Wolsingham & The Dales Local Attractions
Wolsingham, often referred to as The Gateway to the Dales, is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty about 20 miles South-west of Tyneside, and 15 miles west of Durham City on the A689. A place of historic and scenic interest; a conservation area surrounded by superb open countryside.
The Durham Dales and North Pennines are easily accessible whilst a network of public footpaths, cycle and bridal ways weave through the surrounding fields and countryside following the banks of the Waskerley and the River Wear. Many of these routes are easy to pick up and follow circular routes through local farms and follow up over the rolling hills taking in the beautiful scenery from the fells of both sides of the valley. Weardale provides the setting for a full range of outdoor leisure and country pursuits. An excellent area for walking and cycle hire is locally available. Those interested in Geocaching, please click here for a list of caches in the area.
You may want to visit www.discoverweardale.com for more information and a gallery of pictures.
Despite its peaceful rural location the main regional centres are well within commuting distance:
Bishop Auckland - Bishop Auckland home to Auckland Castle and Kynren - 10.4 miles
Durham City, World Heritage Site - 16 miles
Newcastle Upon Tyne - 26 miles
The Metro Centre, Gateshead - 23 miles
This annual show is run by the Wolsingham and Wear Valley Agricultural Society. Agriculture and manufacturing have always been the life blood of Wolsingham.
Other Local Attractions
Built by the mighty Nevill family in the 14th Century, Raby remained in the Nevill family until 1569 when after the failure of the Rising of the North, the Castle and its lands were forfeited to the Crown. In 1626, Sir Henry Vane the Elder purchased Raby and the Castle has remained in the Vane family ever since.
Auckland Castle has a thousand years of historic connection with England's only prince-bishop: granted exceptional powers by Norman kings, the Bishop of Durham remained virtual monarch in his diocese right up to the 19th century. The castle and its park are at the centre of a wider sacred Christian landscape which may be 1500 years old. They are one of the most important and best-preserved medieval bishops' palaces in all Europe.
Beamish is a world famous museum telling the story of the people of North East England during the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods. Beamish stands in 300 acres of beautiful County Durham countryside. Most of the houses, shops and other buildings you see here have been brought to Beamish, rebuilt and furnished as they once were. Some, such as Home Farm, Pockerley Old Hall and the drift mine were here already.
You won't find objects displayed in glass cases at Beamish, you'll see them in their original context. What's more, you will meet our costumed staff who are proud of their heritage and happy to share their knowledge with visitors.
The Bowes Museum
The Bowes Museum is a hidden treasure, a jewel in the heart of beautiful Teesdale. The magnificent building stands proud in the historic market town of Barnard Castle housing internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts.
The diverse collection spans three floors of the magnificent building and contains items too numerous to list. The Bowes Museum, has received Designated status from the government in recognition of the outstanding collection.
The Killhope Wheel is part of a reconstructed 19th century lead mine located in the upper dale. The mine and its workings are now a museum that showcases the industry that dominated dales life for many centuries.
The lead mining industry of the North Pennines has left a rich legacy of industrial archaeology. This heritage is of national importance, and a number of mining sites and remains have been designated by English Heritage as scheduled ancient monuments.
Durham Castle and Cathedral
Durham Castle, together with the Cathedral, was awarded the status of a World Heritage Site in 1986 providing international recognition for this unique, historic and scenic site. Standing side by side on a prominent hill top site and encircled by the wooded slopes of the meandering River Wear, the Castle overlooks the medieval City of Durham with its fascinating narrow streets.
Durham Castle is a registered museum as well as a vibrant living and working community. It is the home of University College, the founding College of Durham University and over 100 students are resident during term. In view of this, entrance to the public is by guided tour only. The following tour times are a general guide as it is sometimes necessary to cancel tours at short notice due to University or commercial activities.
The Weardale Railway
The Weardale Railway is an 18 mile heritage line running from a connection with the main rail network at Bishop Auckland to Eastgate in Weardale, County Durham, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Currently a 16 mile section of line between Bishop Auckland and Stanhope has been restored for passenger and freight use.
Seasonal passenger trains operate over the 16 mile section between Stanhope and Bishop Auckland. The services to Bishop Auckland West restarted in April 2023 for the first time since 2019 following extensive track maintenance work on the section of line between Wolsingham and Bishop Auckland. There was also a period of training and assessment for staff and volunteers so they can operate trains on the section to Bishop Auckland. In the past mainline excursion trains and rail tours have also visited the railway.
Some others you might find of interest are:
Elven Arches Kynren: http://elevenarches.org/
Discover Weardale: http://www.discoverweardale.com/downloads/Emap.pdf
The Baltic: http://www.balticmill.com/
The Sage: http://www.thesagegateshead.org/
The Discovery Museum: http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/discovery/
Hadrians Wall: http://www.hadrians-wall.org/
Tynemouth Castle and Priory: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/tynemouth-priory-and-castle/