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 on selected dates from April to November. Group tours can be booked on additional dates. A range of events are held throughout the year, and the castle is available for weddings and holiday accommodation.
The castle is open on selected dates from April to November. Please visit the castle website for a full list. Visits are by guided tour only. Arrive at the gatehouse at least 10 minutes ahead of your chosen tour to sign in / buy tickets.
Entry for non-members is £10, or £8.00 for National Trust / English Heritage members on production of a valid membership card.
Children under 10 are free, under 16 are £3.00. Please check the castle website brancepethcastle.org.uk ahead of your visit for the most up to date information. Group tours can be arranged outside these dates - please visit our website to book.
Disabled access: Please note that there is a short flight of steps to gain access to the ground floor; all rooms except the medieval cellars are on this level. Access to the cellars is via a second staircase, and the floors in the cellars are uneven.
30 March 2019: Public lecture in association with Historic England to report on research into the medieval fabric of the castle. Admission to the lecture is free - please see our website for further details.
About 4 miles south west of Durham on the A690. Durham is on the main London-Edinburgh rail line. From Durham it is a 15 minute bus journey from the bus station on the X46 bus to Crook.
The castle is just off the Brandon - Bishop Auckland cycle route which follows the old railway line and passes through Brancepeth.
Car park on site
Paddy's Taxis 0191 384 2853
- Accessible toilets
- Guide dogs welcome
The castle is an ideal venue for your wedding if you are looking for a beautiful setting with the opportunity to do something that is really personal – because you have the freedom to choose and arrange every aspect of your special day.
From the moment you receive your guests until the last dance is over, it’s up to you to decide the look, the timetable, the menus, the entertainment, and all the little details that makes your wedding uniquely yours.
We offer you the use of up to six reception rooms of which the largest are the Ballroom and Armour Gallery each seating 150/170 guests, or nearly 200 with a compact table layout.
The other rooms range from two-thirds to one third the size. The rooms open off each other, each has a different character and style, most with polished oak floors, high vaulted ceilings and working fireplaces for log fires.
We supply the rooms entirely unfurnished or sparsely furnished, and you transform them into dining rooms, dance rooms and sitting-out areas by hiring your chairs and tables and borrowing a few of our sofas.
In addition, we have a lovely enclosed, lawn courtyard which makes a perfect entrance, and backdrop for champagne, canapés and photos to start your reception, or to escape into for a breath of fresh air later in the evening.
We also have our own chapel within the castle which can seat 70-100 people and is licensed for all Anglican worship.
If you qualify for marriage in this parish (see the Church of England website) then you could marry in our chapel, or in the beautiful parish church adjacent to the castle.
We don't have a license for civil marriage services, but could hold a service of blessing in the chapel following a registry office marriage.
From the moment you receive your guests until the last dance is over, it's up to you to decide the look, the timetable, the menus, the entertainment, and all the little details that makes your wedding day special.
Quartermasters’ is a sunny self-contained flat with its own private access and parking. It has been sensitively modernised from an area last used by the army for their kitchens and retains its historic feel. It sleeps 3 people in a double and a single bedroom with two shower rooms, one en-suite.
The flat is centrally heated throughout and has a strong wi-fi signal. There is a fully equipped kitchen with electric hob and oven and microwave. The sitting room area has a TV with Netflix provided, and a range of terrestrial channels through the internet.
In the castle gatehouse there is a delightful independent tea room and gift shop. Quartermasters’ makes a great base for exploring one of the lesser-known parts of the country, with beautiful coastlines, picturesque villages, dramatic landscapes and a richness of nationally and internationally important historic buildings and sites.
Brancepeth Castle Golf Club is laid out in the former deer park of the castle and is a few minutes’ walk or drive from Quartermaster’s. It is rated as one of the top 100 courses in the country, and one of the finest in the north east of England. Guests staying at Quartermaster’s will be eligible for a 25% discount on visitor green fees.
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