We hear from Raby Castle’s head of leisure and tourism Claire Jones about The Rising project and what groups should look out for when it opens this spring. 

An aerial view of Raby Castle in County Durham

Raby Castle’s ambitious development project, The Rising, is set to open this spring. 

For those unfamiliar with The Rising, could you give us an overview of what it is?

The Rising is an ambitious development happening at Raby Castle which is the biggest restoration project in decades.

Set within the grounds of Raby Castle, the scheme combines Raby’s rich history as the home of one of Britain’s most notorious plots, the Rising of the North, with the promise of growth, energy and ambition. It will provide visitors with a unique experience set within the scenic countryside of the North of England. 

What new features and attractions can visitors expect when the development opens this spring?

Claire Jones, head of leisure and tourism at Raby Castle

Claire Jones.

Visitors will be able to get even more from a visit to Raby Castle. The Walled Garden has been reimagined by renowned designer Luciano Giubbilei alongside Lady Barnard. They have created a stunning five-acre vision, celebrating the Estate’s well-known yew hedges and the iconic Raby fig. In doing so, they have retained the gardens’ distinctive spirit; the character of Raby and its rich history is deeply embedded. 

The Vinery Restaurant is a stylish and airy recreation of the historic glass house which once stood on the same spot, it is the most elevated of settings for coffee and cake, or a long lunch. Soak up stunning panoramic views of the Castle across the High Vinery garden while enjoying seasonal and locally sourced flavours from our carefully crafted menu with produce from across the Estate.

Previously hidden from view, iconic heritage buildings will be opened up, becoming event spaces. Close by, The Coach House and Stables are packed with original 18th century features and have been repurposed to tell the story of the castle’s history and introduce the sights, sounds and magnificent landscapes of the Raby Estate in Teesdale, including High Force Waterfall.

This will also be home to our retail spaces, where you will find a selection of homeware and gifts displayed on reclaimed furniture from across the estate. 

What should group organisers in particular look out for when visiting?

It is always a pleasure to welcome groups to Raby Castle. Groups currently enjoy either free flow, guided or specialist tours at the castle, experiencing the powerful exterior and superb collections. Groups can learn more about the landmark built by the powerful Nevilles in the 14th century and the now family home of the Vanes for nearly 400 years. 

The Rising has more for groups than ever before, starting with the expanded car park facilities offering coach parking close by to the entrance of the site, where they will receive a warm welcome from a member of the Raby team.

Groups will be be able to have exclusive spaces, such as the areas of the Vinery Restaurant offering private dining. 

From May this year, we will be offering bespoke garden tours with a member of the gardens team in the newly redesigned Walled Garden. 

An artist's impression of The Vinery restaurant at Raby Castle

There will be private areas for groups in the new Vinery Restaurant. 

Tell us about the scale of the development, is it Raby Castle’s biggest to date?

The Rising is certainly the biggest project for this generation of the Vane family and is incredibly close to their hearts. It spans over 24 acres and includes two new buildings as well as the restoration of three significant heritage buildings. The visitor offer at Raby will be grown extensively, offering so much to explore, see and do, plus well-designed spaces for hospitality and events.

What are you most excited about?

The joy of my role is to see Lord and Lady Barnard’s vision come to fruition and for our visitors to be overwhelmed by what we have created. I cannot wait for a bright day filled with sunshine and happy people sharing this most spectacular setting.

There are very few truly special places like Raby and it is an absolute privilege to be involved in delivering such an important chapter in its history.

“The Rising offers more to groups than ever before, starting with the expanded car park facilities offering coach parking close by to the entrance of the site…”

What else would be useful for groups to know?

There are a range of benefits when booking groups visits to Raby Castle including discounted admission rates, personalised booking process and familiarisation visits.

We like to make it as easy as possible to organise with complimentary admission for the group organisers and coach drivers. Bespoke packages are available to make a group visit extra special at Raby.

Just a 30 minute drive from Raby Castle, you will find High Force Waterfall one of the most impressive in the UK which is also part of the Estate. Groups can enjoy free flow or guided tours to the falls, learning more about geology, wildlife and surrounding landscapes.

Raby truly has so much to offer, and we look forward to welcoming you in 2024.

To find out more about group visits to Raby Castle click here