Special interactive tours of the Castle for children were introduced for the first time this year at Raby, led by Mike our Friendly Footman. They have been a huge hit with families and they are back again for October Half Term 2019. We caught up with Mike to find out what visitors can expect from these fun events.

How are the children’s tours different to other tours of the Castle?

They are not a history lesson – although there will be plenty of tales from the past. These are fun events, full of activities and laughter. Time flies for the adults and the children and there is a chance for everyone to have a go at each activity, whether that’s sitting in the stocks or being knighted.

What will families see on the tour?

We start off in the coach house with the carriages and then walk up to the castle. Before we even go inside the gates there is plenty to talk about as we walk past the moat and through the gatehouse. There might even be a chance to play bows and arrows before exploring inside, where nobles and knights once lived.

Are you in character as Mike the Footman?

I am definitely not in character. If I was playing the role of footman I wouldn’t be able to identify with the children and their modern world. I can tell them how things were different back then when apps, phones, gadgets and games consoles didn’t exist. The costume adds to the sense of fun and makes me easy to spot as we make our way round the Castle.

What about the adults?

Children must be accompanied by an adult on the tour so I make sure I don’t leave them out. The activities are geared towards children and are most suited to 4 to 8-year-olds but I include enough interesting information for the adults to make sure they leave feeling that they’ve had a good time and learnt something too.

What is the most popular thing about the tours?

Children love all the activities and I find that a bit of toilet humour always goes down well with the children. They are fascinated by the horrors of medieval sanitation! Above all, I think it’s the fact that its light-hearted and interactive. I make sure I have fun and that means everyone else does too.

How to book

Children’s Tours of the Castle are available on selected dates during October Half Term 2019. The Castle will be closed to the public during October and November and will only be open for pre-booked Children’s Castle Tours and Behind the Scenes Tours.  To book a place on either of these events visit https://www.raby.co.uk/raby-castle/whats-on/.

To find out what other tours are on offer visit our Guided Tours page.

The reason Upper Teesdale is so famous for its spectacular waterfalls dates back nearly 300 million years. Molten volcanic rock solidified to create the Whin Sill, a thick sill of dolerite which is still a feature of the North East landscape to this day, resisting erosion and channelling the River Tees over steep drops, gentler slopes and stepped surfaces. This unique landscape is part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a UNESCO Global Geopark.

High Force

By far the most dramatic waterfall in Upper Teesdale – and one of the most impressive in the whole of the UK – is High Force. The River Tees drops 70ft over the falls, crashing into the pool below. Thousands of visitors descend the maintained woodland walk at High Force every year to enjoy the stunning scenery. In high season there is a kiosk selling refreshments and ice creams and there are plenty of pretty picnic spots.

High Force is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there is plenty here to satisfy bird watchers and nature lovers. Juniper bushes, grey wagtails, black grouse, wild pansies and blue gentian are just some examples of the wildlife to look out for.

Low Force

At just 18ft, Low Force may not be as tall as High Force but it is still a beautiful waterfall in a peaceful natural setting. It is possible to walk from High Force to Low Force along the Pennine Way. It takes about half an hour and is just under two miles.

Summerhill Force

Walk from Bowlees Visitor Centre, follow the Bow Lee Beck to Summerhill Force for about half a mile. Summerhill Force is a very pretty waterfall in a wooded glade with a recess in the rock behind it which is known as Gibson’s Cave.

Cauldron Snout

Upstream from High Force is Cauldron Snout which is one of the longest waterfalls in Britain, stretching for around 180 metres. Cauldron Snout is on the Pennine Way and is just under two miles from Cow Green Reservoir.  The water cascades through a long channel in the rock, tumbling onwards towards High Force.

Visiting and staying

Extend your visit to the Geopark and its waterfalls by staying in Upper Teesdale. High Force Hotel is just next to the High Force waterfall. Book now.

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