Raby Castle

Martha Martins
Oct 20, 2021 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
A view of one of the ornamental lakes at Raby Castle gardens.

  • Take a glimpse into how people lived over 500 years ago, at this intact Medieval castle.
  • Explore the Raby Castle gardens and 200 acres of Deer Park, and see if you can spot any furry friends!
  • Head over to the play area for kids to run, play and climb to their heart's content.
  • Pop into the Stables Café for a delicious afternoon tea.

For those who like a taste of grandeur on their family days out, look no further than the fantastic Raby Castle, located near the town of Staindrop in County Durham.

Dating back to medieval times, Raby Castle was build in the late 14th century by John Neville, also known as the 3rd Baron Neville de Raby, and was passed down through the generations for hundreds of years.

You can even spot the castle in a J.M.W Turner painting of this stunning natural landscape, with the sun glinting off the green surrounding parkland.

Now, Raby Castle is a popular location for visitors to learn all about the history of the area and is still owned by the family of Lord Barnard.

It's easy to see why Raby Castle has lasted so many centuries.

Originally built as a palace and fortress, the towers and remnants of the moat that used to surround the residence take you back to the glory days of Raby.

In addition to the castle, there is also 200 acres of parkland surrounding the residence, known as the Deer Park due to the presence of Red and Fallow deer on the grounds.

There are also beautiful 18th century ornamental gardens for you to wander through, known at Raby Castle as the Walled Gardens.

Complete with fruit trees, rose gardens, and manicured lawns, this is the perfect spot to relax.

As far as medieval castles in County Durham go, Raby is certainly the top choice.

Covering over five acres and included in the price of the Deer Park and Walled Gardens ticket, this is a great spot to spend an afternoon. The huge expanse of space and places to explore, including the nearby High Force Waterfall, makes Raby the ideal family day out destination.

Also located on the Raby Estate a little further afield in Forest-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle, High Force Waterfall is certainly not to be missed, and for a small admission fee, you can view the beauty of this high and powerful phenomenon.

Like many venues and museums in the County Durham area, Raby Castle history is also strongly linked to transport. Head to the Coach house to see some of the beautiful horse-led carriages that date back to the 19th century.

Once you've had a look around the castle itself and its stunning interiors, there are many family-friendly things to do and see.

On entry at the Portcullis gate, you can collect a free children's activity sheet that contains questions and answers about many different areas of the castle as you explore. And, of course, any day out with the kids isn't complete without a visit to the nearest playground.

Luckily, Raby Castle has that sorted, with the Woodland Adventure Playground, a sheltered play area under the leafy canopy of the woods.

Kids can run, climb and play on the climbing frames, zip wire and much more. The takeaway kiosk, located near the Stables Café, is also a great spot to stop and enjoy an ice cream.

If you're starting to feel peckish, why not treat yourself to a Raby Castle afternoon tea at the Stables Café? Complete with scones, finger sandwiches and cake, this is the perfect way to experience a truly English tea.

Alternatively, there's a great lunch menu, with options for coffee and snacks too. You are also welcome to bring a picnic along, which can be enjoyed anywhere in the Deer Park as you take in the marvellous views.

In terms of special events you can enjoy at the castle, Raby Castle Christmas is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year. Kids can meet Father Christmas and explore the Enchanted Festive Forest, and parents can do some Christmas shopping at the Christmas Market, where there are countless crafts, drinks and food options available.

Plus, from Saturday 28th November you can head along to collect your own Christmas tree!

If Raby Castle gets good reviews from the family and you're looking for more great child-friendly days out in the North East, why not take a trip to the fantastic Locomotion museum in Shildon? Or, to truly immerse yourself in local history, head to Beamish, the 'living museum of the North', near Stanley.

Here, you can walk around a turn of the century town, with functioning shops, a coal mine and farm!

What to know before you go

  • Raby Castle opening times are from 11am - 4pm from Wednesday-Sunday, but you can visit the park, walled garden, play area and refreshment kiosk daily from 10am - 4pm. Tickets for High Force Waterfall need to be bought separately.
  • There are lots of different ticket options, starting at £3 for children visiting the Deer Park and Walled Gardens.
  • In terms of accessibility, the Garden and Deer Park are accessible; however, the Garden is on a slope so wheelchair users might need assistance. Since the Castle itself is a historical building, there are uneven areas and steps which mean it may not be accessible for wheelchair users or buggies. As a result, visitors with disabilities are offered a concessionary ticket.
  • Mobile phones are not allowed within the Castle.
  • Picnics can be enjoyed in the Deer Park, but not in the Walled Garden area.
  • There are baby-changing facilities and accessible toilets available on site, at the Coach Yard.
  • Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead at all times.

Getting there

  • Raby Castle is located a mile north of Staindrop, near Darlington in County Durham. It is easy to reach by car via the A688.
  • Several bus services pass the castle, at the Raby Castle, North Lodge stop. These include the Scarlet Band Route 84, Arriva 6 service from Durham, and the Arriva 75 between Barnard Castle and Darlington.
  • The nearest Train Station to Raby Castle is Darlington, 15 miles away. Here there are connections to the rest of England via the East Coast Main line.
  • There is lots of parking available at Raby Castle, with signs indicating where to go on arrival. Parking at High Force Waterfall has a small charge.

England United Kingdom North East England County Durham

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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