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Brancepeth Castle

A medieval fortress first constructed in the mid-twelfth century and with a dynamic history, constantly changing hands and use.

Brancepeth, Co Durham, DH7 8DF

Brancepeth Castle
Free for members
Facilities
  • Accessible loos
  • Accessible parking
  • Bike storage facilities
  • Cafe / restaurant
  • Easily accessible without car
  • Free parking
  • Mostly wheelchair accessible
  • Shop
for the latest information.
Accessibility

Brancepeth Castle is a historic building retaining many of its original features. As a result there is unfortunately no direct wheelchair access. Most of the tour is on the ground floor, which is all on one level and a wheelchair can be used, however there is a short staircase of 7 steps to gain entry. A temporary ramp can be erected, but advance notice is required.

Please apply via the castle website.

Does our information need updating?
Let us know here

Brancepeth Castle was the stronghold of the Neville family in medieval times. The Battle of Neville’s Cross, between England and Scotland, was planned in the castle’s Baron’s Hall.

The Nevilles forfeited their estates after the failed Rising of the North, and the Castle went through a number of hands before being bought by the wealthy Russell family in the late 18th-century.

The current building is a combination of the Neville’s medieval towers with early 19th-century additions by the Russells, who employed Edinburgh architect John Paterson to sensitively create a grand stately home within the walls and extensions. The Russells lived in the castle for around a hundred years, after which the mid-20th-century saw the castle used by the army and as a research station.

The castle is now a private home again, and the principal rooms are open to the public every week throughout the year. Tours in January to March, and October to December must be booked in advance through the castle website. A range of events are held throughout the year, and the castle is available for weddings and holiday accommodation.

Visits to the castle are by guided tour only. Tours are led by a member of the family, giving you a special insight into the building beyond just the history. The tour will include the medieval Barons’ Hall, where the Nevilles and Percys plotted the Rising of the North, and the cellars beneath. You will also see how architect John Paterson (and later Anthony Salvin) created a lavish Regency home inside the old medieval walls, as well as adding new extensions for the fabulously wealth Russell family.

Special tours include Medieval and Regency rooms and cellars not visited on the regular tour. Dobson Books publishing archive, including original material by Spike Milligan and Gerard Hoffnung and posters from the 1968 Paris uprising. Items from the family’s personal collections, including books and paintings.

Opening Times

Please note: The information on the Historic Houses website is advisory, but please always check the website of the house or garden you intend to visit before travelling.

View website

Brancepeth Castle is normally open for a guided tour on one day each week throughout the year. In January, February, March, November and December this is every Tuesday at 10.00, In the summer months the days alternate between Tuesdays at 10.00 and Thursdays at 4.30. Additional tours on bank holidays at 2.00. Please refer to our website for full details.

Admission is of course free for Historic Houses members.

Group Visits

Groups of 10 or more can ask to visit outside the published programme. Please get in touch to discuss any special requests for your visit including catering (eg lunch or afternoon tea) or special interests (eg historical period, architecture).

Tour prices per person will depend on the size of the group, and whether any catering is required. Please contact castletours@brancepethcastle.org.uk for more information

Educational Visits

Brancepeth Castle welcomes visits from primary schools. The Castle offers a guided visit to align with periods studied in the school curriculum. Each visit is individually tailored to the needs of the group, in discussion with school staff.

Please book via the castle website.

for the latest information.
Accessibility

Brancepeth Castle is a historic building retaining many of its original features. As a result there is unfortunately no direct wheelchair access. Most of the tour is on the ground floor, which is all on one level and a wheelchair can be used, however there is a short staircase of 7 steps to gain entry. A temporary ramp can be erected, but advance notice is required.

Please apply via the castle website.

Does our information need updating?
Let us know here

Getting here

Brancepeth, Co Durham, DH7 8DF

The main visitor entrance is at ///kings.comically.hagglingWhat does this mean?

Brancepeth Castle is approximately 5 miles west of Durham, on the A690. There is a frequent bus service from Durham which stops just a 5 minute walk to the castle. Ask for ‘Brancepeth village’, and turn left at the crossroads when you alight from the bus.

The castle is just off the Brandon – Bishop Auckland cycle route which follows the old railway line and passes through Brancepeth.

brancepeth castle on map

Brancepeth Castle has been a fortified site since Saxon times. The exterior is largely medieval, but the interior was remodelled in Regency times. From stately home it became an army HQ and a research station. It is now a family home again.

Why our members love visiting Brancepeth Castle

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