An Outstanding area of Beauty and History

How about a trip back in history? We are very fortunate here in Darlington to be surrounded by some of the country’s most spectacular Castles.

Barnard Castle (English Heritage)

With fantastic views over the Tees Gorge this fortress sits on the fringe of an attractive working market town.

Barnard Castle was begun soon after 1093 on a dramatic site above the river Tees. The castle was built to control a river crossing between the Bishop of Durham’s territory and the Honour of Richmond.

Much of the present castle was built during the 12th and early 13th centuries by the Balliol family.

From the 14th century onwards, the castle has belonged to the earls of Warwick, the Duke of Gloucester and later Richard III. The castle went into steep decline and was effectively abandoned by the early 17th century. It has remained an imposing ruin ever since.


Visitors with limited mobility may be set down at the gates, there is level access with ramps in places and fairly smooth grass and compacted gravel paths with numerous benches in the gardens.

Braille guides are available and Assistance Dogs welcome.

Cold drinks, ice-cream and selection of small snacks available from the shop and there is one disabled/unisex toilet.

Phone01833 638212

AddressFlatts Rd, Scar Top, Barnard Castle DL12 8PR

Raby Castle, Staindrop.

Raby is without doubt one of the most impressive intact castles in the North of England. Built in the 14th century by the powerful Neville family, it has a long history. Home to Cecily Neville, mother of two kings of England, it was also the scene of the plotting of the Rising of the North and a Parliamentary stronghold during the Civil War.

The approach to the castle is particularly beautiful as its towers appear and disappear amongst the trees of the surrounding parkland with its ornamental lakes and herds of deer. The exterior with medieval towers, terrace and embattled walls dates back to the 11th Century.

An Entrance Hall constructed as a carriageway, Gothic decorated Chapel and spectacular Barons’ Hall have fascinating heritage and dramatic interiors and the handsome Victorian Dining Room, created by William Burn is also a picture gallery containing many important artworks, you will feast your eyes whichever way you look!

Parts of the castle ground floor are wheelchair accessible and there is a level access DVD presentation viewing area.

The designated parking area for Blue Badge holders is outside the Yurt Café. If you require disabled access to the Castle, please speak to the admissions team who will direct you to the disabled parking area and will arrange access into the Castle. The main toilets and accessible toilets are near the Yurt Café.

If you require any further information, please contact the Administration Office on 01833 660202.833

Address:  Raby Castle, Staindrop, County Durham, DL2 3AH.833

Richmond Castle (English Heritage)

With its breath-taking views of the Yorkshire Dales, Richmond Castle fully deserves its place as one of the finest Castles in North Yorkshire.

The Castle was built by Alan (the Red) Rufus after the Norman Conquest in the late 11th century to subdue the unruly North of England and is one of the best-preserved examples of a Norman fortresses in England.

Richmond Castle is also one of the places associated with King Arthur and his knights. According to legend, the castle is built over a cave where King Arthur and his knights are sleeping in their tombs, waiting to rise from their slumber to defend England in her hour of need!

There are only two other stone built castles in England that are as old as Richmond, those at Colchester and Durham.

Accessible unisex toilets are available in the visitor’s centre in the castle grounds. Stair lift to first floor visitor centre and exhibition with seating.

Braille guides are available and Assistance Dogs welcome. There are benches around site perimeter and in garden to have a rest and take in the views.

Limited amount of parking for disabled visitors with Blue Badge permits is available on site. Please call and book in advance so that the gates can be opened.

Phone: 01748 822493

AddressTower St., Richmond DL10 4QW

The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond

A trip to Richmond would not be complete without visiting The Georgian Theatre Royal, a stunning theatre and historic Georgian playhouse in the market town.

The building is Grade I listed and possesses the oldest known set of theatrical scenery in existence known as ‘The Woodland Scene’, it was painted in a workshop in Royston, Hertfordshire and dates back to around 1820.

The Georgian Theatre Royal, Britain’s oldest working theatre in its original form, is both a thriving community playhouse and a living theatre museum and can boast having Dame Judi Dench as its president.

The Theatre is a typical eighteenth-century country playhouse, and keeps alive an important period of English theatre architecture. No other playhouse can offer such authenticity, and few other theatres can offer such an intimacy. A capacity today of 154 seats is arranged in rectangular form: sunken pit, boxes on three sides and a small gallery above.

Phone:01748 825252

Address: Victoria Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4DW.