Attractions industry news

08 Feb 2024

Raby Castle reveals ambitious plans to become a major visitor destination

Raby Castle, known as one of the finest medieval fortifications in England, is nearing the end of an ambitious two-year renovation project.

The Castle, near Staindrop in County Durham, was built in the 14th century and has been home to the Vane family for generations. Lord and Lady Barnard who now own the estate have privately financed the renovation project, with ambitions to become one of the foremost visitor attractions in the north of England.

The development project has been named “The Rising” – a nod to Raby’s rich history as the home to The Rising of the North, an unsuccessful attempt in 1569 to overthrow Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.

Set to open in spring this year, the ambitious project will include a reimagining of the historic Walled Gardens, and the complete restoration of historic buildings, some of which have never been open to the public.

The Vinery, a new restaurant with space for 200 diners, will open in a modern recreation of the castle's Victorian glasshouse, with panoramic views of the castle and a seasonal and locally-sourced menu.

Around 500 sq m of flexible events spaces has been created in the castle’s 18th-century riding school, blending period features with a modern colour palette.

Garden designer Luciano Giubbilei has worked with Lady Barnard to reimagine Raby’s walled garden. Set over five acres, highlights include the estate’s famous yew hedges.

“It is an ambitious project and we're hugely excited to be launching to visitors who already know and love Raby, as well as new guests,” says Lady Barnard. “We genuinely feel Raby now has something for everyone.”

Motivated in part by the changing demands of visitors, The Rising is also focused on ensuring sustainability and longevity, so that Raby Castle survives for future generations.

Raby Estate has been operating for centuries and comprises three main landholdings around Raby Castle and Upper Teesdale in County Durham and the Shropshire Estate near Shrewsbury.

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