Raby Castle ~ revisted ~ August 2022

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.

café no more

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.

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.

He has a hairy willy, that must tickle.
lady deer
the White Queen

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

more information:-

Raby Castle Revisited Again! – August 2019

The thing with some places, like Raby Castle, Alnwick Castle, and a few other sites not part of English Heritage or National Trust but run privately, is that you buy a ticket to get in to the place, which isn’t always cheap, but allows you to visit as many times as you like within a year of buying it. Raby Castle is well worth a few visits and though we’d been back in May, we wanted a return trip to do the butterflies in the beautiful gardens there, always a spectacle.

This year was the year of the painted ladies invasion. The butterfly migrates to the UK each summer where its caterpillars feed on thistles. Every ten years or so there is a “painted lady summer” when they arrive en masse and 2019 was it.

But it wasn’t all painted ladies…


Small white

Red Admiral


Meadow Brown

and the ladies

and it wasn’t all butterflies..

Not sure if these are wasps or hoverflies and I didn’t hang about to find out! 🙂

I was amazed at how much pollen a bee can collect and still fly!



Raby has a wonderful herd of deer, and we were lucky to get close to these guys again

The chaps

there’s always one….

all pictures can be embiggened with a click
full album of pretty pictures HERE

stay tooned folks!

Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ The Deer Park.


INTERIOR…….PART 1 HERE ~ Entrance Hall, Chapel, Baron’s Hall.

INTERIOR……PART 2 HERE ~ Small drawing room, Octagon Room, Dining Room

INTERIOR…….PART 3 HERE ~ Blue bedroom, Servants bedroom, Kitchen, Servants dining room.


We are finishing our time at Raby with a walk around the estate to see the deer, but first, we went to lunch.  The Stables have been converted into a cafe

at the troughs

and Sophie and I had a table in one of the horse’s booths or whatever they’re called. Stalls maybe I think. Anyway, I had a very trendy lunch of avocado and poached egg on wholemeal toast.  (I know it’s trendy because I’ve seen it in a magazine where they did a restaurant critique of a place in London). (It also had twiddly greenery bits on top of it which was another clue).

le lernch a la trend.

Seriously most places we go have a cafe but all serve similar stuff, homemade soup of the day, panini’s, chips, toasty sandwiches, you know the kind of thing, good, but easy. It was nice to see them make an effort to be a cut above.

After lunch we went and looked at the carriages for a few minutes

but were too excited to go and find the deer to stay very long there.

So off we went on a deer hunt. We started walking through the grounds, and in the distance, we could see the herd ~ we were creeping through the grass so they wouldn’t be disturbed

The unsuspecting

by chance I looked to our left and spotted these 3 herberts

They wandered off and we concentrated on creeping up to the herd. Of course they spotted us a mile off, we were as quiet as a buffalo on acid, and Sophie was wearing red 😀 😀


We slowly crunched forward through the grass, keeping low, and the deer slowly edged off to our right and to the side of the copse of the trees you can see

are they still coming for us?

we kept moving towards them and the stag of the group must have said ‘Right my bitches, those red and green blobs are getting nearer, let’s scarper! and so they all went around the back of the copse, and then legged it up the hill and away.


Stag and his bitches off and away.

Sophie and I were undaunted. The estate is a huge place but fenced all round so the deer had to be there somewhere, and we set off in the direction the deer had gone. As I got to the top of the hill, and turned the corner, I came to a standstill, I’d found one!


They’d stopped as they’d got around the corner, and when Sophie and I got there they had to scarper again!

They’ve found us! Run for your lives!!!

They ran a fair distance then tried to hide under some trees

They’ll never see us here. Will they??

So onwards ever onwards, Sophie and I determined to get some good pictures! I hid in an old dead bush to get a bit closer

It’s in that bush you know!

As we studied the herd it became apparent that there was only one stag, surrounded by a harem of lady deers.   (? does as in doh a deer but who knows?)

You can make out his antlers if you embiggen the picture.

Mr.Big and his harem


it didn’t take long before they all ran off again.  We spotted a white calf (I think they’re calves, or maybe fawns, that sounds weird though) which seemed odd as there were no white lady deer and the stag was definitely big and brown.

Run Forest Run!!

We decided not to pursue them any further, we’d got some nice shots, and it was a long walk back.  But on the way back we did find a few more that didn’t seem to be part of that group, or could be playing truant!

drink up girls, no-one knows we’ve gone and we need to get into the woods!

And then the best bit, further on we came across these

Young Guns


and these are the chap-babies who’ve grown into young bucks, and are therefore competition for Mr.Big and so not allowed to be in amongst his harem.  But if you look to the right you’ll see a white face there,


who has obviously succumbed to one ladies charms when Mr.Big has been busy elsewhere, hence the white calf/fawn thing.  These lads didn’t run away, they let us get quite close which made our day!

so there ends our trip to Raby castle, what a great day out!

A full album (yes there’s loads more! 🙂 of pictures can be found HERE

Information about the castle came from the following sites




Stay tooned, we’re back at Cheeseburn Sculpture park next time, some new art and some we’ve seen last time, but differently!