A Visitor's Guide to Raby Castle, Deer Park & Gardens

 This post is an advertisement for August 2021. Any shares / amendments beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. The photos from this post have been taken at various points from 2018-present day. Please always check with Raby Castle for up-to-date information when making plans as this information may have changed. 

A Visitor's Guide to Raby Castle, Deer Park & Gardens

This post will share some information on what you can expect from a visit to Raby Castle. A lovely day out in North East England which is so much more than just a Castle.

It is somewhere I recommend to families with children of all ages - from babies right up to teens and families with grown up / no children too. It is one of those places which is interesting for all generations to visit and somewhere where there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

About Raby Castle 

Raby Castle in County Durham is one of England's finest Medieval Castles. There is so much do see and do across the estate (both inside and out) and with plenty of options for things to do both inside and out, it is a lovely place to visit whatever the weather or season. 

Visitors are spoilt for choice and can enjoy the Medieval Castle, 18th Century Walled Gardens, Deer Park & Estate Walks, Woodland Adventure Playground, Stables Tea Room & Kiosk, Gift Shop and an array of fantastic events across the year. 

You can find out more about opening prices and admission here. At time of publishing, regular day tickets do not need to be booked in advance but I personally recommend this option as it is a little more convenient. If you live close by, an annual pass is a really good investment as the gardens and grounds really change throughout the seasons and there are seasonal events and trails across the year. Raby Castle in Autumn is very different to Raby Castle in Summer but they are both equally as good. 

Raby Castle itself does have limited accessibility due to the historical nature of the building. Parts of the ground floor of the castle and the coach house are accessible to wheelchair users. Pushchairs may be asked to be left (at owners risk) in the entrance hall to the castle itself but the rest of the estate, gardens, deer park and playground are all accessible by pushchair/wheelchair.  

The walled garden, tea room and deer park are accessible and there are accessible toilets & baby changing facilities on site as well as designated disabled parking bays. You can read Raby Castle's Accessibility Statement here. 

The estate is generally pretty flat and there is seating at various points throughout. Dogs on a short lead are welcome in most outdoor areas as well as the covered outdoor seating in the coach yard. Find out more about bringing your dog to Raby Castle here. 

Raby Castle Location 

Raby Castle is located in Staindrop, County Durham. The castle, park and gardens span across 200 acres and offer wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. 

Raby Castle is accessible by public transport. Bus route 84 is the most convenient (find out more here). 

If travelling by car, Raby Castle is easy to find and there is a large free car park on site. Use postcode DL2 3AH. 

Raby Castle Walled Gardens 

I have visited the walled gardens in all seasons and they are always immaculately kept. Hats off to the gardening team who really do a wonderful job at keeping the gardens looking so welcoming. I really enjoy the gardens at Raby Castle and imagine I will visit every year for the rest of my life. 

Expect little paths inviting you to secret corners, water features, bright flowers, herbaceous borders, perfect lawns, trees, landscaping, sculptures and of course, lots of wildlife. It is a lovely place for a walk with friends and family (or to take time out for yourself) and a fab place for kids to run around and explore (supervised of course). The walled garden also hosts regular events and trails across the year. 

You are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens and grounds or there is a takeaway kiosk at the walled garden entrance if you wish to purchase an ice cream or hot/cold drink to enjoy during your visit. Please remember to leave no trace.  

Raby Castle Deer Park 

The Deer Park at Raby Castle is a must-visit for animal lovers. There are several walks to enjoy around the ponds and it is very easy to spot various groups of deer as you walk around the park. The paths here are tarmaced and suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. 

There are herds of both Fallow and Red Deer in the Deer Park, both of which are direct descendents of deer which have been here since Norman times. You can also spot Longhorn Cattle in the same area. 

Obviously, it is very important not to approach the animals. This is not a farm park and feeding or petting the animals is not permitted. Dogs should be kept on a short lead. We always like to find a quiet spot and just stand and watch the nearby deer for a while before moving on. I love watching the Stags and if you are lucky and visit during rutting season, you may witness a spectacular display and even hear them 'roar'.  

During our last visit at the very start of August, we were lucky to spot a baby deer which was very cute indeed. 

If you are looking for somewhere to walk with lots of added interest and beautiful scenery, Raby Castle Deer Park really does fit the bill. 

The deer are easy to see and enjoy with your naked eye but if you have binoculars at home, definitely bring them along for a closer look. 

Raby Castle 

Raby Castle was built in the 14th Century (with some of the exterior walls dating back to the 11th Century). It is a castle with a rich history (which you can read about here) and furnished with art, textiles and furniture dating back to the 17th Century from England and Europe. 

Visitors can enjoy a number of rooms and many rooms feature a guide who can point out interesting objects and share some of the stories of the castle's past which really brings the room to life. 

I love visiting the kitchen and hearing tales of the meals that were made here. I actually wouldn't mind this kitchen in my house now. It's beautiful. 

There is a small chapel within the castle and you can view carriages and various swords and weapons too. 

Will all of the little touches, it really is easy to imagine life in the castle and you really are transported to another era (and for most, kind of life). 

How opulent is this room? Just stunning. A wander around Raby Castle really is memorable and I would recommend adding this experience to your day ticket. 

Don't miss the views from the Castle terrace - sometimes the deer from the deer park come right up to the castle walls. 

Raby Castle Adventure Playground 

There is a lovely enclosed adventure playground just by the car park. It is under a canopy of trees and very sheltered from the weather (we have visited in the rain and stayed dry). There are views of the deer park, castle and a cricket pitch from the playground. 

It isn't huge but there is a nice variety of equipment for all ages including zip wires, climbing tyres, balance beams, swings and nets. It kind of feels like a mini assault course. It gets the thumbs up from my three who all still enjoy it here and don't deem it to be too babyish. Likewise, visiting toddlers seem to have a nice time. Definitely a good all rounder. 

Raby Castle Food & Drink Options 

You are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in Raby Castle gardens, grounds or play area. There are picnic tables available (please take your rubbish home). 

There are also a few dining options on site. First of all, there is this cute little ice cream / drinks kiosk near the garden entrance. This is ideal for grabbing a takeaway drink or ice cream to enjoy in the walled garden. 

There is undercover outdoor seating just beyond the kiosk for kiosk / Stables cafe customers. 

For a more substantial offering, the Stables Cafe offers indoor and outdoor seating. You can expect daily specials, salads. sandwiches, homemade cakes and bakes and a selection of drinks. The cafe is licensed too. We have dined here a few times now and the food is always lovely. Sometimes takeaway picnics / special event deals are available too. 

There is also a lovely shop next to the Stable Cafe with nice/unique local gifts for sale. Definitely worth popping in. 

Raby Castle Trails 

Raby Castle usually run seasonal trails across their garden which are included with admission or available at a small additional cost. Look out for the Halloween Trail which is brilliant. 

This summer, there is a Fairy Tale Story Trail running through the walled garden (and no additional cost) which we all really enjoyed. The trail really encourages you to visit corners of the garden you may usually walk past. The trail is pushchair friendly, you can bring the dog along and it is brilliant for all ages. The garden trail, a hot chocolate from the Stables cafe, a walk around the deer park and a trip to the Adventure Playground is a fab way to spend an afternoon with the family. 

I love that the trails change regularly as it means there is always something new for kids to try. 

Raby Castle Events 

Raby Castle host seasonal events across the year and it is worth signing up to their newsletter to keep in the loop. 

You can take a look at what's coming up at both Raby Castle and High Force here.  Highlights this summer include outdoor cinema, Mr Stink live theatre and a harvest market. 

We attended outdoor theatre in the walled garden a few years ago (Gangsta Granny) and it was really well organised with local takeaway food available and with the castle as a backdrop, it really was a magical setting. 

Other Places to Visit 

Raby Castle is just under half an hour's drive from High Force Hotel and Waterfall. Also an excellent place to visit and somewhere you can read more about here.  You can easily visit both in one day and if you visit on a Sunday, I particularly recommend booking Sunday Lunch at High Force Hotel. It's delicious. 

As a special treat this summer, if you buy a ticket to Raby Castle, Park & Gardens this summer, you will gain FREE admission to High Force Waterfall (parking charges still apply).  See here for more information. 

Top Tips for Visiting Raby Castle 

  • It is free to visit the woodland adventure playground and stables cafe
  • Parking is free 
  • Picnics are welcome in the grounds
  • There are no toilets in the castle. Toilets are situated just past the Stables cafe and shop. It might be an idea to visit before you walk around the deer park 
  • Dogs are welcome on leads in the walled garden, outdoor seating, shop and deer park 
  • Fireside Stories with Santa at Raby Castle is always a popular event. Make sure you sign up to the Raby Castle newsletter to be one of the first to hear about ticket sales
  • Raby Castle gift vouchers make a fab gift for those who are tricky to buy for
  • Remember to give the deer plenty of space 
  • If you are local, an annual pass is definitely worth considering. There are additional benefits including 10% discount on purchases from the Stables Cafe and Shop & free entry to High Force Waterfall (excluding parking) 
  • Under 5s are free and will really enjoy a day out here 
  • At the moment, tickets do not need to be pre-booked for regular visits but you do need to book ahead for special events

I absolutely love visiting Raby Castle and it remains as one of my favourite days out in the North East. It offers such a varied day with a lovely cafe, beautiful walled garden, deer park, castle, adventure playground, shop and more. It is like 5 days out in one! A day out at Raby Castle always feels like a proper day out for us and it is somewhere I would recommend for the whole family to enjoy together. 

Personally, I always like to visit the Castle as well as the gardens and grounds and would always buy the combined ticket - it is worth it. I really think it is one of the best Castles in the whole of the UK, nevermind just the North East. 

Find out more about visiting here: raby.co.uk


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