The redevelopment at Raby Castle is offering a destination with a difference if you’re looking for lively events, magical gardens, great food and centuries of history in one place. Opening this June, it’s the perfect venue for a day out this summer.

Known as The Rising, the redevelopment of Raby Castle has been just that. Propelling the historic County Durham jewel to the next level by retaining the history and heritage of the castle and its gardens, the project has seen event, dining, and retail spaces added, plus a dedicated upgrading of the extensive gardens. Poised as a new must-visit destination in the north of England, Raby Castle now offers a range of experiences in one location, making it the perfect mix of adventure, downtime, leisure, and escape. Centuries of history have also been maintained with exacting precision, as the estate’s owners and residents, Lord and Lady Barnard, led the redevelopment.

Lady and Lord Barnard, owners of Raby Castle.

‘For several years we have been working to restore the historic buildings at Raby Castle where our family have been living for the past 400 years. It is an ambitious project that we are hugely excited about launching to visitors who know and love Raby, as well as visitors new to the area,’ says Lady Barnard.

Begin your visit at the Round House, a newly constructed building that will be a ticketing and information reception where you can discover all that can be enjoyed at Raby Park, Gardens, and Castle as well as the wider estate, including High Force Waterfall, one of the most stunning in England. The building takes inspiration from a simple but beautiful field barn sited close to the castle. Its surroundings are all tied together by landscaped gardens designed by award-winning North Yorkshire-based landscape architect Alistair Baldwin.

Garden of Dreams

Exquisite landscaping guides you around the estate as you meander through thoughtfully designed gardens on your visit to Raby Castle. The historic 18th-century Walled Garden has been remodeled by world-renowned designer Luciano Giubbilei, alongside Lady Barnard. The Walled Garden already houses some magnificent heritage features, which will be retained, including the elephantine yew hedges running north to south along the south-facing slopes of the five-acre garden.

The Rising development is set in the backdrop of Raby Castle

Each generation at Raby has made their own alterations to the garden, and Lady Barnard seeks to continue this brave, visionary role by working with Giubbilei to craft a sensitive, romantic scheme to celebrate the garden’s existing features.

The Walled Garden comprises the East, Formal, and West Gardens as well as a new grass amphitheater set in the lower part of the East Garden, which will host a program of outdoor productions. In this space, Raby has created a beautiful place for the local community and visitors to enjoy all year round.

Combining History and Heritage

The historic listed buildings known as The Dutch Barn and The Riding School, previously hidden from public view, were originally the working buildings servicing the ancient castle but had fallen out of use. Over the past two years, they have been lovingly restored using traditional skills and materials sourced from the estate.

The Dutch Barn (pictured here during the renovation) has been restored to its former glory as a new venue

The Dutch Barn is one of Raby’s best-kept secrets, which is an unbelievable achievement given its size. A remarkable piece of architecture, this open, arcaded building will provide an elegant venue for events and activities, including regular seasonal markets for which Raby is well known.

Previously hidden from view, the newly developed route will allow visitors to access The Dutch Barn for the very first time and admire its architectural features, from the exposed beams to the intriguing design of the ventilation stacks that would originally have been used for drying hay. Elsewhere, the magnificent grade-II listed Coach House, designed by renowned architect John Carr in the 18th century, will now offer a free exhibition to allow visitors to delve deeper into Raby’s rich history and the picturesque Teesdale landscape.

Family Friendly

The Vinery Restaurant is set in a beautiful recreation of the historic glass house that once stood on the same spot, with panoramic views across the High Vinery garden towards Raby Castle. Embracing the seasonal flavors that the garden once again provides, a changing daily menu will be served indoors or outside, so you can enjoy the charming, sophisticated space and look out over the estate in all weathers. Not forgetting the little ones, there is much to see and do for younger adventurers too.

The 200-acre deer park surrounding Raby Castle is home to both red and fallow deer.

The Plotters’ Forest, already launched in April 2022, is a firm favorite with Raby’s younger audience. Designed to complement the story of Raby Castle, it offers imaginative, creative, and outdoor play for children aged 4-10 years old.

As Lady Barnard says: ‘We genuinely feel Raby now has something for everyone – from its unique history and collections in the Castle to the stunning parkland and Deer Park, Plotters’ Forest woodland adventure playground, and full events program. We hope all our visitors will enjoy everything it has to offer.’

For more information and to plan your visit, head to the Raby Castle website here!