented folk from the Crown at Mickelton. Delicious!
The nearest and easiest shopping is to be found in Barnard Castle (known locally as 'Barney'):
- Newly opened in April 2022, there is a really good sized Lidl on the Staindrop Road, and a Home Bargains next door. DL12 8TD
- Medium sized Morrisons in the centre of town, next to the main car park. DL12 8EG
- Small Coop on the Horsemarket in town (open til 10pm). DL12 8LY
Parking is free at Lidl, free in the main Morrison's car park after 2pm, and free on the cobble stones in town (but not available on market days: Wednesdays and the first Saturday in the month).
There is also a petrol station and small Coop on the mini roundabout as you go in to Barney on the A67.
Slightly further afield is St Helen Auckland, about a 20min drive away (DL14 9AE), where there are lots of big shops including:
- Sainsbury's (plus fuel)
- Tesco's (plus fuel)
- M&S food
- Home Bargains
The nearest taxi companies are in Barney. They all know us, so if you order one just tell them you are at Hillcrest Park near Winston.
Alan's Taxis, Barnard Castle: 01833 695860
Ace Taxis Barnard Castle: 07760 490700
Hodgson's Taxis, Barnard Castle: 01833 630730
If you are going to Richmond (which is a bit further away) try:
Amalgamated Taxis, Richmond: 01748 825112