As well as the historic buildings and beautiful local walks available in Gainford, it is ideally located to explore many nearby places of interest from City to Countryside. Also within driving distance is the beautiful seaside towns of Whitby and Staithes and the Lake District to the west.
Durham City, home to the iconic Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site, sits at the heart of an extraordinary county where breathtaking countryside and dramatic coastline are dotted with cultural treasures. Take a short break in Durham and discover the cobbled streets of the city, where stylish boutiques and quirky craft shops jostle for attention alongside big name brands, whilst our lovely market towns offer their own unique shopping experiences. Take some time out in a cosy pub next to the open fire, or blow the cobwebs away on a walk through the changing landscape.
More information on all the city has to offer is available at www.thisisdurham.com
Escape to the peace and tranquility of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to relax and unwind or get outdoors and active and experience the rugged beauty of High Force waterfall and the Durham Heritage Coast.
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), incorporates much of the Durham Dales, and is a stunning landscape of open heather moors, dramatic dales, tumbling upland rivers, wonderful woods, close-knit communities, glorious waterfalls, fantastic birds, colourful hay meadows, stone-built villages, intriguing imprints of a mining and industrial past, distinctive plants and much, much more.
Visit www.teesdalediscovery.com for more information
Home of the railways and the Quakers, Darlington boasts beautiful Victorian architecture, cobbled alleyways full of artisan shops and a beautiful market square. As the major shopping town in the region, it has all the major facilities and key shops as well as high end designer boutiques and restaurants on Grange Road.
To further explore the region’s railway heritage, visit nearby Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon.
Visit www.distinctdarlington.com for more information.
Barnard Castle is a historic beautiful market town which takes its name from the castle beneath which it grew. The castle, an English Heritage property, was named after its 12th Century founder, Bernard de Balliol, and was later developed by Richard III whose boar emblem is carved above a window in the inner ward.
A haven for treasure seekers, the town’s many antique shops provide a charming shopping experience. And for food lovers, locally produced food can be found at the monthly farmers’ market which is held on ‘the cobbles’ in the Market Place.
In the centre of the town stands an octagonal building, the ‘Butter Market’, built by Thomas Breaks and given to the town in 1747. Two bullet holes in the weather vane are reputed to be the result of a shooting competition between a volunteer soldier and a local gamekeeper in 1804.
Also in Barnard Castle is the beautiful Bowes Museum. Housing internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts, the Museum was purpose built by wealthy businessman John Bowes and his French actress wife Josephine.
The diverse collections are constantly being added to and currently span three floors of this magnificent French-style chateau. Whether its paintings by Van Dyck, Canaletto or Goya, delicate porcelain produced at Sevres, or fashion from the 16-20th centuries, it can all be found at The Bowes Museum. Don’t miss the museum’s unique and popular exhibit, the Silver Swan musical automaton, built in 1773, which performs daily to delight audiences.
No visit is complete without sampling a delicious lunch, sumptuous afternoon tea or tempting snack in Café Bowes, or a browse in the shop, which offer s a wide range of gifts, books, confectionery and original art and jewellery.
Auckland Castle & Bishop Auckland
Known as the gateway to Weardale, Bishop Auckland is a bustling market town standing high above a meander in the River Wear with commanding views of the surrounding countryside.
Walk from the town centre straight into the beautiful grounds of the magnificent Auckland Castle, the country residence of the Prince Bishops for centuries and still the official home of the Bishop of Durham. Surrounding the Castle are the 800 acres of the Bishop's Deer Park - a great place for a summer picnic or an autumnal stroll through vividly coloured parkland.
A mile from the town are the remains of Binchester Roman Fort, home to the best preserved Roman military bath house in Britain. And at Escomb, visitors can see one of the finest examples of early Christian architecture in Northern Europe at the restored 7th Century Escomb Saxon Church.
Raby Castle, Staindrop
In the nearby village of Staindrop stands the mighty Raby Castle, open in the summer to visitors. The dramatic 14th Century castle built by the Nevilles has been home to Lord Barnard's family since 1626.
In the well-preserved halls and chambers history comes vibrantly to life. Throughout the castle the rooms display fine furniture, impressive artwork and elaborate architecture. Visitors can also enjoy the deer park, large walled gardens, coach and carriage collection, woodland adventure playground, picnic area and gift shop. Part of the stables has been converted to a tearoom where former stalls have been incorporated to create an atmospheric setting.
The neighbouring village of Piercebridge on the River Tees boasts significant Roman remains including the Roman bridge at Piercebridge which is one element of a much larger Roman site, which includes a fort, known to have existed from at least the 3rd century AD, and areas of civilian settlement. Enjoy lunch at The George Hotel with stunning views across the river and find out more about the village’s fascinating history.
Richmond, North Yorkshire is a town of unique character and beauty which has changed little through the centuries.
With the variety of shopping and its many pubs, hotels and restaurants, the proximity to the most stunning scenery anywhere to be seen, Richmond remains one of the most beautiful and rewarding places to visit in the Country.