Barnard Castle, or Barney as it is affectionately called by the locals, is a thriving small market town at the mouth of Teesdale. Although it has a Morrisons behind the market place, it still manages to retain many small family owned shops. It still has a weekly market as well s monthly farmers market. There are plenty of places to eat as well as some good antique shops.
GlaxoSmithKlein have a large factory on the edge of the town and is a major employer.
The town grew up round the Norman castle which stands high on a bluff at the top of the town overlooking the river.
The town still retains its wide main thoroughfares that were traditionally used for the market as well as cobbled streets, twisting lanes and narrow passageways.
It still has a medieval feel to it.
At the bottom of Horse Market, the broad main shopping street, is the Market Cross or butter mart. The octagonal building dates from 1747 and was built to replace the old tollbooth. Butter and other dairy produce was sold from the ground floor, while the upper room was used as a courthouse. Originally the base was closed off with heavy wooden shutters. It now serves as a roundabout.
Close by is St Mary’s Church which was built at the same time as the castle.
On the edge of the town is the amazing mock French Château built in the mid C19th by John and Josephine Bowes who lived in nearby Streatlam Castle and had links to the Bowes Lyons family, to hold their eclectic collection of fine art, porcelain, furniture and paintings. The Bowes Museum is a major tourist attraction drawing visitors in to the area.
We always enjoy visiting Barney with its stone buildings and slab roofs. It has very much the feel of an upland town and is gateway to some of the best scenery in England with Stainmore, Teesdale and Weardale all within a short distance.