In the heart of beautiful Teesdale, this 17th-century former coaching house, with connections to…
The Morritt Hotel
“Country house atmosphere”
BARNARD CASTLE, COUNTY DURHAM
Georgian grandeur to the creeper-clad exterior; country house character and contemporary comforts inside; this classic, large coaching inn has commanded a bridge over the River Greta for three centuries. In Victorian times Charles Dickens passed through; he likely based a scene in Nicholas Nickelby here. In the bar, an eye-catching mural of Dickensian characters was painted by 'Guinness' artist Jack Gilroy; the practice of promoting local artists continues, with regularly changing works of art on display. Accommodation is stylish and the award-winning food, is rich with local pickings. Bar meals such as fish pie or braised shoulder of pork are served in the Dickens Bar and Bistro; the more gracious Gilroy's Dining Room has a changing menu which might offer wood pigeon starter followed by hoggit loin, salt-baked leg, wild garlic purée and gnocchi, and mint jus; or sea bass with crispy chicken wing and French peas. Local real ales and a good selection of bins seal the deal.
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About the area
Discover County Durham
County Durham reaches halfway across England, from the North Pennines in the west, to the sea in the east. Much of it is very sparsely inhabited, and is naturally beautiful; a mix of rolling hills, monumental valleys, lush farmland and unforgiving moors. It’s strong on industrial heritage as well, and remnants of the now all-but-vanished mining industry are everywhere.
The City of Durham has a magnificent Cathedral which can be traced back to the establishment of a church in the 10thcentury as the final resting place of the miraculous remains of Saint Cuthbert. The Cathedral, alongside the city’s Castle (an 11th-century structure that now houses University College), were created a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The area’s mining past is fully documented at the Durham Mining Museum; an amazing resource. Bishop Auckland is the other major settlement, and for centuries was run almost as an independent state by the powerful Bishops of Durham. These days it is still a bustling town with plenty of shops, historical interest and events like the annual food festival. The coastal town of Peterlee is unusual; it was set up as a new town to house Durham miners after WW2.
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