Area guides



Teesdale is the most southerly of the Durham Dales.

Sweep of moor and crag

The sweep of the moors and crags of the upper dale have an unrivalled drama which many visitors come back to savour time and time again. Raby Estate’s white farmhouses and barns are a distinctive and memorable element in the landscape of Upper Teesdale and the stunning spectacle that is England’s biggest waterfall – High Force – adds a vibrant natural beauty to the mix.


Middleton-in-Teesdale is the ‘capital’ of the upper dale and is an excellent base from which to explore the area. The information centre in the village is an excellent place to plan a trip to the upper dale. Be sure to explore the rest of the village, which was the headquarters for the London Lead Mining Company in the middle of the 19th century. Bowlees Visitor Centre is a great place to start your discovery, with access to the impressive waterfalls of High and Low Force.

Places to visit, things to do

Teesdale is a big draw for botanists with some of England’s rarest upland plants found here. Heritage fans are spoiled for choice with its impressive medieval castles and the exquisite Bowes Museum which is home to a wonderful collection of fine and decorative art. Some of the most impressive sections of the Pennine Way National Trail are found in Teesdale and there are numerous excellent circular walks.

  • Bowlees Visitor Centre– 01833 622 145 – former Methodist Chapel converted into a gateway centre for Upper Teesdale and the wider North Pennines. You’ll find displays, nature activities, informative staff, gift shop and café. Gateway to Low Force Waterfall, countryside walks.
  • High Force Waterfall – 01833 622 209 – Discover the force of nature at High Force, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in England.
  • Eggleston Hall Gardens – 01833 650 230 – Explore the nursery garden of the north. Gardens at Eggleston Hall date to the late 16th Century.
  • Barnard Castle and Middleton-in-Teesdale Farmers’ Markets.
  • Bowes Castle – The impressive ruins of Henry II’s 12th century keep, on the site of a Roman fort guarding the approach to strategic Stainmore Pass over the North Pennines.
  • This is Durham – Durham Tourist Information – Find things to do in Durham City & County, hotels & accommodation, what’s on, restaurants, special offers and itineraries.

Further afield

  • The castle at Barnard Castle – Set on a high rock above the River Tees, imposing Barnard Castle was the stronghold of the Balliol family. Taking its name from Bernard de Balliol, who rebuilt it in the 12th century, it includes a fine great hall and a dominating round-towered keep.
  • Raby Castle – Impressive medieval castle. See herds of deer roaming in the parkland, enjoy ornamental gardens, relax in the tearooms and explore the towers and turrets!
  • Hamsterley Forest – Walks, traffic-free cycle routes, visitor centre and orienteering.
  • The Bowes Museum – Magnificent French chateau-style museum set in 8.5ha of parkland.
  • Egglestone Abbey – The charming ruins of a small monastery of Premonstratensian ‘white canons’, picturesquely set above a bend in the River Tees near Barnard Castle.

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