Overview

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.


Opening
Opening

2020

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.

Specific opening dates

Update: Brancepeth has informed us that, because of COVID-19. their tours schedule will be delayed until further notice

10, 13, 19, 20 April

8, 25, 27, 29 May

5, 8, 10, 12, 22, 24, 26 June

18, 19, 28, 29, 30, 31 July

1, 10, 12, 14, 29, 31 August

2, 4, 28, 30 September

25, 26, 28, 30 October

1, 2 December

See other opening for further information

Find Us
Find us

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

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.

Parking

Car park on site

  • Free
Parking is available and is free for Historic Houses members when visiting the property for free.

Taxi

Paddy's Taxis 0191 384 2853

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Accessible toilets
  • Guide dogs welcome
Group Visits
Group Visits

Please contact to book a visit:

Alison Hobbs
alison@brancepethcastle.org.uk
0191 378 9670

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Forthcoming Tours

Tour Overview

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

Tour duration

2 hours.

Tour prices

£16.00 per person.

Refreshments

Tea and cakes.

Access notes

The tour is split between basement and ground floor levels, and unfortunately as a historic building there is no alternative to stairs between the two. There is also a short flight of 6 steps to get into the ground floor.

Special restrictions

Exterior photography only.

Invitation to Stay

Quartermaster’s at Brancepeth Castle, Durham

Quartermaster’s is a charming, bright and sunny south-facing ground floor flat, situated between the mediaeval Constable Tower and the Regency Russell Tower. It has recently been sensitively modernised, with exposed stone walls. It sleeps 3, in a single and a double bedroom, and has two shower rooms, one en-suite. The flat is a perfect base for exploring this beautiful but lesser-known part of the country.

There is a wealth of historic places to visit – the city of Durham, with its magnificent cathedral, is a few minutes’ drive away, and the towns of Barnard Castle and Richmond are within easy reach. Beamish Open Air Museum, Alnwick Castle Gardens, Hadrian’s Wall and Lindisfarne are places where you can easily spend the whole day. The Durham and Northumberland coasts have long sandy beaches, and for those who want to be more active there are great walks in the hills and dales. The Sage in Newcastle hosts an extensive programme of concerts, and 2020 will see the fifth year of the spectacular Kynren show in nearby Bishop Auckland.

Discounts are available for nearby attractions including Beamish and Brancepeth Castle Golf Club.

Brancepeth Castle Good to Go England logo

 

Weddings

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.

Facilities

  • Suppliers list
  • Guest parking
  • Accessible parking

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.

Brancepeth Castle Team


Accommodation

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.


Opening
Opening

2020

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.

Specific opening dates

Update: Brancepeth has informed us that, because of COVID-19. their tours schedule will be delayed until further notice

10, 13, 19, 20 April

8, 25, 27, 29 May

5, 8, 10, 12, 22, 24, 26 June

18, 19, 28, 29, 30, 31 July

1, 10, 12, 14, 29, 31 August

2, 4, 28, 30 September

25, 26, 28, 30 October

1, 2 December

See other opening for further information

Find Us
Find us

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

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.

Parking

Car park on site

  • Free
Parking is available and is free for Historic Houses members when visiting the property for free.

Taxi

Paddy's Taxis 0191 384 2853

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Accessible toilets
  • Guide dogs welcome
Group Visits
Group Visits

Please contact to book a visit:

Alison Hobbs
alison@brancepethcastle.org.uk
0191 378 9670

Other opening

Tours only, 1.30pm (plus 3.30pm weekends and Bank Hols).

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.

Guided tours of Brancepeth Castle

In 2020 we will have tours running from April through to December - please see the schedule below for more information. There is a tour on every open day at 1.30, and on weekends and bank holidays there is an additional tour at 3.30. All tours are led by a member of the family and visit principal rooms in the medieval and Regency parts of the building on ground floor and basement levels. A tour typically lasts approximately 60-75 minutes.
 
No advance booking is necessary for individuals or small groups of up to 9 people. Please arrive at the gatehouse 10 minutes before the start of your chosen tour as we aim to start each one at the scheduled time.

Tours for groups of 10 or more can be arranged for additional dates and can focus on a particular theme or interest. Refreshments can also be provided, from lunch to afternoon tea. Please contact us using the form below to discuss your requirements.


School 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


Brancepeth Castle's history and features

The castle was originally founded many centuries ago by the chief of the Anglo Saxon Bulmer family whose last male heir, Bertram Bulmer had a daughter called Emma who married Gilbert De Neuville, a Norman baron who had come to England with William the Conqueror. De Neuville's descendants were called the Nevilles and were the owners of Brancepeth Castle until the sixteenth century.

In 1569 Brancepeth was confiscated from the Nevilles by the crown following their involvement in a plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I called the Rising of the North. The Nevilles had been the chief instigators of this rising which had been plotted at Brancepeth and Raby Castle with the assistance of the Percys who were the most powerful family in Northumberland.

Brancepeth Castle remained in the hands of the crown for a number of years until King James I gave it to Robert Carr, Earl Of Somerset. Later the castle was taken from Carr when he was found guilty of the murder of Sir Thomas Ovebury. From Carr it passed to the wealthy son of a Gateshead blacksmith called Ralph Cole who also bought Kepier Hospital.

The next owner was Sir Henry Bellaysyse, whose daughter Mary fell in love with Bobby Shafto who lived at Whitworth Hall near Spennymoor just across the River Wear from Brancepeth. Miss Bellaysyse's love for Bobby became the subject of a very famous north country song but alas Mr Shafto had eyes for someone else and Mary is said to have died of a broken heart.

In 1796 Brancepeth was bought by William Russell a Sunderland banker . The Russels of Brancepeth became one of four great coal owning families in the north called the `Grand Allies' and William's son Matthew became the richest commoner in England. Later by marriage Brancepeth became the property of Lord Boyne who is commemorated in the name of a public house a little further to the north at Langley Moor. There have been a number of other owners since that time. 


Fun Facts

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.

Picture


Upcoming events

24 Jul - 31 Aug 2020

Brancepeth Castle Virtual Craft Fair

July 24 – August 31

Coronavirus may have caused the cancellation of the annual summer craft fair this year, but it will still go ahead in cyberspace. Visit our website to take a tour of the castle’s grand rooms and browse the wide variety of stalls, from soaps and jewellery to upholstery and glass ware, with a range of artisan food stalls too.

https://www.brancepethcastle.org.uk/