Neil Cole’s MUSEUM OF CLASSIC SCI-FI NE47 9BJ (25 miles / 45 minutes)
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 10am-5pm Situated in the ground floor cellar of a Georgian house, this is a very quirky museum for Dr Who and Sci-Fi fans! Admission charge.
Allendale is a pleasant drive away through Rookhope and past old mining heritage sites including a horizontal chimney flue visible from the road and Groverake mine. The village has a coffee shop, pubs and art gallery. Free parking in the square.
TEESDALE AREA – a scenic drive over the moors! There’s a nice loop drive – down Weardale to St John’s Chapel, turn left past the café towards Langdon Beck over Harthope Pass, then to High Force, Low Force and Middleton on Teesdale, then back to Weardale. Details of other scenic drives are in the folder.
MIDDLETON-IN-TEESDALE 10 miles / 18 minutes
The Teesdale Hotel, The Forresters restaurant, fish and chip shop, Co-op, butcher, newsagent, Barclays Bank, tea rooms. River walks along the Tees. A ‘Walkers are Welcome’ village.
CAULDRON SNOUT AND COW GREEN RESERVOIR
Walk a few miles from the car park to reach Cauldron Snout on the Pennine Way – water pours 60 metres down the hillside. The Langdon Beck Hotel is at the junction of the road leading to the car park. Visit in spring to see the rare blue Mountain Gentian flowers – they only grow here, on the Irish Burren and in the Alps.
LOW AND HIGH FORCE WATERFALLS 13 miles / 25 minutes
Drive to Bowlees Visitor Centre DL12 0XE (signposted High Force from Middleton). Parking (pay and display). Walk across the field to Low Force waterfalls and the swing wynch bridge.
You can then either walk 2-3 miles along the river to High Force, or drive to the High Force Hotel DL12 0XH and pay to park, and pay to view the upper Falls.
Café in the Bowlees Visitor Centre. You can also do a short walk from Bowlees car park to Gibson’s Cave and Summerhill Force.
COTHERSTONE 13 miles / 25 minutes
Small village, has a post office, two pubs: Red Lion and Fox and Hounds.
MICKLETON 12 miles / 25 minutes
Small village, two pubs (Blacksmiths Arms and The Crown). Access the Tees Railway Path here – 6 miles from Longton to Cotherstone. You can also walk along the River Tees from here. Parking at the picnic area.
EGGLESTONE ABBEY DL12 9TN 17 miles / 35 minutes English Heritage
A ruined abbey, pretty setting by the river. Parking charge.
BARNARD CASTLE 15 miles / 25 minutes
Ruined castle (admission charge, seasonal – open weekends in winter) https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/barnard-castle/
Tea shops, Morrisons supermarket, pubs, restaurants (including Indian and Italian), Chinese takeaway, fish and chip shops, community hospital (not A&E) and vets.
BOWES MUSEUM DL12 8NP 16 miles / 30 minutes
Just outside Barnard Castle, inspired by a French chateau. A museum and former stately home, with special collections and events. A silver Swan automaton plays daily at 2.00pm. Admission charge. Open all year. Café and gift shop. https://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk/
ROKEBY PARK DL12 9RZ 18 miles / 30 minutes
Stately home dating from early 17th century, open May to September. No dogs allowed in the house or grounds. Interiors, art, furniture and ceramics. Admission charge. Check webpage for opening days/times. http://www.rokebypark.com/
EGGLESTON HALL GARDENS AND NURSERY DL12 0AG 10 miles / 20 minutes
Fee charged to go around the garden trail. You can buy plants, and there are a couple of artists in residence.
BOWES CASTLE DL12 9HP 18 miles / 35 minutes (English Heritage)
Ruined castle – A nice walk along the river and back via the castle.
STAINDROP 20 miles / 30 minutes
St Mary’s Church, Staindrop – the church dates from the 12th century, and has some excellent marble tombs from the 14th century. Raby Castle is just outside the town. Wednesday is market day.
RABY CASTLE AND DEER PARK DL2 3AH 20 miles / 30 minutes
On the outskirts of Staindrop village. Open Easter to September. Guided tours of the castle. Walled gardens, coach house with carriages, tea room. Seasonal events. Admission charge. https://www.raby.co.uk/raby-castle/
HANNAH’S MEADOW DL12 9UX 16 miles / 30 minutes
Hannah Hauxwell farmed in Baldersdale and came to fame in a 1973 television documentary ‘Too Long a Winter’ about the harsh conditions facing dale farmers. Hannah was living a simple life without running water or electricity, farming single-handed. She passed away in 2018, aged 91.
Visit in June to early July to see the traditional hay meadow wild flowers. The meadow is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There are several reservoirs in the area – Blackton, Balderhead - from where you can walk to the meadows.
Tunstall Reservoir – signposted from road to Wolsingham, toilets, picnic tables, nature reserve, a pleasant, easy walk around the reservoir lake.
Burnhope Reservoir – Follow the A689 west up Weardale. Take the second left hand turn in Ireshopeburn (NY 866 386). After a mile, take a right turn down a gated lane (please close the gate behind you).
There's a parking area at the south eastern tip of the water where you can start a circular walk. Follow the trails around the reservoir on woodland trails and lakeside paths to enjoy including Burnhope Moor and climb to Burnhope Seat, the highest point in County Durham. You can also pick up the Weardale Way long distance trail, just to the east of the reservoir and enjoy a riverside walk to Wearhead and Cowshill.
Grassholme Reservoir – fee for parking, café
Selset Reservoir – no facilities, picnic area
Balderhead Reservoir – toilets
Hury Reservoir – toilets
Blackton Reservoir – no facilities. From here you can walk to Hannah’s Meadow (best in early-mid June), with an information barn about Hannah Hauxwell.
BISHOP AUCKLAND AREA
AUCKLAND CASTLE DL14 7NR 16 miles / 30 minutes
A thousand years of connection to the Prince Bishops of Durham. A private residence until 2012. Formal gardens and a deer park. Now re-opened to the public. https://aucklandproject.org/venues/auckland-castle/
ESCOMB SAXON CHURCH DL14 7SY 17 miles / 30 minutes
2 miles west of Bishop Auckland; built around 675AD, probably from stone from the Roman fort at Binchester.
BINCHESTER ROMAN FORT DL14 8DJ 17 miles / 30 minutes
Open summer only, admission charge. https://www.durham.gov.uk/binchester
LOCOMOTION, NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM, SHILDON DL4 2RE 22 miles / 40 minutes
Free entry. Trains and associated ephemera – linked to the museum in York. Café and outdoor play area. Open all year. https://www.locomotion.org.uk/
VALHALLA NORTH AXE THROWING
11 Cumbie Way, Aycliffe Industrial Park, Newton Aycliffe DL5 6YA https://www.valhallanorth.co.uk/
A leisure centre offering axe throwing, laser quest, trampoline park and roller skating:
11 ARCHES AND KYNREN, BISHOP AUCKLAND DL14 7SF (summer)
Legendns come to life in the 11 Arches Park. Kynren offers an open air live evening show. A cast and crew of almost 1,500 portray the history of England, myth and legend. Tickets must be bought in advance. https://www.11arches.com/
HAMSTERLEY FOREST Bedburn Road, Hamsterley Sat Nav Postcode: DL13 3NL
Parking charge, café, cycle routes, dogs welcome. Forest trails. 208 hectares of mixed scenic woodland. https://www.forestryengland.uk/hamsterley-forest
LOW BARNS NATURE RESERVE Witton-le-Wear DL14 0AG 15 miles / 26 minutes
Wetlands, Site of SSI, three lakes with interconnecting streams, ponds, reed beds and wet pasture, bird hides and visitor centre. Parking charge. https://www.durhamwt.com/nature-reserves/low-barns
BLANCHLAND 14 miles / 30 minutes
Abbey church, pretty village, tea rooms, pub. A pleasant walk if you turn left out of the car park and walk up to Shildon engine house and Penny Pie House. Loop back on a moor track to the left of Penny Pie House.
Derwent Reservoir is nearby – walks, café, wildlife, water sports
BEAMISH DH9 0RG 22 miles / 39 minutes
An open air museum telling the story of life in the north-east England including a 1900s town, new 19502 town, pit village and colliery; a station; a 1940s farm and tramway; plus a bakery, sweet shop, fish and chip shop, pub and tea room. Admission charge – 25% discount code for our guests booking online. Ticket is valid for 12 months. Special events.
DURHAM 20 miles / 40 minutes
Durham Castle, Cathedral, Gala Theatre, riverside walk, Durham University Oriental Museum, Botanical Garden, indoor market, Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre.
Durham Heritage Coast (Seaham) 37 miles / 65 minutes 14km coastal path
GATESHEAD 27 miles / 55 minutes
Shopping at the Metro Centre
Angel of the North NE9 7TY
Large sculpture by Anthony Gormley just off the A1 – gateway to the north. You can park by it and visit.
NEWCASTLE 40 miles / 60 minutes
The Quayside, Grey Street, Discovery Museum, Tyne Bridge, St Nicholas Cathedral, Great North Museum, indoor market, Castle.
You can drive to one of the Metro stations and catch the train to Newcastle.
WALWORTH CASTLE Birds of Prey Centre DL2 2LY 24 miles / 40 minutes
Seasonal opening, admission charge.
PIERCEBRIDGE ROMAN FORT AND BRIDGE DL2 3TA 25 miles / 40 minutes
Roman remains from 70AD to around 5th century. Built along Dere Street, one of the most important roads in Roman Britain. Free entry. Park in the George Hotel car park when visiting the site – do not park on the Village Green. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/piercebridge-roman-bridge/
HADRIAN’S WALL AREA – NORTHUMBERLAND 2022 marks the 1900th year of the building of Hadrian’s Wall, so there are some special events organised
HEXHAM 30 miles / 50 minutes
Hexham Abbey, Hadrian’s Wall, Border History Museum and Hexham Old Gaol. Shops, restaurants, pubs. Main car park runs a parking disc system – collect one free from shops/leisure centre.
Housesteads Roman Fort, Haydon Bridge NE47 6NN
42 miles / 65 minutes
Visitor Centre. Fort on the Wall with good views – barrack blocks and hospital. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/housesteads-roman-fort-hadrians-wall/
Vindolanda Chesterholm Museum, Bardon Mill NE47 7JN
42 miles / 65 minutes
Site provides 8 successive forts and extensive remains of the civil settlement – excavations throughout the year. Café. Admission fee https://www.vindolanda.com
Roman Army Museum (Carvoran), Greenhead CA8 7JB 50 miles / 75 minutes
Next to a section of Hadrian’s Wall, it concentrates on the life of a Roman soldier. Café. Admission fee includes Roman Vindolanda Fort and Museum
Walltown Craggs CA8 7JD 50 miles / 75 minutes
Park at the Roman Army Museum – walk along an impressive section of the Wall. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/walltown-crags-hadrians-wall/
Chesters Roman Fort, Chollerford NE46 4EU 32 miles / 53 minutes
Most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain. Admission fee Nearby is the Temple of Mithras. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/chesters-roman-fort-and-museum-hadrians-wall/
Steel Rigg and Sycamore Gap, Henshaw NE47 7AN (post code takes you nearby) 43 miles / 65 mins
Probably the most photographed spot in the whole of Northumberland National Park. A sycamore tree (now known as ‘The Robin Hood Tree’) grows in a dramatic dip with Hadrian’s Wall rising up either side. The 1991 film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ was filmed here. Car park charge. https://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/walk/steel-rigg-and-crag-lough-walk/
Birdoswald Roman Fort, Gilsland CA8 7DD 53 miles / 75 minutes
Longest surviving stretch of Hadrian’s Wall – admission fee https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/birdoswald-roman-fort-hadrians-wall/
Corbridge Roman Town 27 miles / 45 minutes
Audio tour of the most northerly town in the Roman Empire. Admission fee. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/corbridge-roman-town-hadrians-wall/
Aydon Castle off Aydon Road, Corbridge NE45 5PJ 27 miles / 48 minutes
(English Heritage) – one of the finest examples of an unaltered 13th century manor house. Open April – end of October https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/aydon-castle/
EPIACUM Roman Fort CA9 3BG 25 miles / 45 minutes
Described as arguably the best preserved Roman fort in the Empire, it is unexcavated (as yet) but preserved with access and interpretation on site (a working farm). [We found it hard to visualise]. The fort is on Castle Nook and Whitlow farm, and is reached walking from the car park on the A689 (Alston to Brampton road). Information leaflets. Open all year, donation, bit of a climb up on uneven ground. Nearby is The Nook farm shop and café (great cakes!). See https://www.epiacumheritage.org/
HALTWHISTLE 45 miles / 65 minutes
Haltwhistle is the geographical the centre of Britain (mid-point of the longest line of longitude that can be drawn through Britain with its centre on land).
Cawfields Roman Wall NE46 4EJ – A free section of the Wall to walk along, one of the highest standing sections of the Wall. 6 miles from Housesteads. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/cawfields-roman-wall-hadrians-wall/
Winshields Wall Military Road, Once Brewed, Winshields NE47 7AN – highest point of Hadrian’s Wall, spectacular views. Access by foot, but very rough and muddy in wet weather. Free entry.
NATIONAL GLASS CENTRE, Liberty Way SR6 0GL 40 miles / 1 hour 10 minutes
Free admission, free parking, café, exhibition, history of glassmaking in the area and demonstrations of glass blowing.
ST PETER’S CHURCH, WEARMOUTH
Historic church (across the road from the National Glass Centre), founded AD674, where the Venerable Bede produced his literary works, includes a copy of the ‘Codex Amiatinus’.
The coast is a few minutes away – Marston Rocks, South Shields, Souter Lighthouse and further up across the Tyne there is Tynemouth.
ROKER AND SEABURN BEACHES
Lovely beaches – lifeguards, family sections with soft sand and rock pools, other sections for dog walkers. Tea shops, pubs, fish and chips shops, cafés and ice cream parlours. Parking on the front with small charge.
Pleasant beach and harbour marina. See ‘Tommy’ the large WW1 memorial statue on the sea front. Anglo Saxon church. Nearby is Dalton Park – retail outlet centre.
Priory and Castle – burial place of saints and kings of the old kingdom of Northumbria. Small museum for the Volunteer Life Brigade, the first of its kind in the world. Car park on the front. https://www.visitnorthtyneside.com/destinations/destination/1/
THE LAKE DISTRICT AND CUMBRIA
Ullswater 55 miles / 90 minutes
Windermere 60 miles / 100 minutes
Keswick 62 miles / 90 minutes
A beautiful walking area. Can get very busy!
BROUGH CASTLE CA17 4EJ 25 miles / 50 minutes
Ruined castle, cafe https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/brough-castle/
APPLEBY IN WESTMORLAND 33 miles / 55 minutes
Appleby Castle, St Ann’s Hospital (historical), train station on Settle-Carlisle line.
Pubs, shops and cafés. Good walking.
Appleby Horse Fair ends on the second Wednesday in June, and starts on the Thursday before that. It is a gathering of gypsies and travellers, who bring their horses. Some break their journey at Bollihope Burn below us, so you may see some traditional caravans and horses there. I suggest you research the Fair carefully before deciding to attend.
KIRKBY STEPHEN 24 miles / 50 minutes
Pleasant village, good base for walks.
SEDBURGH 43 miles / 75 minutes
Market town, dwarfed by the Howgills.
ALSTON 25 miles / 47 minutes
Buxton and Alston are the highest market towns in England. Cobbled street. Shops and cafés.
South Tynedale Railway CA9 3JB
Runs from Alston – seasonal. Small steam engine, runs for about 3.5 miles. Railway Walk – the walking route between Kirkhaugh Station on the South Tynedale Railway’s Kirkhaugh Station is waymarked in both directions. You can download the leaflet from https://www.epiacumheritage.org/ To see what time the trains are running please visit www.south-tynedale-railway.org.uk
Hub Heritage and Transport Museum, Station Yard, Alston CA9 3HN
Local History and Transport Museum. Small admission charge. https://www.northpennines.org.uk/location/the-hub-museum/
Tan Hill Inn DL11 6ED 32 miles / 55 minutes
The highest pub in Britain at 1732’ above sea level, a remote location on the moors. Accommodation and camping. Serves food, including outside in domes. https://www.tanhillinn.com/
Not advisable to visit in winter unless you phone them first to check road conditions and do not ever try to drive off the track! Minimum £50 fee to pull you out again if you’re stuck!
Aysgarth DL8 3TH 47 miles / 85 minutes
Mentioned in James Herriot ‘Vet’ books and filmed in the original TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. Aysgarth has some impressive waterfalls. There’s a large car park just outside the village.
Askrigg DL8 3HT 36 miles / 1 hour 20 minutes
Used as Darrowby in the original TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. Church, Nappa Hall fortified manor house, ring cairns and Mill Gill Force.
Richmond DL10 4DW 29 miles / 51 minutes
Richmond Castle, Easby Abbey (Easby), Georgian Theatre Royal, Green Howards Military Museum, Museum of Richmondshire. Shops, pubs, cafés
Reeth DL11 6SY 28 miles / 56 minutes – a good centre for walking. Pub and cafés.