Barnard Castle is a small market town (weekly market on Wednesday and monthly Farmers’ market on a Saturday) taking its name from the Norman Castle at its centre. The town centre is a conservation area with many listed buildings. Situated in rural Teesdale, and an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is 17 miles from Darlington, 26 miles from the County town of Durham, and it is about an hours drive to the cities of Newcastle and York, lovely East coast seaside resorts and the beautiful Lake District. For its size (population about 6,000), it has considerable diversity of peoples with differing backgrounds and interests which are well served within the town. The largest employer is GlaxoSmithKline, a company that is generous and supportive to all sections of the community. The Deerbolt Young Offenders Institution also provides employment, whilst many of the shops sell local produce. Tourism, farming, forestry and quarrying all provide significant employment for the town and surrounding villages. The town is a centre for shops selling antiques and contemporary arts and crafts.
Barnard Castle is the gateway to upper Teesdale which provides some of the most dramatic and beautiful walking country in Britain, the Pennine Way being only a few miles to the West. Within easy reach are High Force waterfall, Raby Castle and many square miles of unspoilt crag, moorland and forests.
Within the town is a well furnished sports centre and swimming pool and, with tennis courts and bowling greens at Bowes Museum park. There is a wide range of sporting clubs.
The Town is home to The Bowes Museum, a hidden treasure, a jewel in the heart of beautiful Teesdale. The magnificent building stands proud in the historic market town housing internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts. For more information visit http://www.bowesmuseum.org.uk/