Guest Blogger Caroline Cook shares her top travel tips for the best days out from Rockliffe Hall.

Rockliffe Hall is such a lovely place that it’s hard to tear yourself away; however, it would be a shame not to take advantage of some of the great places within easy driving distance and see a bit of what the area has to offer.

We’ve now been to Rockliffe four times and would like to share with you some of our favourites:

Mount Grace Priory – we had never heard of this priory until very recently but found it a really interesting place to visit: an unusual mixture of 14th century Carthusian priory, a 17th century Manor house with Arts and Crafts decor and lovely gardens. Read our blog to find out more.

Raby Castle – ancestral home of the Barnard family, Raby Castle has something for everyone: great halls and chambers (the history of which is really brought to life on the guided tours), an excellent art collection, the renowned Carriage Collection, walled gardens, a deer park and adventure playground. There’s also a very nice cafe for lunch or just a coffee and a slice of cake.

Auckland Castle – home to the Prince Bishops of Durham, Auckland Castle is steeped in history. If you’re an art lover you will be interested in the thirteen Zurbaran paintings and our guide was extremely informative about theses as well as being quite a “character”! St Peter’s chapel is the largest private chapel in Europe and when we visited last Sept was hosting a thought provoking Bill Viola exhibition.

Bowes Museum – modelled on a French chateau, the Bowes Museum is an impressive sight outside as well as inside. Situated in the market town of Barnard Castle it houses a collection of fine and decorative arts put together by John and Josephine Bowes in the late 19th century. From paintings to ceramics, costumes to furniture, and hosting an interesting mix of exhibitions we’ve always found something to interest us. Our most recent visit coincided with the English Rose exhibition which is on until Sept.

High Force Waterfall – Teesdale is a really attractive area which we had never explored before discovering Rockliffe Hall. This magnificent waterfall is accessed via private land belonging to the Raby Estate so a small charge is made. It’s not the highest waterfall in England, contrary to popular belief, but it does have the highest volume of water cascading over an unbroken drop when it’s in full spate.

For more top travel tips from Caroline, visit her Travel and Trips Blog here.

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