Explore Teesdale

Explore Teesdale from Doe Park Caravan Site

High Force & The River Tees
High Force Waterfall.

The River Tees begins it's journey at the top of Cross Fell. It makes it's way through Teesdale's stunning scenery of moorland, woods, hills and villages punctuated by the spectacular High Force and the cascades of Low Force.

High Force, in Upper Teesdale is the highest waterfall in England and is well worth a visit. The River Tees plunges dramatically over the Whin Sill to create a mighty spectacle and can be seen from the Pennine Way which passes close by. Surrounded by stunning Teesdale landscape and woodland, Bowlees Visitor Centre is set in a tranquil spot and contains a mass of interesting information about the history, geology, farming culture and wildlife of Teesdale.  Admission to the centre is free and there is ample parking in the donate and display car park, together with an electric car charging point. At the centre there is a wealth of leaflets detailing local walking and cycling routes, including starting points for trails to Low Force and  High Force waterfall. Explore the area around the centre and take a walk up to the magical Gibson's Cave waterfall, children can enjoy an activity trail and during the school holidays the education team at Bowlees offer an exciting programme of outdoor and wildlife inspired activities, including den building, outdoor cookery and harvest events.

Find out more about England's highest waterfall here.

Barnard Castle
The Castle of Barnard Castle.

The 12th Century Castle, perched on rock high above the River Tees in the centre of the vibrant market town of Barnard Castle, is managed by English Heritage and is tucked away behind the main shopping street.

There are plenty of rooms and buildings to explore on the site, not forgetting the carved stone boar above the window in the inner ward.  This was the emblem of King Richard III who was once owner of the castle. Explore the castle, the extensive grounds together with a sensory garden and marvel at the extensive views over the river that have inspired many world renowned artists including JMW Turner. The wide open spaces make the castle a great trip for families with children.

The town of Barnard Castle is home to the Bowes Museum and it's internationally significant collection of treasures and art. The museum has an ever changing programme of exhibitions, family activities and artist led workshops.

Visit Barnard Castle Website.

Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum was purpose-built as a public art gallery for John Bowes and his wife Joséphine Benoîte Coffin-Chevallier, Countess of Montalbo, who both died before it opened in 1892.

It contains paintings by El Greco, Francisco Goya, Canaletto, Jean-Honoré Fragonard and François Boucher, together with items of decorative art, ceramics, textiles, tapestries, clocks and costumes, and objects of local historical interest. Some early works of Émile Gallé were commissioned by Coffin-Chevallier. There is an eighteenth-century Silver Swanautomaton, which periodically preens itself, looks round and appears to catch and swallow a fish. There is also a small café / restaurant in the museum.

Visit The Bowes Museum Website.

Eggleston Hall Gardens
Eggleston Hall Gardens.

Eggleston Hall Nursery & Gardens are often referred to as "The Jewel amongst the Hills" and not without good reason.

The nursery is framed by the Pennine Hills and enclosed within high stone walls. This is a plantsman's garden, a treasure of hardy plants from around the world, some rarer items and old favourites which are propagated and grown at Eggleston by the team of knowledgeable and helpful gardeners. A visit to Eggleston Hall would not be complete without a visit to the Tearooms & Café which offers a tempting array of treats and a seasonal menu using locally sourced produce, The Garden Room Shop stocks a range of unusual and stylish gifts for the home and garden.

Find out more by visiting the Eggleston Hall website.

Raby Castle
View of Raby Castle.

Set in a spectacular deer park Raby Castle was built in the 14th Century and has been home to Lord Barnard's family since 1626.

Join an expert and take a guided tour to visit the stunning castle interiors, marvel at the art collections and see the workings of a medieval kitchen.  There is a beautiful walled garden together with a coach house, complete with a collection of horse drawn carriages.  Children can play in the outdoor activity area and spot the deer that are kept in the 200 acre deer park surrounding the castle. With a café offering tempting homemade snacks, and a gift shop where you can also purchase the home-reared Raby venison, Raby Castle is a fantastic destination in Teesdale for a great day out.  

The castle also hosts many special events throughout the year including an Orchid Show, Seasonal Food Markets, and the famous Santa's Grotto and Raby Christmas Trees at Christmas time.

Visit the Raby Castle website to find out more.

The Upper Dale
Meadow in Upper Teesdale.

Middleton in Teesdale is the gateway to The Upper Dale, a vast area of unspoilt moorland, waterfalls, fells, hay meadows and spectacular Dark Skies.

The petty stone-built  village of Middleton in Teesdale was shaped by the arrival of The London Lead Mining Company in the 1800s and remains little changed. The Pennine Way passes by Middleton and winds by the River Tees and through the dramatic scenery of the Upper Dale and The North Pennines Area of Outstanding National Beauty. The unique geology and landscape around Cow Green Reservoir, Cauldron Snout and Moor House Nature Reserve provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of  rare arctic-alpine flora including the Blue Gentian. The area also provides a nesting and breeding site for the endangered Black Grouse.

There are numerous designated Dark Sky sites in the area which provide opportunities to view the night sky away from the light pollution from our towns and cities. When conditions are right the Milky Way and even the Northern Lights can be viewed with the naked eye.

Visit the North Pennines AONB website to discover more.

To find out more about our Dark Skies click here.