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Be inspired every day with Living North
Bishop Auckland Bishop Auckland
Places to go
November 2022
Reading time 3 Minutes

Proud of their castles and culture, these two very different market towns are well worth exploring

Here's how to spend the perfect weekend in Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle.
El Castillo


The Bishop’s Kitchen at the heart of Auckland Castle has a delicious range of tempting treats to enjoy or you can get a taste of Spain in El Castillo – a popular tapas bar at the Spanish Gallery. Knead a Slice’s brunch menu is just as good as its pizzas, Manzo is a popular family-owned restaurant and while we eagerly await the new STACvenue, you can get a decent pint at the Caps Off taproom. In Barnard Castle, Valentine’s is a popular restaurant for good pub grub, while CroBar has a fabulous garden lounge perfect for summer sipping.

High Force Hotel


Be one of the first to stay in one of The Auckland Project's new self-catering properties – including the pretty Lightfoot Cottage which extends either side of the original palace walls. Or book a room at Park Head Hotel – its restaurant makes the most of locally-sourced produce (much of which is from the walled garden at Auckland Castle – which has recently reopened to the public), or the Thomas Wright House is a guest house with eight luxury bedrooms. In West Auckland, The Manor House Hotel is a great choice for a spa break whilst in the tiny village of Romaldkirk, The Rose & Crown is a popular 18th century coaching inn with 14 cosy rooms and a great restaurant and bar. A little further into Upper Teesdale, High Force Hotel is a lovely country inn with individually designed bedrooms and a popular restaurant right beside the iconic waterfall.

Tinkers Treasures | Chocolate Fayre | Niche


Each of The Auckland Project’s venues boasts its own shop offering gifts and exclusive products (Gillian Arnold and Northern Heartlands’ tweed and repeat pattern fabrics are sold here). Elsewhere in town find home inspo within Revival Furniture and Tinkers Treasures, and fabulous art within House of Smudge and Pineapple Gallery. Based in Barnard Castle, Pink’s Flower Farm sow, grow and arrange flowers which are nurtured sustainably from seed. Their blooms are picked fresh to order and they offer delivery within 20 miles, and visits for large groups by appointment. Browse Chocolate Fayre, find unique gifts at Embleton Interiors Gift Shop, and shop home accessories at Niche.

Faith Museum

Don't Miss

Enjoy a bird’s eye view across Bishop Auckland from Auckland Tower, don’t miss Auckland Castle (one of the best-preserved bishops’ palaces in the whole of Europe) and see the redevelopment of the Walled Garden, now it has reopened. Admire the art on display within the Spanish Gallery and the Mining Art Gallery and take a peek at the Faith Museum where visitors will discover stories of faith in Britain spanning 6,000 years. Take a trip on the Weardale Railway, go back in time at Binchester Roman Fort and make sure you book tickets for Kynren – a truly unique show not available anywhere else in the UK. Play King or Queen at Barnard Castle with fantastic views over the Tees Gorge and visit The Bowes Museum to see amazing collections of art, fashion and design in a beautiful French-style museum. The iconic Silver Swan is now back on display there.

Raby Castle

Around the Corner

Don’t miss out on a visit to one of England’s finest medieval castles. Raby always promises so much to see and do whether you’re discovering the secrets within its walls or spotting the resident deer around the grounds. This summer there’s open air cinema and theatre to enjoy and behind the scenes tours of the castle. Don’t forget to refuel in the new Yurt Café and let the kids run wild in The Plotters’ Forest.

Last updated May 2024.

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