Weardale Attractions

book your break through our freetobook accountWe know you’re going to like the accommodation in the Terrace Cottage – and we want to make sure you get the most from your visit to Weardale. So here are some of the highlights of the region, places to visit, walks and activities, mostly within a few minutes distance in the North Pennines. Follow the links for more details on each activity.

North Pennines AONBThe North Pennines

The North Pennines was designated Britain’s first UNESCO European Geopark and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a haven for special wildlife and plants. Weardale cuts through the hills westwards towards the source of the Wear and has created a fertile valley set between the rugged fells. But, when you venture further afield into the fells the landcape opens out and the world expands to lift the soul – Rookhope, nestled in its valley is an ideal base to explore this amazing landscape.

You can see the area in this Google Map

Our two children (aged 4 & 2) had a brilliant time exploring the area and particularly enjoyed the open air swimming pool in neighbouring Stanhope (open May to early Sept). We also enjoyed family days out to nearby Wolsingham (lovely play park), Alston, Durham and Barnard Castle

Some of the local attractions guests have found and enjoyed:

Durham Pocket Guide

Money-saving offers for Durham attractions

Durham CitPrince Bishop Boat tripsy – a visit to the region isn’t complete without a trip to explore the county town. The city has plenty of good shopping and picturesque lanes to explore, on the way through the market place to the World Heritage site, C12 Durham Cathedral, one of Britain’s largest and oldest cathedrals and the heart of the Land of the Prince Bishops and the UK’s top visitor attraction.
Museums, Botanic gardens and more, take a trip on the Wear and see the city from a different angle – its a great day out.

Weardale Railway – volunteer led local railway from Eastgate (on the A689) down to Bishop Auckland. The facebook page gives the latest news; volunteer run services have been run throughout 2014 and the Santa Expresses will run up to Christmas.

Weardale Open Air poolWeardale Open Air Pool – in Stanhope (open from May to September) gets very busy during School holidays!

Durham Dales Centre – in Stanhope Castle Gardens, with crafts shopping and cafes

Harry’s Farm – a family full of animals and a thriving garden centre of British native trees, you and your family can learn about life on the farm for a very low entrance fee.

Local Shows – its always worth fitting in a local village show while you’re holidaying in the Pennines. These are an excellent day out for the whole family, as well as being an opportunity to find out more about the rural way of life in the North Pennines. There’s a handy list on the North Pennines website.


  • Weardale Museum – further up the valley in Ireshopeburn, which is a great resource for local and family history of the area
  • Killhope Wheel museumKillhope Wheel Museum – with the history of the Pennine Lead industry, and voted the “Most Family Friendly Museum”, with exhibitions, under 7s playpark, shop and cafe a great day out in the country for the whole family.
  • Bowes Museum – the amazing French Chateau style house near Barnard Castle, built by the Bowes family to house their collection of art and artefacts including the famous silver swan automaton. Very much worth a visit.
  • Beamish Museum – the North of England Open Air Museum,recently voted one of the top visitor attractions in the UK, is a full day out and more for all ages, with reconstructions of village and town life in the region from the C17 to C20.  With a wonderfully created town, village, C18 farm, chapel, school and colliery, you can enter into life as it was 50, 100 or 250 years ago. Ride on Locomotion and the trams – not a cheap day out but definitely worth a visit! Don’t forget that your entry price includes a full year’s access in the ticket, so if you’re staying with us for a week or more you can go again to see more.
    See the Beamish Museum outline page for more information.

  • The Hub Museum at Alston Goods Shed Trust, Alston, opposite the railway station, with a model railway of Alston in its heyday.
  • Locomotion, the National Railway Museum offshoot at Shildon – see world famous locomotives and enjoy regular events all for free.

Historic Houses and Properties

Many of these are listed on the Castles of Northumbria page

Outdoor activities:High Force in full spate

  • Beamish Wild Adventure Park – Zoom on zip wires, build dens, scale the tree creeper and become a modern day Robin Hood archer.
  • Hamsterley Forest – marked walking routes and mountain bike routes of varying difficulty and durations plus a visitor centre, tearoom, children’s adventure play area (without hamsters!) and mountain bike hire.
  • High Force is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in England, located at Forest-in-Teesdale. This picture shows it December 2015 at its most violently magnificent!
  • Ski WeardaleThe Weardale Ski club may sound unlikely, but most winters sees a good covering of snow further up the dale with 40 days skiing in 2012/13. The club even has a proper ski lift – see more here Skiweardale.com – and just up the dale is Ski-Allenheads – you can sign up for membership on the day – call first for snow news on 01661 860689.Horse Riding in Hamsterley
  • Sinderhope Pony Trekking is not far away at Allendale and you can book a trek with them to add to your experience of the are when staying at the Terrace Cottage by email through their website.
  • Also Field House offers facilities for more experienced riders.
  • Cycling – use our secure storage at Terrace Cottage or hire a bike from Weardale Bike Hire in St John’s Chapel – 01388 537536
  • Golf Clubs in Corbridge or Alston – both 20-30 minutes drive away. Use this link to 2-fore-1golf for discounted green fees. The famous Slaley course is just past Blanchland heading North.
  • Falconry & birds of prey – there are a few centres in the region: Northside Falconry are closs, near Darlington,  Falconry Days just North of Hexham, offers packages for families to meet the birds and fly falcons for yourselves.
  • Fishing: for fishermen, there’s a useful guide on our local Rookhope Inn website, and the Northumbrian Water fishing guide (opens in pdf). Northumbrian Water also offer Fishing lesson sessions as an introduction.
    There is also a guide on Fishpal.com, though booking seems not that easy!
  • Shooting: North East Outdoor Pursuits Centre in Tow Law offers Clay Pigeon shooting, Archery and even Zorbing! Contact tehm on 01388 731 777 as booking is essential.
  • Sailing: Derwent Reservoir Sailing club has a few boats available which can be hired on Sun/Weds/Sats from March to December. See their website for more information and to enquire.
  • Canoeing: For a wetter adventure and paddling your own canoe, the South Tyne and Tees are both listed in the UKRivers site. There is also canoe hire at High Force in the Tees valley, call 01833 622209 for details and permits can be obtained from Raines Ironmongers and the Raby Estate Office in Middleton-in-Teesdale and the High Force Gift Shop in Forest-in-Teesdale.
  • Climbing is also popular in the region with a few local climbs noted on the North Pennines website. There are indoor climbing walls at Barnard Castle Leisure Centre and Wolsingham Sports Hall
  • Wild North Discovery family experiences, nature detectives, bushcraft and more atnatureholiday.co.uk – 01388 529154
  • BirdwatchingGeltsdale RSPB Nature Reserve is open to visitors with three great walks  and information at Stagsike Cottages visitor centre.


There are several venues in easy reach:

  • Horse Racing – at Hexham, Sedgefield and Newcastle
  • Premiership Football – at Sunderland and Newcastle United; lower league clubs in other towns across the region. Locally, West Auckland is still very proud as being the winner of the very first World Cup Final!
  • Cricket – Durham County ground is at Chester-le-Street, plus local village teams across the North
  • Rugby – Newcastle Falcons are the local Premiership side
  • Motor Sport – Croft Raceway is not too far away; and the Kielder Forest Stages are always a thrill in Rally season

Classical Music

Music Room Concert Listings Classical and choral concerts in the region. The main regional venues are the Sage Gateshead, Hexham Queens Hall, Gala Durham, Durham Cathedral and many smaller venues.

Days Out

scotland-trikeFor an adventurous day out, try TrikeTours. Enjoy touring the finest countryside in the North of England on a 1400 cc trike for 2 passengers. Discover our local area and further afield the fun way and in comfort on our powerful 3 seater trike.

For an airborne adventure, Virgin Balloon Flights are available in County Durham, with launch sites depending on the wind direction – from £99 (March to October.

Nearby National Trust and English Heritage properties are listed here.

The area also offer other attractions further afield the Cities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne. Other small charming towns worth taking in include Alston, Nenthead, Allendale, Wolsingham and Middleton in Teesdale.

rookhope map

Chris Tradgett

Virgin Balloon Flight, just £99 from Groupon

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