Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, England

At the second time of trying we actually managed to get into Barnard Castle, during our first visit to the town they were only allowing pre-booked visits for some Covid reason, I think that was taking things a wee bit far given that the entire place is outdoors – and it’s very easy to socially distance. You can see the photos we took of the castle from the outside here. The whole town became sort of notorious during the first pandemic lockdown as Dominic Cummings got himself into a real pickle over his illegal visit there – to test his eyesight.

Anyway, here are some of the photos I managed to take when we were there again in September. The oldest parts of the castle date back to 1093.

Interior of Barnard Castle, Teeside

Interior of Barnard Castle, Teeside

It’s mainly a ruin but there are some massive walls still standing.

Interior of Barnard Castle,Teeside

Interior of Barnard  Castle, Teeside

You can see that the town has been built around the castle, it’s very much in the centre of the town which has the same name as the castle.
Interior of Barnard Castle, Teeside

Interior of Barnard Castle, Teeside

I obviously didn’t take the photo below as that’s me down there!

Interior of Barnard  Castle, Teeside

I did take the photo of the bridge below though. I love old bridges, despite this one being old it is very well used and I had to wait a while before I could get one of it with no cars on it.
Bridge from Barnard Castle, Teeside

If you click on the photo below you will be able to read the information on the board. I’m glad we were able to get into the castle at last – and just about had the entire place to ourselves. I think there was one other visitor there. It felt very safe anyway.
Barnard Castle info Board

Wolsingham, Weardale, County Durham, England

We’ve done hardly any travelling around since Covid so I haven’t been doing much blogging about what I regard anyway as interesting places, and even when we did travel in May – to the County Durham area – I only blogged about one place. So here are a few photos of Wolsingham.

Old Building, Wolsingham

These north of England villages are just as scenic as the Cotswold villages, but I suppose their location counts against them as it’s not a handy journey from London and the south – as the Cotswolds area is. I can’t resist an old church though despite not being at all religious. Below is St Mary’s and St Stephen’s Church.

A Church in Wolsingham

St Mary's and St Stephen's Church, Wolsingham

I think it’s the burial grounds around old churches that I’m really attracted by, strange I know. But some of the gravestones can be fascinating. As you can see there was a lovely cherry tree blooming nearby.

Flowering Cherry, St Mary's and St Stephen's Churchyard, Wolsingham
The church dates back to the 12th century but like so many it was rebuilt in Victorian times, the 1840s for this one. It still looks quite ancient to me though.

St Mary's and St Stephen's Churchyard, Wolsingham

There’s a war memorial of course – there always is, sometimes they’re in the middle of nowhere, or so it seems.

Wolsingham War Memorial

You can read about the pretty wee town of Wolsingham here if you’re interested

Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, England

It’s a couple of weeks since we were down in County Durham for a few days, one of the places we visited was the town Barnard Castle but we didn’t manage to get into the actual castle because strangely English Heritage had a strict booking policy so despite the fact that we are members of Historic Scotland and would have got free entry – we didn’t manage to get in at all. It’s particularly weird as there were hardly any other visitors and as the castle itself is a ruin it’s all in the open air – hopefully we’ll get in there one day. At least we got some photos and had a walk by the river and around the town.

Barnard Castle,County Durham, castle ruin

The castle looms high above the town as you would expect. Of course it has been in the news recently as the place that Dominic Cummings visited to ‘test his eyesight’ when the rest of us were adhering to a strict lockdown and staying very local!
Barnard Castle,Teesdale, Counry Durham, castle ruin

Barnard Castle stitch, County Durham, castle ruin

The castle was founded in the 12th century and is in a lovely position high above the River Tees as you can see below. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the Tees, I love rivers and this one is very scenic in this area anyway and looks unpolluted as far as the naked eye is concerned.

Barnard Castle + Bridge, County Durham, River Tees

You get a good view of the river when standing on the old stone bridge – as you can see.

River Tees, Barnard Castle, County Durham

The town itself is a nice place to visit with interesting looking independent shops – if you’re that way inclined. I only bought a book (surprise surprise) which I got from the Oxfam charity shop.

Beamish Folk Museum, County Durham, England

We are members of lots of arty and historical organisations such as the National Trust, Scottish Heritage, Friends of the Edinburgh Galleries and such AND we got annual passes to Beamish folk museum when we visited there last year, it’s situated near Stanley in County Durham. We were sure we would go back as we had such a good time there but we didn’t manage to get there as planned at Christmas and after the winter it didn’t open because of the Covid-19 situation of course. Anyway it turns out that I didn’t blog about it although I could have sworn that I did. Here are some of the photos I took. In the beginning Beamish was just farmland, you can read about the history of the place here. The buildings have all been moved to the site brick by brick and stone by stone to be saved for posterity rather than being demolished.

Beamish, Church + from waggonway

There are all sorts of buildings there, below is Pockersley Hall which has a lovely chocolate box garden.

Pockersley Hall, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

A teeny wee thatched cottage, this photo was taken from an ancient steam train as we were riding on it.

thatched cottage, Beamish from waggonway

And this is the train we were on, I remember seeing illustrations of a train like this one when I was ‘doing’ the Industrial Revolution at school, I never thought I’d actually have a trip on one!

Puffing Billy and train, Beamish, County Durham

You can go inside all the buildings, a few of them I would quite happily have lived in.

Farm terrace, Beamish, County Durham

Volunteers are on hand, living the life, rolling out pastry or whatever and answering questions.

1930s fireplace, Beamish, County Durham

Actually it all seemed very homely to me as most of the ‘stuff’ was very similar to the furniture that we had had to get rid of when we downsized to a more modern and manageable house – all of six years ago now. I looked at a Victorian bed chest and could have sworn it had been ours! And the gate below is exactly the same as the back gate of the 1930s house that I grew up in, except ours was in better condition and painted rural green.

1930s gate, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

1930s chairs, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

Do you remember those halcyon days when we didn’t have to worry about crowds and social distancing? Below is the queue for the working bakery at Beamish but we didn’t bother to join the queue, it looked like they might run out of stuff to sell anyway! I was really taking the photo of the lovely Edwardian?Victorian window. There’s also an old sweetie shop selling authentic sweets, we DID queue up for that one. Indian Limes anyone? They were delicious.

Beamish, Edwardian  windows,

We hope we’ll be able to visit again – sometime.

Pockersley Hall from road, Beamish, folk museum, County Durham