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Raby Castle Park & Gardens

Front entrance to Raby Castle at Raby Castle Park

Photo taken by Aiden Dawson

A vast bit of open-spaced land for families to come and visit and enjoy. The park along with the castle offers beautiful scenery all year round, plenty of walks, plenty to see and plenty to do.

From the 14th century castle that was home to Cecily Nevill, to the dense woodlands of the Plotters’ Forest complete with an awesome playground knitted within the hundred-year-old trees. There is something for everyone, ranging from young  toddlers to older grandparents.

The park is situated just a 10-minute drive from Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle and is literally just a 5 minute walk from the small village of Staindrop. The venue covers a lot of land space and features a good variety of things to do with both options of being indoors and outdoors. Great for kids, great for dogs and great for everyone.

Access to the park is very easy, you just need to purchase a ticket or become a member to gain an annual pass. Find out more here.

Why visit the park?

raby castle

Image by Aiden Dawson

So why should you pay a visit to this park? Because its beautiful, peaceful, and very interesting and there are plenty of things to check out during your visit.

The Castle

The castle is perhaps the main attraction of the site. The great old 14th century building sits in the middle of the land, surrounded by lots of green space and a lake.

You can take a stroll around the exterior and appreciate the old architecture. And you can look out over the embattled walls and enjoy the great view over the lake and looking over the rest of the park on the southside of the castle terrace.

Then you can step inside the castle and be enthralled in centuries-old history. Every room within the castle interior is unique and features some stunning décor and furnishing and every room has plenty of interesting stories to tell.

Caslte room

Taken inside Raby Castle by Aiden Dawson

Looking at pictures doesn’t do it any justice; you must come and stand in the rooms and see it for yourself to properly appreciate the years of preservation.

If you really do want to learn about the fortress’ rich history, the venue offers guided tours of the castle once a day. The tours take up to an hour long. There are also guides stationed throughout the building who are more than happy to talk you through the historical facts of each room.

You can book tickets to visit the castle and deer park by going on their website here. Ticket prices vary depending on the age and number of visitors.

The Walled Gardens

As part of the Rising Project, the Walled Gardens at Raby Castle have recently reopened after having undergone lots of exciting developments. It now comprises of three divided gardens including the East Garden, Formal Garden and West Garden.

A beautiful space for a picnic, a walk or just a sit-down and escape from everyday life. The walled gardens are a spacious area filled with well-looked-after flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees. You can walk around the walled gardens and appreciate the horticulture and even learn about some of the floristry.

raby gardens

Taken at the walled gardens by Aiden Dawson

 

East Garden at Raby Castle Park and Gardens

Amphitheatre taken by Aiden Dawson

The East Garden includes an amphitheatre space all covered in grass for people to sit and chill with a picnic, and there are benches benches dotted around the area. This space in particular, will be used for events including Outdoor Cinemas and concerts. Click here to check out what events are currently coming up.

 

 

 

The Formal Garden at Raby Castle and Park Walled Gardens

Image of water feature in Walled Gardens taken by Aiden Dawson

Other new instalments to the Walled Gardens include the unique mazes and running water feature cutting down the steps in the middle of the central Formal Garden.  And the West Garden entails seasonal vegetable patches, and a greenhouse showcasing hothouse plants.

Vinery Café

Recently, the park had opened their new café which looks over the Walled Gardens. It is built inside a glass house shelter, all well-ventilated so it doesn’t get too hot inside. This was once a greenhouse thriving with grapevines. It is literally to your left as you enter the grounds from the visitor car park.

Vinery Café at Raby Castle Park and Gardens

Image taken by Aiden Dawson

There is plenty of space for people to sit with tables and chairs on both sides as you enter the café. There are tables that can seat up to 6 people, some of the furniture is upholstered with leather, all the chairs are standard height and can easily be moved about. The furniture is all rustic, featuring cast iron legs and oak table surfaces, adding to the rustic vibe of the place.

 

 

 

 

Vinery Cafe High Vinery Gardens and Round House at Raby Castle Park and Gardnes

Image taken of  from Vinery Café by Aiden Dawson

There is also plenty of seating outside, with tables at the front, to the left and right hand side of the building, and a massive oak bench that can seat a large group of up to 15 people. All the tables outside are on a paved terrace which overlooks the High Vinery Garden- an expanse of terraced lawn with winding footpaths- and the newly-built Round House at the bottom just before the entrance to the Walled Gardens. A splendid view for anyone to enjoy with a cuppa and/or a luxury lunch out.

 

 

 

The Vinery Café comprises of the main indoor seating area with two smaller spaces to the left and right hand side of this room. Straight ahead from the entrance, is a separate area where you go to buy/order food and drink. The service counter is very long and stretches across the back of the building, with a till at either end and people can queue either way so it doesn’t get too congested with one big long queue.

Food

There are trays for people to help themselves to, and people can grab a cold sandwich or snack and a cold drink from the fridge counter. Hot food and drinks can then be ordered at the till. The food will then be brought to your table when it’s ready.

People can also help themselves to fresh water for free, there’s a water dispenser and glasses on a bench to the left of the service area. The food served here is all hand-crafted and from locally-sourced produce. Their menu includes cold snacks, hot food, light meals and refreshments.

  • Breakfast options:
  • Brioche French toast
  • Poached egg and smashed avocado
  • Porridge
  • Bacon sandwich

Bakery selection:

  • Pastries
  • Scones
  • Cakes

Pantry food:

  • Home-made soups
  • Cold sandwiches
  • Baked potatoes

Every day they offer special meals which are written and displayed on a chalkboard in the café.

Drink

There is a wide variety of drinks for people of all tastes and preferences. Whether you need to warm up with a hot chocolate after a brisk walk, or quench your thirst with a cold fizzy drink on a warm day. There is also alcoholic drinks of all types including all wine varieties, beer, and spirits.

Hot drinks:

  • Americano
  • Flat white
  • Deluxe hot chocolate
  • Kid’s hot chocolate
  • Speciality tea
  • Chai tea

Cold drinks:

  • Sparkling water
  • Diet Coke
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Fruit juices
  • Craft beer
  • Alcohol-free beer
  • Gin and tonic
  • Cider

All food and drink can be brought and eaten on the premises or taken away in takeaway cups/boxes. Click here to view the menu.

The Park

raby lake

Taken near the lakeside by Aiden Dawson

The vast deer park is not to be missed out during your visit. It surrounds the castle and offers lovely scenery. You can go and see the deer that roam freely around the park.

The deer belong to the park, and they are often an attraction themselves, as they display a hive of activity during the mating season, when the male deer are sometimes seen challenging each other.

There are plenty of proper walks for you to go on of varying levels in terms of distance and difficulty. Walks include the Red Walking Route which takes about 20 minutes walking around the castle and the Low and High Pond.

The Purple Walking Route is approximately 35 minutes long, and covers a new part of the Deer Park and the longest walk is the Blue Walking Route which is about 45 minutes and is a circular route all on solid tracks so perfect for wheelchairs and for cycling too. People can also find more walks via an interactive map- click here for more information.

The Yurt Café

Inside yurt café at Raby Castle Park

Photo taken inside the yurt café by Aiden Dawson

The new Yurt Café had opened in spring of 2022. NOW it is only open for large events taking place on the grounds.

It is situated inside a large yurt, so it has plenty of comfortable shelter and space for people to sit down and have a bite to eat and a cuppa.

 

The yurt is situated right next to the main car park next to the old stables. It is just a 2-minute walk to the castle and Plotters’ Forest.

The food varies from savoury dishes to sweet snacks, with gluten-free and vegan options.

There is also a stand near to the Yurt Café selling refreshments including hot drinks and snacks to take out and walk around the park with.

The Coach House

On the site, there is the stables gift shop within the Coach Yard. It is just a minute walk from the Vinery Café and the Walled Gardens.

In the shop, you can buy quality gifts and homeware and plenty of unique items. They also sell books, games, plants, and food treats, so there is something for everyone.

The Plotters’ Forest

An exciting attraction that is part of Raby Castle Park and recently opened in the spring of 2022. A great place for toddlers and young kids. Children can enjoy playing in nature, trying new challenges, and exploring.

This part of the venue is also ticketed, and tickets can be booked on their website here.

The attraction features towering playground structures and walkways weaving their way throughout the dense woodland of Plotters’ Forest. It is just a few minutes’ walk from the café and stables shop and a 5–10-minute walk from the castle.

Accessibility

Every part of the venue and attractions is highly accessible for people of all needs and capabilities.

Around the Park

  • There is a large amount of space for parking on the grassy area right at the front of the park just after you drive through the main entrance just off the main road. The main car park is less than a minute’s walking distance the Plotters’ Forest and the main entrance to the rest of the park.
  • People can go onto their website to purchase tickets for general access to the park and castle. You will need a separate ticket to get into the Plotters’ Forest. Events also take place throughout the year.
  • People can also apply for annual passes, which grants them access to the park all year-round including access to the castle and gardens. People who are members can also get discount on ticketed events and the Plotters’ Forest.
  • The entire deer park is perfect for bring dogs for walks and exercise.
  • Throughout the entire site, there is wide tracks and pathways linking all the main attractions including the Plotters’ Forest.
  • The site is an ideal place for families with children to visit. It is great for young ones to go about and explore, have fun, and burn their energy!
  • Open space. The entire park offers both the option to be outside and be indoors, so the British weather should never put you off from visiting. With the option of having open space, it is ideal for individuals who don’t feel comfortable with crowds, so even when the venue does get busy there is always quiet space around.

At The Vinery Café

  • There are no steps going into the Vinery Café. Wheelchairs can easily move around the indoor and outdoor spaces. All flooring is flat and smooth. People can also move furniture around and choose to sit on a more comfy chair with leather upholstery.
  • The café includes snacks, soft drinks, and small-sized meals for kids.
  • Food and drink. The menu at the café is inclusive to all needs and requirements. It includes gluten-free options, allergy information and vegetarian/vegan options too. The variety of food is good as it offers both savoury and sweet snacks and plenty of healthy options too.
  • You can bring dogs inside the café.
  • Members can get discount when buying food and drink from the café.
  • Toilet facilities. On the grounds, there are toilets accessible right next to the main car park, just a few minutes’ walk from the café and stable shop.

In The Castle

  • Disabled parking. Extra disabled parking is available outside the castle entrance.
  • The castle is also easy to access and move around inside and includes a lift for wheelchairs to go to the upstairs rooms as well. With the castle being an old building, certain parts of it may be tricky for wheelchair users but guides working throughout the castle are there to help people.
  • People can read information displayed in large print for people who may struggle to read.

If you found this listing helpful and interesting, please check out some of our other listing similar to this one here!

raby gardens

Taken inside the walled gardens by Aiden Dawson

 

 

Q Do you need to be a member to visit the park?

Q Do you need to book separately to visit the castle itself?

https://rabyestate.digitickets.co.uk/event-tickets/39924?catID=39695&



Q Is the walled gardens currently closed?

Q Does being a member give you access to the Plotter's Forest?


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