Raby Branching Out with New Adventure Playground
World-class playground designers have started work on our enchanting new children’s adventure play area inside a mysterious forest at Raby Castle.
The project is part of our wider development, known as The Rising, that promises to attract new visitors to the area and create outstanding recreation for the local community.
The bespoke and inclusive playground features a fully accessible boardwalk through our Christmas Tree Plantation, opening a previously inaccessible part of the grounds, as well as three-storey play towers, high-level walkways, tunnels and climbing walls, along with several ground-level play trails and slides.
Our new attraction also has a purpose-built area for toddlers, with mini turrets and lookout decks – conveniently located next to the new split-level café.
The new adventure playground’s build schedule is expected to last a further four months and plans to open at Easter 2022.
Raby Awarded the Visitor Economy Award
This award recognises our role in helping to promote County Durham as a safe and rewarding place to visit, our support of the hospitality and tourism sector and help in sustaining the visitor economy. We were delighted to welcome visitors back to both Raby Castle, Park and Gardens and High Force Hotel and Waterfall as part of our careful and phased reopening, which has prioritised the safety of our staff and visitors. We introduced measures right across our sites to meet government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and we were pleased that this led to us becoming one of the first tourism destinations in County Durham to be awarded Good to Go status by VisitEngland.
Update on Storm Arwen from Raby Estates
Following the storm, many parts of the Raby Estate in County Durham are still without power or connectivity.
Our team have been working tirelessly to assess the damage and to prioritise the reinstatement of water supplies, along with identifying vulnerable people within our community.
Local Heroes Break Ground on the Rising Development
Work has started on a significant development at Raby Castle, that promises to attract new visitors to the area and create outstanding recreation for the local community.
Known as The Rising, the work will include the significant restoration and rejuvenation of several historical buildings on the estate, the creation of a new café and events space as well as a bespoke children’s adventure playground, which will be in the first phase of the two-year construction programme.
Lord and Lady Barnard welcomed local stakeholders and special guests eight-year-old Ryan Chidzey from Gainford CE Primary and Preschool and eight-year-old Charlotte Hawke from the Federation of Abbey Schools in Darlington, who are the joint winners of a competition to find young local heroes to break the ground and open the site to construction workers.
Kick Off Christmas with Raby Castle
Raby Castle is kicking off its festive season with an exclusive Christmas Shop launch evening. From 5 – 7:30pm on 4 November, early bird Christmas shoppers will be welcomed into The Stables Shop to browse the extensive range of quality gifts, stocking fillers and delectable range of Raby produce. Guests can enjoy an exclusive 10 percent off all purchases on the night and a complimentary glass of fizz or mulled wine, to get into the Christmas spirit.
The Stables Café will also be open for the evening, serving a range of delicious food and beverages. The Castle itself will be lit up for the occasion and if guests keep their eyes peeled, they might even see Father Christmas himself making a special appearance.
Raby to Restore Historic Tower with Award from Historic England
A grant from Historic England has been awarded to Raby Estate for important repairs to Raby Castle’s historic 14th century Keep Tower, and the 19th century clock faces and sundial. The Keep is one of Raby’s nine towers, located in the centre of the castle. In the medieval period the base of the Keep incorporated access to the castle’s well, and the tower protected this important source of fresh water. Above ground, each floor provided levels of living accommodation for members of the powerful Nevill family and their retinue.
Raby Castle Launches Search for Young ‘Hero’ to Officially Launch the Rising Development
Wednesday 20th October, 2021
A competition has been launched to find a local community ambassador, to join the team in officially opening construction on Raby Castle’s significant leisure development scheme, The Rising, next month. The Castle has engaged with a number of schools in the local area to invite children in years four and five the chance to enter the competition.
Young local ‘heroes’ are being invited to submit a short nomination as to why they – or a friend or family member – deserve to be chosen. It could be that they have raised money for local charities or provided support and help to the community during the pandemic or done something exceptional for their school or even their family.
The lucky winner, who will be between eight and ten-years-old, will be selected by a panel of judges at Raby Castle and invited to officially launch the start of work on the bespoke children’s adventure playground – the first phase of work to begin on the multi-million-pound development, The Rising.
Historic Gainford Hall Hits the Rental Market
A truly unique opportunity has arisen for a long-term tenancy let at the impressive Elizabeth manor, Gainford Hall. The remarkable property is currently undergoing extensive renovations restoring the let to the highest standard whilst maintaining many of its historic features. The beautiful Hall steeped in history will make the perfect bespoke home for a future tenant.
Raby Team Undertake Climb of Life for Charity
Friday 8th October, 2021
The Raby Estates team, along with their friends and family, are once again undertaking the annual Climb of Life challenge to raise money for the Institute of Cancer Research by participating in a “Human Mountain Endeavour” on the Lakeland fells on Friday 5th November.
One third of us will be touched by cancer in our lifetime. The Institute of Cancer Research is a charitable academic working body with over 300 scientists and has taken more drugs into clinical trials in the last decade than any other organisation worldwide. We are therefore proud to be supporting such a worthy cause once again this year.
Double the Trouble at Raby as it Offers Two Halloween Experiences
Raby Castle is offering not one, but two Halloween experiences this October half term, providing even more fang-tastic fun for families to enjoy. From Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October, the Walled Garden will be transformed with a spooky Halloween trail.
Upon arrival, guests can pick up an activity sheet from the creepy Coach House and enter the gardens on a spine-tingling quest to see what hidden creatures and woodland sculptures can be discovered. Families will need to brave the scary spiders and beware of the witch’s cauldron on the hunt for clues to complete the puzzle.
For those who are looking for an eerie evening this Halloween, Raby will also be hosting a spine-tingling after dark session on both Friday 29th and Saturday 30th October*, where guests are encouraged to come in their most spooktacular outfits.
As the sun begins to set across the grounds, the magical inhabitants of the Walled Garden take on a spirit all of their own. Scary spiders, spooky witches and grisly wolves can be found lurking as families collect a series of creepy clues along the way on this hair-raising adventure in the dark – before heading to the Coach Yard to warm up with a well-deserved mug of hot chocolate.
Raby Shines a Light on Local Producers at its Harvest Seasonal Market
Raby Castle is celebrating food and craft producers from the local area and everything they have to offer, at its harvest seasonal market.
On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th August, a handpicked collection of artisan suppliers from across County Durham will offer an array of delicious food, stunning crafts, and beautiful gifts within the backdrop of one of England’s finest medieval castles.
Some of Raby’s own seasonal produce will also be showcased and available to purchase including home-reared Longhorn beef bred on the Estate. Alongside this, the Raby Park reared venison, providing the most delicate and tender cuts.
Raby will be serving takeaway food and drink to enjoy whilst browsing through the different market stalls, and the Stables Café will also be open for guests to enjoy lunch.
Lord Barnard Announces Ambitious Development Plans at Raby Castle
Wednesday 28th July, 2021
After standing as a landmark within County Durham for the last 700 years, Raby Castle announces significant investment to enhance the visitor experience of the Castle, Park and Gardens, securing it as an important resource for the local community.
The ambitious plans for a two-year major development programme, which were passed by Durham County Council in December last year, will restore and preserve historic buildings within the park and gardens, which have been without purpose for decades.
Raby Castle to Offer More Than Ever Before With Its Biggest Summer Programme
With the school holidays on the horizon, Raby Castle – which is set in 200 acres of parkland in the heart of County Durham – has launched its biggest summer schedule yet, packed full of activities for all the family to enjoy.
Taking place between 19th July and 5th September, a magical fairy tale story trail will see imaginations run wild in the stunning Walled Gardens, as visitors search high and low for enchanted objects from much-loved folk tales.
Dotted around the beautiful rose gardens and majestic yew hedges, a huge array of magnificent wicker structures – including a giant, a wolf, a glass slipper and a frog prince – will be there for all to find, taking inspiration from iconic fairy tale stories.
The story trail is included in the admission price to the castle, and children will receive a complimentary activity sheet upon arrival with a story trail puzzle to solve – those who do will receive a prize at the end.
The popular outdoor theatre and cinema is also returning to Raby this summer, so guests can sit back and relax in the stunning grounds of the castle as they watch their favourites on stage and on the big screen – from family blockbusters to award-winning musicals – including 1917, featuring scenes filmed at Raby itself.
A private restorative relaxation session, Serene Sunday, is taking place in the Walled Gardens on Sunday 25th July, and Raby’s harvest seasonal market is returning on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th August, featuring treats, gifts and produce from handpicked suppliers.
Alongside all of this, there’s Raby Castle itself to discover, which is one of the most impressive intact castles in the North of England, and visitors can spend hours exploring the park – where herds of red and fallow deer roam wild.
Looking to the Future: A Community Message from Raby Estates
19th March 2021
As you may know, we recently received planning permission from Durham County Council for the development at Raby Castle of a world-class tourism and leisure facility and for the delivery of housing in Gainford and Staindrop. While there has been a very positive response to our proposals, we understand there is a variety of public opinion over our housing development plans.
Raby Estates continues dialogue with Parish Councils over development plans
8th March 2021
Raby Estates announced that it is seeking further talks with communities in Gainford and Staindrop over proposals to create a landmark tourist and visitor attraction at Raby Castle.
The estate was granted planning permission in December to build 151 homes in Gainford and Staindrop to enable the tourism development which will cost in the region of £16 million. The parish councils in the two villages supported the redevelopment at Raby Castle but opposed the housing development. They are now trying to raise funds for a judicial review of the planning decision.
Duncan Peake, chief executive of Raby Estates, said he had written to both parish councils requesting the opportunity of further engagement. Copies of the letters are available to view below.
Duncan said: “During the public consultation late last year, the majority of residents supported the housing and the tourism development which will provide a real economic boost to the area.
“Some villagers in both locations have raised points of detail about the housing development proposals and we are keen to discuss those further with the communities as well as the parish councils.
“The proposed housing is designed by a leading and nationally-recognised architect and we have gone to great lengths to ensure that the scheme is sympathetic to the heritage of both villages. We are anxious that the support this has received from thorough public consultation continues to be reflected in the local public debate over the proposals. We have written to both parish councils today and hope to be invited to contribute to a special meeting of Gainford Parish Council this week.
“We will spare no effort in trying to find a resolution to any local concerns. The cost of a judicial review would be very substantial for all concerned and if there is a solution to be found then we will do everything we can to help achieve it. We are grateful for the widespread support we have received to date. At the Gainford public consultation: 69% of feedback form responses were in favour of new housing in the village; 97% were supportive of our proposals to restore Gainford Hall; and 82% were in favour of the proposals to the castle.”
Pedestrian Access to The Plains for Staindrop Residents
The area of Raby owned land known as the Plains to the east of Staindrop has for some years been made available as a pedestrian access area for the benefit of Staindrop residents.
In recent weeks we have received a number of complaints regarding the use of this area. We are therefore intending to erect signage at the entrance to the Plains to ensure those visiting the area are aware of the terms upon which the access area may be used.
Please note that the access area is also to be extended further east to the West Side Farm cattle grid. We hope this will enhance the enjoyment of this area by local residents.
Updated coronavirus information for Raby Castle and High Force Hotel & Waterfall
Updated 12th January 2021
Our outdoor spaces at Raby Castle are open for local visitors and annual pass holders to exercise safely.
High Force Waterfall, and High Force Hotel and refreshment kiosk are closed at this time.
Tenants who need to contact the Estate Offices for whatever reason should do so in the normal way.
Raby Estate Office, Co Durham – 01833 660888
For further information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit our Coronavirus page.
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