Sophie came. back to England for a few days with her hubby Mentat, and we had decided to take Mentat to Raby Castle as it’s just about the most spectacular one. We also love the formal walled garden for the amount of butterflies and bees that grace the flowers, and the chance of seeing deer is pretty high too, so lots to see and admire. Phil came too.
Well, what the website doesn’t tell you is that the grounds of Raby Castle are undergoing monumental upheaval and they’ve completely dug up the formal garden,
This is a little of what is lost.
“Formally developed into a pleasure garden for the family, the existing ornamental garden will be redesigned to provide an outdoor space where visitors can move through planting or attend performances and events.” Performances and events, no doubt for which you pay extra.
The café we usually go to which was in the old stables is also undergoing renovations.
“The buildings, designed by architect John Carr in the 18th century are Grade 2 listed, will be restored and repurposed to provide retail and interpretation spaces.” Not sure what interpretation spaces are, but I sure know what ‘retail spaces’ means!
There’s also going to be a Play Area :-
“A new feature, the play area will offer play for children aged 4-10 years old and will be built within the original Christmas Tree plantation to the north of the Castle, Park and Gardens”.
Now Sophie and I do comprehend that people who own small people have to take them out and about at weekends and school holidays, especially in the nice weather. We just don’t like it when they take them out to places we visit. On the whole the small things are pushy, noisy, ill mannered and immune to any attempts at control by their owners (if indeed the owners bother) so this is not good news.
There’s a lot more to it, the development is called ‘The Rising’ and will take 2 years to complete.
The castle will remain as it is, and the deerpark, but according to Lord Barnard who owns Raby :-
Raby Castle has welcomed visitors since the 18th Century, but felt it was “still very much under the radar, and it has a huge amount to share.”
His motivation for the scheme, he said, “is to really open up the castle and the estate to a great many more people to enjoy.”
“With a new generation it is time for a new beginning, and we want to make sure that Raby is preserved for future generations to enjoy as well as our own.”
Which is all poshspeak for ‘not enough people visit to pay for the upkeep of it all’, so I don’t suppose I can blame him, it must cost a fortune to run. The total investment will be in the region of £14 million and paid for by proceeds from new housing developments in Gainford and Staindrop, consisting of 151 houses :- including 3-bedroomed family, 2-bedroomed cottages, single storey dwellings and apartments. I don’t think they will be ‘affordable housing’ sites!
Anyway, disappointed as we were about the garden, which was shut off, we went inside the castle and had a walk through the deer park, and had lunch in the new Yurt Café.
I didn’t take any pictures inside the Castle, I’ve already done a 7 part post on Raby which starts HERE if you haven’t seen those and want to, which is quite comprehensive. Also when I’m out with non-photographers the dynamic for photography just isn’t the same, but I did take a shot of the Castle and we came across some deer.
Sophie and will go back in 2 or 3 years and see what’s become of it all so stay tooned for that! 🥴
all pictures are clickable & embiggenable