Skip navigation | Site Map |

 Bowlees Visitor Centre

Your North Pennines Adventure Starts Here!  

Run by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, this former Methodist Chapel has become a hive of activity since it reopened in 2013, offering something for enquiring minds of any age.

Bowlees Visitor Centre is open 7 days a week from 10a.m until 5p.m.

From September 28th our winter opening hours will be 10a.m - 4p.m.

The centre will close on Sunday 1st November but will re-open for a special Christmas shopping weekend 7th and 8th November and a Winter Wonderland weekend 5th and 6th December.


Acres of accessible countryside, miles of quiet rural roads, an abundance of wildlife and one of the best places in the UK to enjoy the night sky are just some of the reasons why you should make the North Pennines AONB a place to discover and explore in 2015.

Situated amidst stunning woodland in Teesdale, next to Low and High Force waterfalls, and surrounded by rolling fields boasting some of the best hay meadows in England, Bowlees Visitor Centre has all you need to make your visit to the North Pennines a memorable one.

Outdoor enthusiasts can make the most of the vast expanse of unspoilt land and sky by exploring on foot or wheels, or by simply sitting back and soaking up the scenery. We have booklets for self-guided walks, bike rides and nature-spotting, so you can explore at your leisure.


At Bowlees Visitor Centre, children can get to grips with nature through a range of hands-on events - inside and out - that focus on learning, living and most importantly, laughing.

Our school trips, birthday parties and special events are designed to engage, educate and entertain young people, whether they are feeling adventurous or creative.


Throughout the school summer holidays Bowlees Visitor Centre will be buzzing with excitement and adventure every Wednesday! Click on the events link below to see what each new week will have to offer.


Birthday Parties

Bowlees is an ideal place to celebrate a birthday. If you would like a birthday party with a difference - with a range of activities and food included - Bowlees is the place for you. Activities can include campfire cookery, or pizza making in our wood fired oven, as well as river dipping, bug hunting and fossil making.


Upper Teesdale provides a wealth of opportunities for learning outside the classroom.

Events in 2015

Throughout the year we have lots of events that take their inspiration from the landscape and our art gallery hosts exhibitions from a range of artists who live in and around the North Pennines.


With emphasis on local suppliers and gifts inspired by the landscape, Bowlees Visitor Centre's Gift Shop has plenty of choice for the perfect gift for family, friends or even yourself!


Wilden Grange - Weardale Cheese - Teesview Honey - Cumberland Mustard - Upper Teesdale Lamb - Wellybix


Ellie Langley - Caroline Mann - Castle Keepsakes - Rosie Bee - Jewellery by Sarah


Kate Broughton - South Durham Honey - Maggie Smith - Two Hearts - Rosie Bee - Melvyn Gibbons - Caroline Mann - Andrea Holmes - Sally Walkinshaw

We are always looking for new producers to come on board at Bowlees Visitor Centre. So if you live in or around the North Pennines, or you think your work fits into our centre, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.


At Cafe1618@Bowlees you can sample some of the finest local produce from the area, including famous Upper Teesdale lamb and Cotherstone Cheese.

The café serves a wide selection of mains and desserts, including our very popular homemade cakes and scones - the perfect post-walk sustenance.

And if you want to take in the scenery, and enjoy the local bird life while you eat, we have picnic tables throughout the centre's beautiful grounds.


Our private mezzanine-level meeting room offers plenty of space, making it ideal for business meetings and corporate events. And our range of outdoor activities provide perfect team building opportunities.

And if your company, or group, wants to get involved with hands-on nature conservation, we can arrange it for you. Whether you want to build bird boxes or do ground work, we can always find you a job that will help to make nature count!

Pizza Oven Hire

Did you know that our wood fired pizza oven is available for hire? Call us to discuss prices and packages. We can also hire out butter and cheese making equipment and an apple press. Contact us for more details


A mezzanine gallery provides an exhibition space for local artists and photographers to display their work.

Artists change regularly and the centre is currently booked up until summer 2016! But we are always looking for more artists to display their work in our refurbished chapel. 

As well as displaying the work we also stock a wide range of art cards, prints, sculptures, pottery and other crafts.

Current artists include - Kate Broughton - Andy Beck - Martin Rigers - Simon Wilson - Trevor Craggs - David and Louise Gibbon - Anne Whitfield - Graeme Stark - Anne Mason - Paul Morgan Clarke - Caroline Mann - Nick Ramsay - Andrea Holmes - David Williams - Wendy Sparks


Landscape lovers, wildlife watchers, walkers, craftspeople and anyone who wants to learn new skills or teach old ones are being encouraged to become part of the team. We would love to hear from you if you think you could help us with educational visits, activities or staffing the centre.

You can download the form below



The Centre is a Hire and a Charge Point in the North Pennines Electric Bike Network. Two electric bikes are available for hire - a great way to discover the North Pennines and make those hills a little bit easier on the muscles.

  • Hire charges - £25 per day (up to 24hrs), £15 per half day (up to 4 hours), £5 for an hour, discounts are available for multi-day hire.
  • There are 11 Hire Points in the Network and over 20 Charge Points
  • Advance booking is advisible - you'll need to leave a deposit and photo ID.
  • Follow the network on Twitter @NPElectricBikes
  • Full details are available, together with downloadable route maps, from the North Pennines Electric Bike Network website.


Car parking (with a small voluntary charge that will help keeping the centre running) is available at the nearby picnic area. Accessible parking and an electric car charging point are available in front of the centre. Toilets (including an accessible toilet) are available at the centre when open. 


There is plenty to do in Upper Teesdale.

Within walking distance:

Within 30 minutes drive:


If you are looking to stay in Teesdale a bit longer there are lots of places within a short drive which will offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation.  Look out for B&Bs with a Green Tourism (GTBS) accreditation!

Red SquirrelView of the waterfall at Gibson's Cave, near Bowlees
Hay meadow in Upper TeesdaleBrown hare © of BinocularsLogos - This image contains the North Pennine Dales funding logos 
Waterfall at Gibson's Cave, BowleesWalking through hay meadows along the Pennine Way National Trail in Teesdale
Volunteer botanists doing quadrat surveying in a hay meadowHigh Force waterfall in Upper Teesdale