(PLEASE NOTE: We're currently still working on the content of this page - we want to add images and links, etc, and we've started work on that, but for now here's the meat of it...)
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 this list of ideas for days out - whatever the weather - plus information on shopping/eating/taxis.
You're spoilt for choice for walking routes, and click here to access a great website for walks in Teesdale Walks
Here are a few of our favourites:
Cockfield Fell is a great place to walk and explore. (England’s largest scheduled ancient monument at 865 acres). You’ll be able to see the tall lead smelting chimney from your veranda. There’s a small car parking place so you can visit the chimney. You can walk from here. It would take about 30 minutes or you can get to it from Cockfield Fell.
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.
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.
If horticulture is your thing, try a visit to Durham University's Botanic Garden. The 10 hectare Botanic Garden is set amongst beautiful mature woodlands on the southern outskirts of Durham city. Wander through the alpine garden, winter garden, bamboo grove, glasshouses and the woodland garden and wild flower meadow. There's also a visitor centre with cafe and gift shop. (Not dog friendly, unfortunately.)
Teesdale Leisure Centre in Barnard Castle has a swimming pool, gym, classes and activities.
Barnard Castle Golf Club is situated on the outskirts of Barnard Castle is open all year round to visitors and members alike and offers a club house and buggy and trolly hire.
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. Lorna’s Café ‘Real Meals Deli & Café’ is a favourite of ours. We love walking out to the pier and looking back at the land. It’s amazing to think the pier was four times longer than it is now.
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? Try Trenchers for an alternative to the famous Magpie.
Tynemouth. A picturesque seaside village with plenty to do, and a wealth of delicious eateries. We don't want to give away any secrets but try Riley's Fish Shack.
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. At 5 miles by road it's nice and handy. The offer is currently expanding with various activities and tours and cafe (dog friendly).
Barnard Castle. The now famous town of Barnard Castle is more than just a castle, but it’s worth visiting this English Heritage site whilst you're in the town. It’s hidden behind the church near the post office.
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 archaeological digs. Oh, and the project is also working to preserve the Weardale Railway, part of the famous Stockton to Darlington line. The gardens could be pen now and there’s the Spanish Gallery which is worth a visit while you’re there.
Egglestone Abbey - Mystical and charming ruins of a small monastery of Premonstratensian 'white canons', built between 1195 and 1198 and picturesquely set above a bend in the River Tees near Barnard Castle. Also a very pleasant spot for a picnic.
We know the weather isn't always kind, so there are plenty of indoor options too:
Dalton Park. The outlet shopping destination in County Durham. It's the biggest outlet shopping centre in the North East, with over 65 stores selling over 200 different brands and designer labels. They've also got plenty of cosy cafés dotted through the mall and over 55 acres of landscaped parkland, so you can really make a day of it and enjoy a relaxing break as part of your shopping experience.
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.
Killhope Lead Mining Museum. Killhope is a multi-award-winning museum where you can experience the life and work of the lead miners of the area, and pop into the gift shop and cafe afterwards.
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. There’s also Durham Library and Castle next door. A full day out!
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.
Ushaw Historic House & Gardens. A former Catholic seminary with a long association with the Pugin family, the stunning house and chapel are tucked away in beautiful open countryside near Durham City. Lose yourself in the grounds, be amazed by beautiful buildings and marvel at centuries of art, history and heritage. Explore woodland trails and rolling fields, where you’ll discover eclectic artworks, majestic carved creatures and pockets of quiet contemplation. Then treat yourself to tea and cake in the stunning Refectory Cafe.
Weardale Railway. We rode in a train built in 1958 which was just lovely. We drove to Stanhope and parked free at the station and caught it from there. The station has a quaint coffee shop so you can while away a rainy day while you wait. The coffee is good too. The train runs from Stanhope to Wolsingham and takes about 15 minutes each way. A lovely way to pass the time. It also runs services to Bishop Auckland too. Check out the website for more information, prices and timetables.
Kynren is back! This Epic Tale of England returns. 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.
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.
Durham Distillery offers tours and experiences if you like a tipple. Cocktail classes, gin making experiences and distillery tours.
Cheesedale – you can book a tour, a tasting and even have a full day cheesemaking with Allison in the dairy. The cheese making requires booking ahead but if you fancy the tour or tasting and you haven’t booked in advance we’ll try to accommodate you last minute if we can.
If you fancy pampering yourself, don't worry, we have two fabulous spas within 30mins 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....
EATING AND DRINKING
We are spoilt for choice around here. From Michelin starred restaurants to unassuming country pubs, we've got it all. Just take your pick:
Cafe Cheesedale. If you love cheese, we think you'll love our little Cafe Cheesedale. Just across the field, Allison and Jonathan (that’s us!) make our own cheese and raise rare breed pigs who eat the whey (a by-product of the cheese) on our smallholding. Both cheese and pork (in the shape of sausages, bacon, burgers, ham and sometimes pork pies) are served in our onsite cafe. Opening hours are limited so if we're closed during your stay you can pre-book a cheese and meat platters, or a breakfast or BBQ pack so you don't miss out!
Cross Keys, Hamsterley (4m away). Traditional English public house with a pub grub menu and homely feel.
McColls Tap Room, (5miles) Open Fri and Sat every other week. Check out Danny’s wide range of craft beers, something in there for most tastes. Care point some of the tipples have an astronomic ABV % . You can also buy some from our shop. And in case that isn't enough you can even book a tour and sample a tipple or two.
Three Horse Shoes, Barnard Castle (7m) is one of a number of traditional pubs in this famous market town. Good quality, well prices and a relaxed environment.
Black Horse, Ingleton, (8m) is a lovely traditional village pub with an Italian menu twist. Very warm and friendly.
The Brownlow Arms, Caldwell (12m away) and can't be beaten for a warm welcome (for you and your furry friends) and hearty food. Open on a Monday!
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.
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!
Barnard Castle Fishery is our local takeaway fish and chip shop, only a 10 minute drive away in Barney. Great fish and chips! Always best to order in advance over the phone. 01833 638282
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. Think Penrith tea rooms of Withnail and I.
The Rose and Crown at Romaldkirk is another great eatery, with the emphasis on local produce. They take our cheese. Also a great place to stop for a cup of tea and piece of cake on your way back from High Force.
Teesdale Hotel. A champion of local ingredients (they take our cheese). A range of local beers. Good food. Great atmosphere. Check out the recycled gymnasium floor!
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. Jonathan, coming from a farming background, needed bread. Allison allegedly eats like a sparrow (cheek!) so it was perfect for her.
The nearest and easiest shopping is to be found is in Cockfield at the Co-op for essential, a wider choice can 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 till 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 into Barney on the A67.
St Helen Auckland, about a 10min drive away (DL14 9AE), where there are lots of big shops including:
- Sainsbury's + petrol station
- Tesco's + petrol station
- M&S food
- Home Bargains
The nearest taxi companies are in Barney. If you order one just tell them you are at Teesdale Cheesemakers near Copley.
Alan's Taxis, Barnard Castle: 01833 695860 (our first choice)
Ace Taxis Barnard Castle: 07760 490700
Hodgson's Taxis, Barnard Castle: 01833 630730