On your doorstep

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. Go to East Coast / Trainline for more information.

Within walking distance of Byers Green along the Auckland Way Railway Path, Bishop Auckland is the home of Auckland Castle historic seat of the Prince Bishops and Deer Park. The town is undergoing a long term transformation thanks to The Auckland Project with changes centred around Auckland Castle and the Market Place. Call into No.42 Market Place where an exhibition explains what is planned, and visit The Mining Art Gallery opened October 2017 an impressive start to local regeneration.

The tourist information center is housed in the impressive Flemish style Town Hall in Market Place with library, art gallery, events & shows. Also within the immediate area are:

Escomb Saxon Church and Binchester Roman Fort, with an exceptional Bath House (seasonal opening times).

Morrisons and Asda on edge of town, follow A688 towards Barnard Castle for ‘out of town’ shopping eg Sainsburys, Tesco, M&S Food, Next ,TKMAX and fast food.

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.

Just a short walk on the edge of Barnard Castle, this French chateau created in the late 19th Century , 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.

Find out more about The Bowes Museum here.

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.

An Hours Drive

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 700 years 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’, which is just as scenic, past Wearhead to Killhope Lead Mining Museum and on across the moors to Alston in Cumbria.

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. They hold special events throughout the year including Great North Steam Fair April 9 -12.
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.
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

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 Vindolanda 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 700 years, 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.

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 – 1st Feb to 31st Oct
  • Sea Trout – 3rd Apr to 31st Oct
  • Brown Trout – 22nd Mar to 30th Sep
  • Grayling – 16th Jun to 15th Mar

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

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.