Raby Castle

Alexander Iles
Raby Castle
Raby Castle

Not far from the North Pennines and Bishop Auckland, Raby Castle is an ancient fortress that has Viking roots. The Great King Cnut (one-time King of England, Denmark, Norway and parts of Sweden, Scotland and Ireland) held the estate and gave them their name, with ‘Ra’ meaning boundary and ‘Bi’ or ‘By’ a settlement in old Danish.

The land was granted to the family that would become the Neville’s, an Anglo-Saxon family who survived the re-allocation of land after the Norman conquests that radically changed England. The Neville’s gained power and quickly became not only one of the most powerful families in County Durham but also in England – with one of the Nevilles, Cecily, being the mother to two Kings of England.

A trip to Raby Castle brings together a medieval fortress and early modern art to create a memorable visit for all the family

However, due to being Catholic, their power faded and had poor relations with both Henry VIII and his daughter Elisabeth, who executed the last Neville. The estate was purchased by the Vanes during Charles I’s reign, who developed it into the modern stately home that can be seen today. Lord and Lady Barnard are the Vanes family who still maintains it today as their seat and is involved in the modern running of the estate.

It is surrounded by two hundred acres of deer park that is still maintained and organised hunts occur during the hunting season, as well as providing beautiful walks in the land around the estate. The Vanes’ decisions in the 18th and 19th centuries to renovate and maintain the house has meant that it truly deserves its Grade I listed status and its interior is incredibly impressive.

Inside the castle, a wide selection of European art from the 17th to the 20th century makes the castle enjoyable for art lovers, well known for its collection and worth a visit. The castle’s team have also started to focus on guided tours of the castle that tell many of the stories that are often overlooked in history. These cover the servants through to the women of the families who owned the castle – including Cecily Neville.

This brings the history to life in a way that is relatable and enjoyable to many, especially considering the success of shows like Downton Abbey that highlight the lives of those who served the families behind the scenes. A trip to Raby Castle brings together a medieval fortress and early modern art to create a very memorable visit for all the family.

Raby CastleStaindropDL2 3AH View map
Telephone: 01833660202 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Tuesday10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Wednesday10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Thursday10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Friday10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Saturday10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Sunday10:00am - 4:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Raby Castle

Plunge with Pride
ActivityKendal and Sedbergh, Cumbria
Kendal Pride: Plunge with Pride

Discover how wild swimming in natural waters can reinvigorate you and leave you set up for the day by taking the plunge this Kendal Pride.

free entry
a large mansion house surrounded by three blocks of colour
Until
ExhibitionsLeeds
Colours Uncovered at Harewood House

Explore colour through an amazing range of artefacts at ‘Colours Uncovered’, a new exhibition at Harewood House, from colour theory and pigment to classical painting and contemporary textiles. from £12.00

Where to go near Raby Castle

Bowes Museum
Durham
Museum
Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum is the North of England’s Museum of Art, Fashion and Design, with a collection that includes art, ceramics and textiles.

Locomotion
Durham
Museum
Locomotion

Locomotion is a railway museum found in Shildon, known as the world’s first railway town, telling the historic story of train travel.

Auckland Project
Durham
Auckland Project

The Auckland Project, former property of the Bishop of Durham, brings to life old land with galleries, museums and open nature spots.

Kynren
Durham
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Kynren

Kynren is an epic outdoor live-action show that takes you through 2000 years of British history via a theatrical story by Eleven Arches.

Auckland Park
Durham
Park
Auckland Park

Next to Bishop Auckland is the refurbished Auckland project which is now internationally famous for Kynren and the Spanish Gallery, but also has a grand and pleasant park attached to the Castle.

Durham
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Evancliffe Leathercraft

Evancliffe Leathercraft have developed a wide range of unique hand crafted leather products special occasions and everyday use.

High Force Hotel
Durham
Hotel
High Force Hotel

Situated in beautiful Teesdale, High Force Hotel is in a picturesque spot surrounded by the beauty of County Durham’s rolling green hills and luscious scenery.

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Capri

Capri serves up homely, family-style Italian food in North Yorkshire.

Low Burnhall
Durham
Park
Low Burnhall

A two miles from Durham city and off the historic Great North Road is Low Burnhall – sixty eight hectares of stunning natural beauty; a wonderful natural woodland that ranges from newly planted trees through to ancient British woodlands.

Hardwick Hall
Sunderland
Hotel
Hardwick Hall

In County Durham, just half an hour from Sunderland, is the beautiful old country hall now converted into a hotel: Hardwick Hall. This award-winning hotel is situated within Hardwick Country Park. The park was refurbished in 1999 at a cost of £4.1 million granted by the heritage lottery fund. This allowed the park to be restored, with many of the buildings, such as the temple of Minerva, restored to the beauty enjoyed in the 18th century.

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