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Places to Visit

These are arranged by areas so you can plan a day out. Most places are no more than 1.5 hours by car from here.

LOCAL - Alston, Nenthead & Garrigill

Alston is quite quaint with its cobbled streets. Click for photos It was used to film Oliver Twist (Julie Walters & Michael Kitchen). There is an 'Oliver Twist Trail' and a walk around the town.
The narrow gauge steam railway goes up the valley from Alston to Kirkhaugh and on to Lintley. You can go for a walk or have a picnic before catching a later train back
By Alston station there is a small museum called The Hub. It is small but a very interesting local museum
Nenthead is an old mining village. Unfortunately the leadmine has closed and no longer does underground tours. Have a look at the Reading Room and the Water Fountain. The big building is part of what was the ore dressing shed and is an important historical industrial building despite being ugly!
Garrigill is an interesting village set around a village green and a nice pub! There is a private indoor swimming pool, and a superb walk to a waterfall, Ashgill Force.
Killhope is another lead mine with underground tours.. The conditions were awful - it is aptly named 'Kill Hope'

This model village is in the garden of a bungalow in Nenthead. If you walk down to Nenthead (to the pub) you will pass it (if you take the path by the houses rather than by the river). It's amazing, and it's FREE to look at!

TEES Valley - High Force, Middleton, Barnard Castle

High Force Waterfall is quite spectacular. You park at the pub and it is an easy walk down their path to see the waterfall.
Middleton-in-Teesdale is a pleasnt small town to stretch your legs. (Unfortunately the 'Meet the Middletons' museum is now closed)
THE museum to visit is the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle. John and Josephine Bowes (Related to the Queen Mother who was a Bowes-Lyon) travelled around Europe and collected many objects of art. They built a huge french chateau in Barnard Castle not as a home, but as a museum. It is quite unique as the exhibits are their personal choice. The mechanical silver swan is a must see. The cafe is excellent (try the smoked haddock chowder!)
There is a castle, but it is a bit disappointing. The best view of it is from down below by the river.


Beamish Museum (near Durham)

The Beamish outdoor museum is a huge site with lots of old buildings that have been carefully dismantled and re-erected. You need all day there as there is so much to see. Click for photos

After a long day at Beamish, it is nice to have a chinese meal at the Pavilion (our favourite chinese restaurant) which is not far from Beamish.


Stanhope, DURHAM, and Blanchland

As you come in to Stanhope, on the left is the Durham Dales Centre - well coverted stone buildings with the Tourist Information Centre, several craft shops and a good cafe.
Durham is well worth a visit. There is a 'horse shoe' bend in the river that separates the very old part of the town from the rest. Towering above the river is the magnificent Cathedral (we prefer it to York Minster) and the Castle (now a University Hall of Residence, but open to the public during the university vacations). Click for photos . You can climb the cathedral tower for a superb view of the city and the surrounding countryside. When you tire of historic buildings, you can walk along the 'horse shoe' river bank or hire a rowing boat, or go for a boat trip. click for photos
Near Durham is Diggerland an amusement park with a difference - all the 'rides' are real JCBs!
Blanchland is an unspoilt old village. The estate that owns nearly all the village has not allowed any modern development out of keeping with the character of the place. Click for photos


There is a long distance footpath along the wall, but the best walk is from Steele Rigg to Housesteads. The wall is in quite good shape and follows the escarpment. The views are excellent and it is where they filmed Kevin Costner in 'Robin Hood'
There are lots of places to visit along the wall, but our favourite is Chesters. There is enough left to envisge what it was like. In the bath house and the commander's house you can see the brick pillars supporting the stone floor slabs and understand their underfloor hot air central heating! At the gatehouse you can see the hole of the door pivot and the curved groove made by the door.
Vindolanda is an interesting site that they are still excavating. We were there once and watched the archaeologist find a muddy bit of leather. In their museum we then saw similar cleaned and preserved bits of leather shoes.



Everyone thinks the Lake District is beautiful, but unfortunately they all seem to be there! The roads are congested, the car parks expensive, the cafes are a rip-off, and the footpaths are eroded with people everywhere. If you really want to go there we can suggest some quieter places - Ullswater (You can take a trip on the lake with Ullswater Steamers), Honister Pass, Buttermere (farm that makes its own ice cream), Whinlatter Forest (excellent Visitor Centre with good cafe and large TV screens to watch the nesting Ospreys)

KIELDER Reservoir & Forest

This is much better than the over-commercialised Lake District! You can hire boats (electric motor boats or rowing boats) to explore the HUGE reservoir, or bikes to explore the forest trails around the reservoir. Beautiful scenery, lots of activities. You can come back via Scotland! and Carlisle.


The road to Penrith is one of the AA's 'Ten Best Drives in the World'. Enjoy the view across the valley to the Lake District. The road was a Turnpike (toll road) designed by MacAdam (of tarmacadam) for horses and carts - hence the shallow gradient. They did not have JCBs and reinforced concrete so the road follows the contours - hence the hairpin bends. At Langwathby there is Eden Ostrich World interesting for all ages form tots to grandparents. Langwathby station is on the scenic Settle to Carlisle railway.
Penrith is a pleasant town with some interesting shops to wander around.

Rheged, outside Penrith, is an odd place. It's a popular visitor attraction, but we always think of it as a very upmarket service station. They have a large screen cinema, a mountaineering exhibition, cafes and shops. The building is quite interesting as it is built into a hill. But what is it? Tourists seem to stop there, wander around a bit, have a coffee, and then drive on. If you go, please let us know what you think it is.


Hexham is our favourite town. For shopping there is Robbs department store (part of Beales), lots of small shops, and for food there is a Tesco Extra, Waitrose and a Marks & Spencer. The Abbey, and Old Gaol are well worth a visit.





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Paul & Carol Huish, Rock House Estate
Valley View, Nenthead, Alston, CA9 3NA

01434 382 684
0797 469 4703

info @ Rock House Estate.co.uk