The castle is on a high rock overlooking the river. It was well known under Bernard de Balliol in the 13th century, though it had been built by the Normans. Richard III inherited from his wife Anne Neville. Now it is the care of the English Heritage.
The castle is massive and looks very impressive from the outside , perched as it is on the rock and looking down on Startforth and the river.
Visiting costs £4.30 for adults; £3.90 concession and £2.60 for children
It is open from 10am - 6pm
The Market Place or Buttergate Market is an interesting feature, and on the Saturday we were there there was a Farmer's Market.
I had imagined stalls overflowing with vegetables and fruit, but though there was one, the majority had pre-packed meat, even venison and eggs. Some cake stalls were also there
This was a route we had hoped to travel on the motorbike but unfortunately it suffered a puncture on an earlier ride so we ended up driving the motorhome over this road. Fortunately, it was a good road, plenty wide enough in places with lots of passing places. It is, however, very steep at the start of the route.
It is a scenic route, passing through the hamlets of Arkle and Langthwaite. where there are a couple of pubs.Off to the right is the community with the name Booze!!
From Langthwaite, there are three options, the route northwards which we took, to Barnard Castle, a route south back to Swaledale or a left continuing through Arkengarthdale and on to Tan Hill. From there you can continue northwestwards to the A66 near Brough or south back to Swaledale near Keld.
Scenery is mainly open moorland and fells.It was just a pity we couldn't follow all these routes on our motorbike.
This is great river walking country, with the Tees and the Greta joining forces just south of Barnard castle.
Whilst camped near Scargill, south of BC, we chose to take a walk along the Greta. This entailed following a tributary from the site down to the Greta and then supposedly along the river bank. This did not turn out to be the case, as the footpaths have been diverted, I think to allow new tree growth, and much of the walk involved walking away or way above the river.
We were concerned how little water was in the Greta and were later told that there had been no rain for over 6 weeks, when at home in Cumbria, we had had torrential rain. This turned out to be only the start of a very long dry spell where farmers became seriously worried at the lack of water. Only in May did it finally rain.
Our route took us past a tiny church with no vehicular access, that was obviously still in use by this tiny community. I guess the parishoners parked wherever they could and walked down over the field.
Primroses were in evidence but we were just too early for the bluebells and wild garlic to be in flower which was a shame.
Looking at our map, there seemed to be numerous possibilities for river bank walks.
The grounds surrounding the Bowes Museum are a public park and open all year, free entrance.
Park either at the top, behind the museum, in the car park or on either side of the curving drive. Have a wander through the formal parterre garden with it's neat flower beds and recently restored fountain. A grand view of the French chateau-style Bowes Museum is had from here. On one side is a wooded area where a couple of interesting sculptures are to be seen, one an intriguing throne (which I couldn't photograph as someone was sitting in it!) and a type of totem pole? This appears to be a pleasant picnic area.
To the other side of the building are more trees, from various parts of the world and some also planted as memorials. There is a leisure park with tennis courts, bowls, etc and on a sunny day I suspect this is a lovely place to idle away a lunch hour.
The grounds are used for various events such as Farmers Markets and car rallies.
We just had a quick wander around, we kept getting mixed up with school children looking for various clues.
The Butter Market, also known as the Market Cross can be found at the end of the main street of Barnard Castle.
It has served many purposes over the years including a market area for farmers wives to sell their produce and even a jail.
Today it is a landmark in the centre of the town. Old engravings and photographs show it remains virtually unchanged from when it was first built.
As I was having my stroll though the town centre, I came across "The Witham". There was even an art exhibition taking place.
It does seem to be in need of some care and attention but does appear to be a busy cultural facility.
After a long and slightly confusing walk, I came across the Bowes Museum - I was unsure what I was expecting, but was pleasantly surprised when I came across this very large building and grounds.
It was the home of the family of the late Queen Mother' s extended family.
Source: English Heritage
Set on a high rock above the River Tees, Barnard Castle takes it name from its 12th-century founder, Bernard de Balliol. It was later developed by the Beauchamp family and then passed into the hands of Richard III.
This was a please experience, and I was so surprised at how large the area of the castle was during it's period of occupation. I suspect that it was certainly a stronghold for the north of England.
The weather was fine during my visit, and I was very happy to escape from the bustle of the main street of the town centre. There is a good shop within the castle confines.
Again, unfortunately the castle was closed as we passed, you could not even get in the grounds. It opens selected days in summer only.
The present castle was built by John, 3rd Baron Nevill in about 1360; Sir Henry Vane the Elder, MP, purchased Raby in 1626 and his family still own Raby, now the home of Lord Barnard's family. Raby is one of the finest medieval castles, the grandest medieval kitchen in England which was used 1360-1954, and the magnificent Baron's Hall where 700 knights gathered in 1569; Coach House museum
Adults £9.00 for grounds and castle
The charming ruins of a small monastery of Premonstratensian 'white canons', picturesquely set above a bend in the River Tees near Barnard Castle. Remains include much of the 13th-century church and a range of living quarters, with traces of their ingenious toilet drainage system.
In the care of English Heritage
Bowes castle is in the small village of Bowes, some 8kms west of Barnard Castle.The castle is thought to have been built by Alan, Earl of Richmond, soon after the Norman conquest of 1066 on the site of the old Roman fort, a date of 1087 indicating how strategic the location was to the Normans. It appears to have been involved in considerable conflict over the centuries with reports of it having been besieged as early as 1173 by King William of Scotland. It was apparently so badly damaged as to have required rebuilding in 1187. Around 1216 enemies of King John again besieged the castle, and again in 1322 in a regional feud between Henry Fitzhugh and the then Earl of Richmond. The castle keep we see now stands testimony to the choice of site and the quality of the 1087 construction and 1173 reconstruction.
In care of English Heritage-
The museum lies just outside the town, built in the style of a French chateau, unfortunately we did not have the time to visit this trip.
It has one of the most impressive collections of pictures, ceramics, textiles, tapestries, clocks and costumes in the north of England. The Bowes Museum developed from the collection of John Bowes, Earl of Strathmore, who with his French actress wife Josephine purchased most of the wonderful items displayed in the museum. Sadly both died before the completion of the building in 1892.
We came into town via the County Bridge, an old bridge, built in its current form in 1569 . It lies at the foot of the castle hill. You can park near here for free and walk up to the castle and main town.
Taking its name from Bernard de Balliol, who rebuilt it in the 12th century, the castle stands on a rocky hill overlooking the River Tees.
Unsuccessfully besieged by the Scots in 1216, it was confiscated when John de Balliol, briefly King of Scotland, was deposed by Edward I. It last saw action during the Northern Rising against Queen Elizabeth in 1569, surrendering to 5000 rebels, and was partly dismantled in 1630 to furnish materials for Sir Henry Vane's new Raby Castle.
In the care of English Heritage
Admission Charge -