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15 Incredible Durham Castles You Should Visit

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The Durham castles are fascinating to visit. Each with its own unique appearance and history, when visiting Durham you should definitely take a trip to see some of the Durham castles. But what is so interesting about these castles? Read on to find out…

The Durham castles

  Durham castles

Durham is an iconic place in the North East of England that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The city is known for its cathedrals, castles, Roman Remains, and beautiful historic buildings.

The Durham castles and fortified houses punctuate the Durham landscape as evidence of the ancient city’s rich history. The most impressive are those built on high ground with commanding views over their surroundings.

In this article, you can have a sneak peek at the popular scenic Durham castles with exciting details that will force you to plan your visit soon. Some of the renowned historical Durham castles are as follows…

1. Brancepeth Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Brancepeth  Castle, situated on the River Wear in County Durham, is one of the most impressive Durham castles in Northern England. It was built by Bulmers and later owned by the Neville family for 400 years. Brancepeth castle has been granted to multiple owners and now comes under the ownership of the Dobson family.

The present ruins are of medieval construction, although there are some later additions. They include a large tower with a mural stairway and an ancient gatehouse. The walls are still intact and can be seen from various points around the site.

The massive castle is worth the visit if someone plans a trip to Durham. From a dreamy wedding set up to fascinating tours, it has everything a person can desire. The craft fairs, musical events, and theater performances make the place unique for the people. You can also enjoy a self-catering night holiday package with your partner other than public events.

2. Durham Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Durham Castle is a typical medieval castle situated in the heart of Durham city. It was built in the 11th century following a motte-and-bailey design just after the Norman conquest of England.

These historical remains have been extensively restored and altered over the centuries and still retain much of their original character.

The castle is a part of world heritage and has been used for different purposes over the years. It has a museum that describes the entire history and displays Roman finds from nearby Billingham, revealing the traditional norms.

Durham castle offers guided tours of 45 to 50 mins, impressive collections, and fun exhibitions to the general public. Not just that, the tours are free for teenagers and students of Durham university.

The magnificent castle is close to the Cathedral and County Hall, making it easy for guests to get around the city. It is a great place to explore if you want to see what life was like during medieval times.

3. Lumley Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Lumley Castle is a 14th-century rectangular building between Durham city and Newcastle. The four-star unique Lumley hotel seems a perfect venue for celebrations, luxury dining, weddings, and leisure breaks. It was previously a manor house of Ralph Lumley that was converted into a castle named after him.

Lumley Castle hotel is set in landscaped gardens and grounds with extensive views across the countryside to the Cheviot hills. It is a popular attraction in Durham and gives the best travel experience to visitors.

The castle is beautiful, with rooms that have been renovated to reflect its history and the time period it was built. There are also plenty of other things to do at Lumley Castle, like exploring the grounds or taking a guided tour through the castle’s halls.

4. Auckland Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Auckland Castle,  also known as Bishop castle or Auckland palace, is a unique tourist spot with a rich history of 2000 years as a former home of Prince Bishop Durham. The place is famous for its elegant artwork, heritage galleries, and marvellous collections.

The Auckland project is full of stunning attractions, including the Mining Art Gallery, Wallen Garden and Deer Park, Spanish Gallery, Auckland tower, etc.

The renowned Auckland tower is a visitor center for people and gives a complete overview of the Bishop’s history. Similarly, the antique Mining Art Gallery allows you to explore coal miners’ creativity, lives, and craftsmanship.

The Spanish Gallery is another historically created wonder that reveals Spanish art through the exhibition of phenomenal works of Spanish artists.

5. Barnard Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Barnard is one of the most remarkable Durham castles to visit in Durham city, England, founded by Barnard de Balliol and named after him. It sits on a hilltop above the River Tees and is famous for its incredible views.

Consider visiting Barnard castle if you want a perfect day out with a family. Here you can discover the scenic countryside regions that offer a lot to visitors. There are also some restaurants and cafes in the town center where you can refuel before setting out again at nightfall.

Moreover, people can explore Bowes museums, the Richard Bower emblem, and extensive lawns containing fruitful trees on the city’s edge.

6. Bowes Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Bowes Castle is among the ruined Durham castles in the village of Bowes, located on the outskirts of the Roman Fort of Lavatrae in County Durham, England. The fort has been designated by English Heritage as one of Britain’s best-preserved medieval castles and a popular tourist attraction visited by people each year.

It is a three-story tall building with a modern staircase that takes the people to level 1. Visiting the place during daylight hours is recommended as it’s free during day time. Moreover, the castle seems haunted at night and has foreboding sights, so it’s better to avoid paying visits at night.

This ancient castle is worth visiting for history lovers and people interested in ancient monuments.

7. Witton Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Witton Castle is a medieval castle in Witton, a city suburb near Bishop Auckland in Durham. It is one of the most beautiful grounds in Northeast England’s foothills of the peninsulas.

The castle is considered the best spot and a holiday home with all the facilities, including bars, cinemas, luxurious lounges, spacious dining rooms, and immaculate bedrooms. Furthermore, you can get private parking, expansive patios, continuous electricity, and whatnot.

The castle also has some breathtaking views and must-see places nearby. The Witton Castle park around the fort is the best to enjoy the beauty of nature, where you can unwind yourself from stress by seeing the greenery and breathing in the fresh air.

8. Scargill Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Scargill Castle is one of the most beautiful sights in the Tessdele landscapes near the Yorkshire Dale and Lake District National Park. Warren de Scargill constructed it in the 12th century as a three-story gatehouse with external artistic stairs leading to the wonders around the central courtyard that were later ruined.

Recently, the place has been converted into a beautiful resort combined with the chronological age and modern comfort of the 21st century. You can experience food, treats, and wine on your arrival, while the accommodation facilities include spacious dining and cozy living rooms, equipped kitchen, a sunny entrance hall, and private parking.

You have the option to book the coziest spot for your upcoming holidays in advance to enjoy every bit of your time in such a serene environment.

9. Bishopton Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Bishopton Castle is a historic wonder found in Bishop village of Durham, England, built during the early 12th century by Roger De Conyers. The castle was built in a “half-timbering” style which uses a mixture of stone and timber.

It was one of the best medieval Durham castles constructed on motte and bailey design, having two fortified baileys and a 25 feet wide moat around. The interior of the castle has been altered over time, but some of its original features remain intact. Moreover, the promenade also accessed an artificial lake.

The monument has great ancient value making it the best tourist attraction for visitors. You can plan an adventurous trip to Bishopton castle, discover the historic edge of the place, and do fun activities like bicycle rides along the roadside.

10. Cotherstone Castle

15 best Durham Castles

The Cotherstone Castle is a 12th-century motte and bailey castle in the village of Cotherstone in North Yorkshire, England. The castle was built on a rocky outcrop at the eastern end of the town, commanding a fine view across the valley of the River Tees.

Cotherstone castle’s remains include traces of a probable fish pond, an earthbound, and a ruined wall fragment.

The castle is open to the public and includes a museum exhibition about the local area’s history. It serves as the finest tourist attraction for visitors from around the world.

11. Lambton Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Lambton Castle is one of the most famous Durham castles and historical sites in the North East England of County Durham that lies between Washington and Chester-le-Street. George Lambton (one-time Governor General of Canada) constructed the castle over 1000 acres of Woodland.

The ancient monument has a Lambton park with high wall borders surrounding the castle and is supposed to be the perfect attraction for annual shoots. Moreover, people can rent the place for different occasions. For a permanent stay, rental opportunities are also available.

12. Walworth Castle

15 best Durham Castles

The Walworth Castle Hotel is a Grade I Listed building at Walworth near Darlington. It is described as one of the most beautiful castles ever built in England and is now a hotel with 18 acres of Woodland. The monument is an ideal accommodation for conferences, matrimonial events, and other celebrations with customized settings.

It’s a historic hotel with modern amenities and features. The rooms are well-designed, extremely comfortable, and well-maintained. Moreover, the dining options are excellent, with ideal menus and delicious meals prepared by skilled chefs. The staff is friendly and hospitable and provides exceptional services.

So, if you’re looking for a combination of historic and modern sites, this is the best choice for your next stay.

13. Maiden Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Maiden is an Iron Age hillfort among the best Durham castles situated near the Southeast of Dorchester in Durham city. It has been depicted as “the finest example of all that survived in an early medieval motte-and-bailey castle.” However, it is now considerably more extensive than it originally was.

The place is surrounded by remains of earthwork and evergreen trees that exhibit a lush green look making it a beautiful tourist attraction for visitors. The entrance is not specific; however,  people assume it to be at the northern or extreme southern end.

 The site always remains open for visitors, excluding the high-risk area responsible for erosion.

14. Hylton Castle

15 best Durham Castles

The Hylton Castle is a 14th-century manor house founded by Sir William Hylton. It is one of the few properties to survive the medieval period and a unique place to visit in Durham. Additionally, the castle is not the same as in primitive times and has been modified from inside and outside. You can have classic eyeshots and multiple facilities during your stay.

The fort is a decorative four-storeyed rectangular gate tower consisting of a great hall, courtyard, barn, and kitchen, per the revelations. Moreover, it’s a well-accommodated place for families and ideal for events, celebrations, and meeting exhibitions.

You can pre-book the guided tours for special days. So if you are looking forward to an enticing day tour, get your slots reserved earlier.

15. Ravensworth Castle

15 best Durham Castles

Ravensworth is a quadrangular castle of 14th century Grade 1 listed building by English Heritage. It is one of the most famous Durham castles and tourist attractions in North Yorkshire that comes under the country’s most amazing landmarks.

The massive castle is a three-story tower of sandstone connected by curtain walls. The grounds are home to many impressive trees and shrubs, including yews, cedars, and firs; there are also mature specimens of plane trees around the main courtyard area.

You can book a travel tour to discover the antiques and plan fun activities visiting the nearby areas.

To Conclude- Durham Castles

Durham has a rich history and offers some of the best attractions in the country. The city has extensive art stories, places, and people, from ancient ruins to modern interests. However, historic Durham castles hold particular importance for the residents and tourists.

Overall, visiting Durham castles and its surrounding areas is the ultimate fun and learning experience.

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