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Review Highlights
Beautiful place,disappointing cafe.

A great place for an outing with the family. Beautiful grounds for walks, spotting deer and all... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
Andrew M
,
Milan
via mobile
Ruby *C*

A great location fabulous gardens and settings, Castle a great place for history of by one ages and... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
denisnavy67
,
Darlington, United Kingdom
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Reviewed 16 December 2018

This experience was just absolutely magical. From being met by ‘Elvis’ the pony to meeting Santa himself every aspect was amazing. The castle was decorated beautifully and Santa himself was not only brilliant with the children but was very funny too. Every member of staff that we met on our visit was exceptionally friendly, even though it was freezing. The gift shop was lovely with lots of lovely things to buy and the band outside just added to the whole Christmas atmosphere. Well done Raby Castle, you gave us an wonderful memories to cherish.

Date of experience: December 2018
1  Thank 70garsi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2018 via mobile

I live nearby (Barnard Castle) but I'm not overly familiar with Raby Castle which (I should say) I would have thought is in Durham and not Darlington. Invited my Mum, Niece, sister and her fiance to the Christmas Market this year. What a treat. The wonderland walk (entrance £4.50 for just the child) was loved.... the market stalls were varied and each one was special in it's own way, and the general ambience (with Carol singers) was very festive. Yes it was busy, but that's because it was worth a visit. Free entry too. Highly recommend. Got some lovely unique gifts for the family.

Date of experience: December 2018
1  Thank A3874QXmarkh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2018 via mobile

Just what you need after a winter walk. A hearty venison stew the meal was so tender & tasty. All the staff helpful & friendly. Love that the cafe is in the original stables.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank Penaudery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2018 via mobile

Visited Raby Castle and walked around the large Castle grounds. The Castle is a beautiful Castle, dogs are allowed the Castle grounds, but not in the main Castle area, which was no problem.

Deer are walking around the grounds of the Castle, the Castle is also surrounded by a lake/moat.

We spent a few hours here, visiting the Cafe/ Tea Rooms as well as the Gift shop. Lovely food in the Cafe/Tea Rooms, friendly staff

Great visit

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Passenger802811
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2018

I would like to point out that my review is specifically for the 'Behind the scenes' tour and not a 'freeflow' visit. In this capacity, the castle, gardens and parkland are sublime and definitely worth visiting.

After visiting Raby Castle at the tail end of October for this tour, I was urged by the girl in the shop to email my assessment of the visit when I admitted I didn't enjoy the tour as much as I wanted to. She supplied an email address so I put these thoughts down to admin at the castle several weeks ago but alas have not had a response and have to assume that my comments, constructive though they were, have not been welcomed or their spam rules are very stringent.

The first part of this tour is essentially the brochure information almost verbatim and to be honest quite tedious. I am a history graduate and have to say that my lectures and seminars were never even close to this dull: being told which dog/horse etc portrait was which lord's favourite animal and which architect/designer changed which part of the castle by which lord was given no context. 'This room is full of Sevres', and? 'These chairs are exact copies of Prince Regent's in the Brighton Pavilion when he came to stay.' Why did he come to stay? What did the family achieve in the greater scheme of things? How did they make money? Did any of them fight in important battles; were they in government; what were family scandals?

In one room, a newly restored barrel organ in a beautiful chest was spoken about at length and the key produced that wound the mechanism which led to an expectation we would hear it... my bad. The underlying feeling of this part of the tour was that I should have been impressed with the splendour of the family's aquisitions and I might have been had the family been aristocratic philanthropists that looked after the welfare of their tenant farmers and employees but even in the unlikely event they did, it was not relayed anyway. There was plenty of information available but poorly used and executed. If Raby find my email it will explain further but I thought they would have employed someone who could have brought this place to life for visitors, not left them wanting.

The best part of the tour was the decadence of rooms that had been left for years and which were a refreshing change to the more sanitised rooms that are generally put on show in country properties. A Billiards room and study gave a flavour of a mid 20th century lord's personal space and pastimes which had apparently been untouched since his death in the 1960s. However, no explanation was given why they had been left for so long and you can only ask so many questions (2 in my case) before you felt your own and others' questions were seen as superfluous. A servant's bedroom, the kitchens and servants' hall also gave a more tangible feel to the history of how these places were run but, again, there were no stories to bring these rooms alive and sadly the castle guided tour is treating the castle like a museum come mausoleum which, in my humble opinion, is outdated and in danger, in the long term, of switching off an interest in heritage for younger generations. There is a visible effort to conserve and preserve furniture and neglected areas and demonstrate the vast job it entails but most of this can be viewed during a general visit and does not involve the 'Behind the scenes' tour at this time.

Sadly, I cannot recommend spending the extra money on this particular tour currently and giving 3 * for this review is erring on the side of generous. There were 22 in our group which perhaps was too many for the guide to handle and on leaving the castle my husband and I were approached by a few others who expressed some dissatisfaction with the tour: one couple had been hoping for a more medieval flavour to the tour which probably should have been made clearer on the website, it is after all a medieval castle retaining some of those aspects. As a note to others this tour is 19th century info heavy with a few earlier and later additions, reflecting the castle interior we saw. This could be a 5* tour with a bit of thought and passion.

Date of experience: October 2018
1  Thank MidwichCuckoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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