Explore Gainford

Gainford on Tees is a beautiful, historic village which sits on the bank of the River Tees in County Durham, England bordering North Yorkshire. The gateway to Teesdale, this area is one of the most picturesque parts of Northern England, home of waterfalls, castles and the majestically beautiful Pennines. 

With sweeping riverside beaches, ancient woodland, saxon church, chocolate box pretty architecture and its medieval village green, Gainford makes an ideal base for exploring the riches of North Yorkshire and County Durham, offering a range of high quality accommodation, cafes and restaurants.   

Once cited as one of England's prettiest villages, the village has a mix of outstanding architecture including a Jacobean Manor House, the Georgian High Row and medieval village green.

One of England's prettiest villages

One of England's prettiest villages

In Anglo-Saxon times, Gainford was the centre of an estate, part of the Northumbrian Congregation of Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. In the Dark Ages this area was taken by Vikings. Archaeologists have found Viking sculptures at Gainford and some examples of these may be seen on display at Durham Cathedral. 

Explore the 12th Century Church of St Mary’s, which is said to be built on the site of the old monastery of Geggenforde from 801. With its wonderful architecture and artefacts and ancient graveyard, its worthy of a visit. Visitors can also access the tower with its medieval church bells. Steps down the back of the church led to historic St Mary’s Well and onto the River Tees, where you can walk around the village along the river to the Victorian Spa (its waters are supposed to be therapeutic!) or nearby Winston or Piercebridge. 

St Mary's Church, Gainford

St Mary's Church, Gainford

The church sits on the medieval village green which is surrounded by houses from all periods include Jacobean. The nearby Jacobean manor House overlooks the green and a fine example of Georgian architecture, High Row borders it to the North.

The village is also famous for its association with Stan Laurel who went to school in a building which formed part of the Victorian Montalbo Village Hall and on the original site is the historic Theatre and Laurels Café where you can enjoy a glass of wine and delicious hot or cold meals. Try and catch one of the performances when you are here from the Gainford Players, the standard is very high and the theatre beautiful.

Stan Laurel's schoolroom

Stan Laurel's schoolroom

Walk through the nearby cobbled alley and enjoy a delicious cake at nearby Howey’s café with garden which also sells beautiful craft items and gifts.

The village also has a beautiful local pub, The Cross Keys, with real ales and a gourmet pizza establishment for evening meals and a chance to sample local village life including dominoes! Shops include the excellent butcher Simpsons who also sells handmade pies and sandwiches as well as the local corner shop which has everything you could require including cash machine.

If you are staying in the village, it has a variety of high quality accommodation from riverside boutique self catering cottages to excellent B&B’s. Award winning Jacobean Headlam Hall Hotel is just one mile away with golf course, spa and 4 star restaurant.