15 Best Things To Do In Barnard Castle, England

15 Best Things To Do In Barnard Castle, England

By will

Barnard Castle is a beautiful town in the north of England with a long and fascinating history. It’s a place full of culture, adventure, and stunning scenery. From exploring the ruins of the castle to taking a boat ride along the River Tees, there’s no shortage of things to do here.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 15 best things to do in Barnard Castle. Whether you’re looking for a day out or a weekend away, there’s something for everyone in this charming town.

Explore the Ruins of Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle: the inner ward and keep
Photo by Bob Harvey

You can’t miss exploring the ruins of Barnard Castle – it’s a breathtaking view of a centuries-old castle! The castle was built in the 12th century by Bernard de Balliol and has a long history of being a mainstay of English life.

It was once the powerful stronghold of the powerful Balliol family, and its impressive ruins remain a reminder of its past. The ruins are surrounded by a moat and a bridge, which visitors can cross to explore the castle.

The castle is also home to several historical artifacts, including a set of cannons and a bell tower. From the top of the tower, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the area and the Tees River.

Visitors can also explore the castle’s grounds, which are filled with lush greenery and stunning gardens. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the castle, which will provide more insight into the castle’s history and the Balliol family’s legacy.

All in all, exploring the ruins of Barnard Castle is a must-do for anyone visiting the area.

Visit the Bowes Museum

Frontage of Bowes Museum
Photo by Martin Dawes

Visiting the Bowes Museum is a great way to explore the culture and history of the area. The museum is housed in a stunning French-style chateau and is home to an incredible collection of fine and decorative arts. It includes works from renowned artists such as El Greco, Goya, and Canaletto. The museum also boasts a diverse array of objects from Asian, Egyptian, and European cultures.

The exhibits are interactive and engaging. There are plenty of activities for families and children. For example, the museum’s ‘Culture Lab’ offers creative activities such as drawing and crafts. In addition, visitors can watch films about the history of the area at the museum’s award-winning cinema.

The Bowes Museum is a great place to learn about the culture and history of Barnard Castle and its surrounding area.

Enjoy the Local Cuisine

A pork pie wedding cake at Eley's of Ironbridge
Photo by Ian S

Exploring the local cuisine is a great way to discover the unique flavors of Barnard Castle and the surrounding area.

The area is renowned for its traditional Yorkshire dishes, particularly the famous pork pies, which are a local delicacy.

But the region also has a rich history of brewing, and a wide range of ales and beers can be sampled in pubs and restaurants across the town.

With the area’s close proximity to the coast, seafood is also popular in the local restaurants.

In addition to all these traditional dishes, there are also plenty of modern and international options, with menus offering everything from Italian and Mexican dishes to sushi and tapas.

No matter what type of food you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find something that’ll hit the spot in Barnard Castle.

Take a Walk Along the River Tees

Strolling along the River Tees is a great way to experience the beauty of Barnard Castle and its surrounding area.

The River Tees flows through the center of the town, offering plenty of opportunities to explore the area.

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On the banks of the river, visitors can find a variety of interesting wildlife, including ducks, swans, and other waterfowl.

As you walk along the river, you will pass by several historical landmarks, such as the old Abbey or the ruins of the old castle.

The views from the bridge over the river are especially stunning, giving you a great view of the area.

The river is also a great place to take a boat ride, and there are a few local companies that offer boat tours along the River Tees.

Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll or an exciting boat ride, exploring the River Tees in Barnard Castle is a great way to experience the area.

Check Out the Local Market

Take a trip to the vibrant local market in Barnard Castle and discover a variety of unique items and delicious treats.

The local market is a great place to pick up fresh produce and homemade goods.

You’ll find an array of traditional items such as cheeses, meats, and pastries, as well as a selection of handmade crafts and gifts.

The friendly vendors are always happy to chat and give advice about the best treats to try.

There are also a few food stands offering tasty snacks like fish and chips, pies, and cakes.

With something for everyone, the local market in Barnard Castle is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon discovering the area’s unique culture.

Admire the Views of the Pennine Hills

Near the northern end of the Pennine Way

Gaze in awe at the breathtaking Pennine Hills, where you can spot sheep grazing in the lush green fields and majestic peaks rising in the distance.

The Pennine Hills are a stunning sight, and they’re even more entrancing when you take the time to explore them.

The hills range from 1,300 feet to over 2,500 feet, and you can take a stroll through the area to watch the sheep grazing, admire the wildflowers, or simply take in the beautiful views.

The Pennine Hills are also a great spot for a picnic, as you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere while taking in views of the surrounding countryside.

There are plenty of walking trails that you can take to explore the hills, and some even lead to the top of the highest peak, where you can get an even more stunning view of the landscape.

Taking in the views of the Pennine Hills is a great way to spend a day in Barnard Castle, and it’s an experience that you won’t soon forget.

Visit the Historic Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

Discover the majestic Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history that dates back to 1093.

Located just a stone’s throw from Barnard Castle, the beautiful cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Durham and an architectural masterpiece of Romanesque, Norman, and Gothic styles.

Step inside and explore the stunningly ornate interior, with its intricate carvings, soaring columns, and vibrant stained glass windows.

Gaze up at the soaring central tower and take in the breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside.

Durham Cathedral is also home to many important artifacts, including the Shrine of St. Cuthbert, a Saxon relic that dates back to the 7th century, and the Venerable Bede’s bones.

Visit the nearby Open Treasure exhibition to learn more about the cathedral’s history and treasures.

Whether you’re a history buff or just appreciate beautiful architecture, you’ll find something to marvel at in Durham Cathedral.

Tour the Town’s Ancient Walls

Leaving the awe-inspiring Durham Cathedral, I find myself winding through the streets of Barnard Castle, England. As I make my way through the town, I’m astounded by the ancient walls, which are centuries old.

The walls of Barnard Castle were first constructed in the 12th century and have been preserved since then as a testament to the town’s history. It’s no wonder that the castle walls are one of the town’s most popular tourist attractions.

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Walking the walls of Barnard Castle is a must-do for any visitor to the town. As you make your way around the walls, you have a chance to take in the stunning views of the town and the River Tees. The walls themselves are well-maintained, and you can still see many of the original architectural features, such as the towers, arches, and crenellations. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a few of the castle’s resident birds of prey.

Touring the town’s ancient walls is an incredible way to gain insight into Barnard Castle’s rich history.

Go Shopping at the Market Place

Heading to the Market Place, you can find a wide variety of shops, stalls, and cafes to explore. Whether you’re looking for the perfect souvenir to take home or just want to browse the unique offerings, you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the square and take in the sights and sounds of this historic town.

The Market Place also offers a variety of food and drink stalls, serving everything from classic English dishes to more exotic fare. Stop and enjoy a bite to eat in one of the many outdoor seating areas, or take your purchases to go and enjoy a picnic in one of the nearby parks.

With so many options to choose from, you can’t go wrong when shopping at the Market Place in Barnard Castle.

Visit the Local Pubs and Bars

After a day of shopping at the Market Place, I was ready to explore Barnard Castle’s nightlife! The town has several pubs and bars that offer a great atmosphere for a night out.

One of my favorite spots is the Sun Inn, a local pub in the heart of town. It’s got a friendly atmosphere that can’t be beat, with plenty of delicious drinks to choose from. The pub also hosts live music events and comedy nights, and I can always find something fun to do there.

If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, the Crown Inn is a great option. This historic pub has been around since the 16th century, and it still has the original charm. The Crown Inn offers a wide selection of local ales, ciders, and wines, as well as traditional pub food. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy a pint with friends. And if you’re up for a challenge, you can even try your hand at the pub’s weekly trivia night.

No matter what kind of night out you’re looking for, Barnard Castle has something for you. From lively pubs to cozy bars, it’s easy to find the perfect spot for a night on the town.

Enjoy the Natural Beauty of the Countryside

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape, explore the natural beauty of Barnard Castle’s stunning countryside!

With rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque views, it’s the perfect spot to relax and take in the beauty of England.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, the countryside around Barnard Castle has something to offer everyone.

Take a walk along the banks of the River Tees and admire the views of the distant hills, or explore the woodlands filled with ancient oaks and winding paths.

You can even spot some wildlife as you wander through the area, including birds of prey, deer, and badgers.

If you’re into outdoor activities, there’s plenty to do in the countryside around Barnard Castle.

Go fishing in the River Tees, or take a picnic to one of the nearby lakes.

Take a boat out on the water and explore the area, or try your hand at archery or clay pigeon shooting.

You can even take a hot air balloon ride and admire the stunning views from up high.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an adventurous outdoor experience, Barnard Castle’s countryside has something to offer everyone.

Take a Boat Trip Along the River Tees

Cruise along the River Tees and take in the breathtaking scenery while spotting wildlife, such as birds of prey, deer, and badgers!

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Boating along the River Tees is one of the best activities to do in Barnard Castle. There are plenty of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a leisurely boat ride or an adrenaline-filled adventure.

You can book a river cruise with a knowledgeable guide to show you the sights and explain the history, or hire a boat and explore the river yourself.

The river meanders through the stunning countryside, giving you an up-close and personal view of the local wildlife. You can also spot some of the incredible castles and bridges that line the riverbanks.

Make sure to bring your binoculars, and keep an eye out for kingfishers, herons, and osprey. This is a great opportunity to relax, explore, and take in the beauty of this part of England.

Head to the Castle Gate Shopping Centre

Shop ’til you drop at the Castle Gate Shopping Centre, located in the heart of Barnard Castle! The shopping centre has been around for over 30 years and is home to some of the town’s best independent stores.

You’ll find a range of unique boutiques, gift stores, and craft shops all within walking distance of the iconic castle. The centre also hosts a number of family-friendly events throughout the year, including live music, food festivals, and craft fairs.

If you’re looking for something special to take home from Barnard Castle, make sure to visit the Castle Gate Shopping Centre. Whether you’re searching for a one-of-a-kind gift or a souvenir to remember your visit, you’re sure to find something that fits the bill here.

You can also find plenty of unique local food and drinks, perfect for stocking up on snacks for your trip.

Take a Tour of the Town’s Ancient Castles

Explore the historic sights of Barnard Castle on a tour of its ancient castles! Discover the stories that the walls tell and get a glimpse into the town’s past as you wander around the grounds of these age-old fortresses.

From the iconic ruins of Barnard Castle itself to the impressive remains of Egglestone Abbey, there’s plenty of history in this small town. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of each castle and the fascinating stories that surround them.

Hear about the battles, siege, and family feuds that played out in the grounds. Get up close to the towers and turrets and explore the ruins of the past as you take in the breathtaking views of the town.

With a knowledgeable tour guide, you’ll have a unique and immersive experience that will stay with you for years to come.

Explore the Local Wildlife and Nature Trails

Unlock the secrets of nature and discover the beauty of the local wildlife on the trails of Barnard Castle! Situated in the heart of North Yorkshire, the trails of Barnard Castle are a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast.

Whether you’re a passionate birder, a hiker, or simply looking for a peaceful walk, the trails of Barnard Castle offer something for everyone. These trails are full of natural beauty, with a wide variety of trees, plants, and wildlife to explore. From the majestic red kites soaring through the air to the majestic red deer grazing in the meadows, you’ll be sure to find something to marvel at.

The trails are also perfect for long, leisurely walks around the town, with plenty of benches to rest on and take in the stunning views. You can also take a guided walk with an experienced guide to learn more about the local wildlife and its habitats, or to simply take in the sights and sounds of the area.

After you’ve explored the trails, why not take a break in one of the many cafes and pubs in the area, and enjoy a delicious meal or a pint of local ale? Barnard Castle is the perfect destination for nature-lovers, and its trails are sure to leave you with a lasting impression.


My visit to Barnard Castle was an absolutely amazing experience. From exploring the ruins to trying the local cuisine, I was thoroughly impressed.

I definitely recommend taking a boat trip along the River Tees, and checking out the Castle Gate Shopping Centre. You won’t regret it!

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting day out, Barnard Castle is the perfect destination. With a wealth of activities and attractions on offer, there’s something for everyone.

I highly recommend spending a day here – you won’t regret it!

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.