Durham City of course; consider driving via Spennymoor (A167, turn right onto A177) and using Howlands Park and Ride DH1 3TQ buses every 10 minutes till 7pm, and only £2 per person, Durham City isn’t really for cars !
Musts are the Cathedral & Castle on Palace Green, UNESCO World Heritage Site ;Oriental Museum; walk by the river or take a boat, good shopping and interesting indoor market, lots of cafes, Gala Theatre and Cinema, Botanical Gardens and Crook Hall.
Main East Coast rail line – Newcastle only 10 minutes, rather than driving & parking in the city.
York 45 minutes, Edinburgh 2 hours, fabulous Northumberland coastal scenery on the way, and London less than 3 hours. Make sure you book ahead for the longer journeys to get a good price. www.eastcoast.co.uk and www.thetrainline.com
Within walking distance of Byers Green along the Auckland Way Railway Path, Bishop Auckland is the home of Auckland Castle and Deer Park and the centre of an exciting local regeneration project, Eleven Arches.
Kynren, an epic tale of England – this spectacular open air live show is booking now for 2017 shows July to September Don’t miss it this year – you WILL be amazed – we were, and we can’t wait to repeat the experience this year! Kynren.co.uk
Auckland Castle is one of the UK’s most important historical buildings. Since the days of the Norman Conquest in the 11th Century, Auckland Castle has been a seat of power. For almost 900 years, it has been the palace of the Prince Bishops of Durham. Thomas Wright designed the Deer Park for Bishop Trevor in 1757.
The tourist information center is housed in the impressive Flemish style Town Hall in Market Place with library, art gallery, events & shows, popular cafe with excellent cheese scones!
Also within the immediate area are:
Escomb Church and Binchester Roman Fort, with an exceptional Bath House was first’dug in the 1870’s under the auspices of Rev Hooppell of Byers Green. Archeological digs that many locals are involved in as volunteers take place every summer – there is much more to discover at this extensive site.
Somewhere for a good choice of supermarket food shopping.
One of England’s finest medieval castles, home of Lord Barnard; just outside Staindrop on the way to Barnard Castle.
Well worth a visit for all the family with architecture and rich interiors spanning the ages set in acres of Deer Park- with deer- and walled gardens with links to Thomas Wright of Byers Green.
Find out more about Raby Castle here
A small old fashioned market town on the River Tees with the original castle remains an English Heritage site. Here you will find interesting independent shops, and many antique shops including one owned by David Harper of TV fame.
Market on the cobbled main street every Wednesday.
Farmers Market 1st Saturday of the month
Charles Dickens stayed here in 1838 . He is said to have based characters in Nicholas Nickelbey on people he met with William Shaw, who ran one of the notoriously harsh ‘Yorkshire schools’ in the town being the inspiration for Wackford Squeers.
Find out more about Barnard Castle here.
BOWES MUSEUM a short walk on the edge of Barnard Castle
A French chateau, created in the late 19thC , housing the exquisite treasures of John and Josephine Bowes and added to over the centuries. Internationally renowned permanent collections of paintings and ceramics, with important visiting exhibitions
Known as the’ cradle of the railways’ the first passenger train ran from here on September 29 1825. Explore this history at The National Railway Museum site where the first workshops of the Stockton and Darlington Railway were opened, and expert restoration of rolling stock still continues today- Churchill’s funeral train, being the most recent. There is an impressive static collection, and ‘visiting’ engines and stock throughout the year. Explore the history of George Stephenson, Timothy Hackworth, including his house, and Daniel Adamson on this large site by eco-bus.
Free entry, open all year reduced hours 10am – 4pm in winter.
Children love it! Extensive train related shop, and good cafe.
On the edge of Weardale 2,000 hectares of working forest – forestry.gov.uk
Walking trails for all abilities; 32 miles of waymarked cycle tracks Blue, Red and Black with cycle hire on site from Easter; adventure play; cafe and information centre. A great day out for £3 per car.
An Hours Drive
WEARDALE – follow the River Wear going West towards wild open moorland country, once the home of leadminers and quarryworkers ;still the home of hill sheep farmers .You will pass through the villages of Wolsingham – traditional 2 day Agricultural Show the first weekend in September. Frosterley where black limestone was dug for 700years from Rogerley Quarry, the Frosterley Marble of Durham cathedral. Stanhope with it’s fossil tree in the market place, and Open Air swimming pool (summer only & heated!) St John’s Chapel call into The Chatterbox Cafe, and Weardale Museum (limited opening, check website)
From here you can ‘go over the tops’ for spectacular scenery on your way to Teesdale (return to Byers Green via Barnard Castle) or continue on ‘up the Dale’, just as scenic, past Wearhead to Killhope Lead Mining Museum and on across the moors to Alston in Cumbria.
BEAMISH The Living Museum of the North
Travel by tram through this vast open air museum that tells the story of North East people in Georgian,Victorian and Edwardian times. Most of the houses, shops and buildings you visit have been dismantled and rebuilt as they originally were from across the region. Special events throughout the year Great North Steam Fair April 9 -12
SALTBURN – the seaside ! The world’s oldest water balanced cliff tramway to take you to the wide sands, often surfing, a long pier and tales of smugglers, this was a favoured Victorian resort. Don’t miss the second hand bookshop at the top of Amber Street. You can take the train from Bishop Auckland, but that’s more than an hour and not very scenic.
NEWCASTLE – the city ! (only 10 minutes by train from Durham) Super shopping and nightlife, theatres, cinemas & concert venues, museums and art galleries. A compact city, easy to walk around.
A Longer Day Out
…but only a couple of hours scenic drive away at most. Why not do some planning and coming home by a different route to make the most of your day out.
A drive north along the A68 will soon bring you to the middle section of Hadrian’s Wall Country at Corbridge . Built in AD122 the wall stretched 80 miles straddling the country from the west coast to the east coast, and marked the northern most limits of the province of Brittania.
Many stretches of the wall remain, with excavated fortresses like Chesters, Housteads and Birdoswald to be explored.
Further north on the A68 is Keilder Water,the largest manmade lake in Northern Europe surrounded by 250 sq miles of working forest, one of the worlds darkest places and famous now for star-gazing.
Three attractive Visitors Centres provide ideas for walking and activities to fill your day, with The Bird of Prey Centre a must.
Go to Northumberland for magnificent Alnwick Castle in the Percy family for 700years, and home to The Duke of Northumberland. Alnwick Gardens with the Grand Water Cascade as its centrepiece is stunning.
Venture on a few miles to the wide beaches of Alnmouth, Embleton and Bamburgh, and maybe return over the wild moorlands, different in character to the Durham dales, to join the A68 not far north of Corbridge.
Beyond Barnard Castle on the A66 over Bowes Moor you can reach Keswick, on Derwentwater in less than 2 hours.
If you like playing golf the nearest course is at Brancepeth , about 10 minutes drive away,it was designed by Harry Croft in 1924 and laid out on what was Brancepeth Castle Deer Park.
There are other courses at Crook and Bishop Auckland
Quality Fishing is on your doorstep, only a short stroll down to the River Wear, and courtesy of Bishop Auckland Angling Club, we have Old Hall Cottages fishing permits available at a special day rate.
The seasons are:
- Salmon Feb 1 to Oct.31
- Sea Trout April 3 to Oct 31
- Brown Trout March 22 to Sept 30
- Grayling June 16 to March 15 the following year
Lots of opportunities for Cycling and local cycle hire, as well as Walking.
You will find more information about all these activities in your Cottage Information Pack
For a more complete list of events and places to visit, browse This Is Durham