Teesdale House

nr Darlington, Northern England, United Kingdom Book from Book from £422 per night

A sprawling Victorian farmhouse (sleeps 6-14) in gentle Teesdale, with eye-catching yet deeply comfortable style; perfect for celebratory get-togethers

There are handsome farmhouses that welcome in conventional ways – comforting Aga, deep baths – and those that make you drop your bags and rush to explore. Teesdale House, whose generous entrance hall welcomes with walls of art and tables of books, and dazzles with a neon-bright Jacques Tati film-poster, is one such. A confident eye – that of renowned interior designer Rita Konig – has taken her husband’s family’s Victorian house, surrounded by farmland near Barnard Castle, and created a comfortably eclectic home that reflects a traditional farmhouse, but packed with personality.

A jumble of art hangs on walls, while furniture clashes and matches to winning effect. A battered farmhouse table is set against designer-sleek, olive-green kitchen units. A pea-green-walled sitting-room is cosy with stripy armchairs, jazzy-patterned sofa and contemporary ceramics, while candles glow above the log fire. Bedrooms invite with covetable books, Roberts radios on bedside tables, windows over rolling fields. Some items are valuable, yet the overall look never feels contrived. Downstairs rooms spread from two comfy-sofa'd sitting-rooms at one end to a games-packed playroom and farmhouse kitchen at the other. Outside: croquet lawns, a walled garden and barn with pool table, Teesdale walks, the handsome towns of Barnard Castle, Richmond and Durham. This is an eye-popping, fun-filled house perfect for multi-generational get-togethers.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

Highs

    • It's a hugely comfortable and inviting house, with space to spread out, chill out or cosy up around fires
    • We loved the fascinating decorative style: neither cluttered nor show home-perfect, but artful and uplifting
    • Spoiling touches include a drinks fridge and choice of coffee-makers, power showers and bath foams, two separate Sky TVs
    • Heaps of diversions for children: pool table, table-tennis, croquet and a playroom with TV and games galore
    • Easy to reach from the A1M, so handy for families converging from central & northern England, Scotland, even London; and 15 minutes from Darlington station

Lows

    • It's set among (lovely) rolling countryside, which means you'll need to drive to shops, restaurants and local sights of interest
    • Children need to be well-behaved or kept under watchful eyes; many fabrics and items are costly
    • Not suitable for rowdy parties, and dogs are only permitted by special prior arrangement

Best time to go

North-east England is usually a couple of degrees cooler than the south, but also drier than the north-west. This part of County Durham never gets crowded, and upper Teesdale only moderately so in summer. So it's a great summer option - verdant gardens, rivers and coast walks, possibly a barbecue - but also lovely in the crisper air and burnished colours of autumn. With its three log fires, the house is particularly cosy in winter.

Our top tips

Although the house is laidback and the kitchen informal – walking boots and casual clothes are the order of the day – you might want to push the boat out one night and set the table with candles and flowers, then dress up to glitter in the flickering light. So pack a few glad-rags and load your phones with play-lists.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
  • House Rental
  • 7 bedrooms
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Pool Table
Room:

Rooms

Explore upstairs and the house, magically, seems to grow bigger. Each turn of the landing or little step reveals yet another door to a bedroom (seven) or bathroom (four, plus one downstairs). Bedrooms share the same comfortable farmhouse-cottagey style – bright rugs and wooden towel-rails, a mix of country-traditional and antique pieces, strong but not jarring colours, retro touches and comfortable armchairs – but with a definite personality to each room.

One has striking black-and-cream patterned fabric-covered walls, and a startling green-spotted armchair beside a charming polished-wood desk. Another has a low window, a French-style carved bed, and a repurposed rattan garden bench for tossing your clothes. Intriguing artwork hangs on walls, expensively thick curtains hang at windows while eye-catching objects – enamel pill boxes, family photographs, a miniature harbour scene in a bottle – enchant.

Bathrooms have deliciously deep baths – some beside windows for green-field views from beneath the bubbles (bath foam provided) - and terrific power showers.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Bathrobes
  • Bluetooth sound system
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

The vast kitchen with its arched windows, classy olive-green Plain English fittings, solid-wood worktops and 12-seater weathered table, is geared for serious cooking. Nothing has been left to chance with a full sweep of culinary utensils – from food-mixers to lemon-squeezers and pastry brushes – an electric Aga in addition to the traditional version, and a separate fridge for drinks in addition to the large fridge-freezer. There's a generous amount of basics waiting for you including milk, butter, olive oil, bread, eggs, tea, coffee, jam, biscuits, crisps, bottle of white wine and 4 bottles of beer.

Rita recommends Simon’s the butchers in Staindrop plus there are supermarkets in Darlington and Barnard Castle and a couple of nearby farm-shops (4-7 mins' drive). We favoured the one at Piercebridge with its range of home-made ready-meals – lamb goulash, shepherd’s pie and wicked puddings including roulades and tarts – alongside fruit and veg and esoterics such as soya milk yogurt and organic prosecco.
If eating out, the Fox Hole at Piercebridge offers smart, bistro-style dishes in a relaxed setting or blow the budget on a multi-course taster menu at the two Michelin-starred Raby Hunt (both 3m/5km).

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Stay at home and challenge folks to croquet, table tennis, a game of pool; or try one of the doorstep walks, tried-and-tested by the owners
  • At Piercebridge (5km), walk along the Teesdale Way; it’s a rewarding if ambitious 19km walk through woodland, farmland, and valleys to Barnard Castle
  • Potter around the latter, a handsome market town with eponymous castle, independent shops – good for antiques – and tearooms, plus sumptuous fine and decorative art in French-chateau-style Bowes Museum (21km)
  • Intrepid types can go wild swimming upstream from Gainford (10-15 minutes)
  • Drive into upper Teesdale for bracing walks on the North Pennines, or an easy but spectacularly rewarding stroll to the 21-metre High Force waterfall (maps available)
  • Auckland and Raby Castles are well worth visiting
  • Spend an absorbing day in Durham – 30 minutes by car or train – with its magnificent Norman cathedral, castle, botanic gardens and riverside walks; try Vennels or Flat White for a casual lunch

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Pool table
  • Shopping / markets
  • Table tennis

Kids

All ages welcome although probably not ideal for toddlers (too many places to get lost, stuck or fall). A dedicated playroom (with daybed) has a TV, cupboard of games, dressing-up clothes, colouring pens and books. Teenagers can hang out in the barn with its table-tennis and pool tables.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Three bedrooms have twin beds; two are child-friendly with books and toys

Baby equipment:

  • High chair
  • Baby cot

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Pool table
  • Table tennis
  • Board games
  • Croquet
  • Playroom with dressing up clothes and games

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beamish Open Air Museum (40 mins north)
  • Saltburn on Sea (beaches) is 50 minutes drive away, there are various more secluded beaches southwards
  • Raby Castle (15 mins) has a Woodland Adventure Playground plus walking and cycle trails in the park, and plenty of wildlife

Families Should Know:

Because of expensive fabrics and objects – children need to be well-behaved or supervised!

Distances:

  • Airport: 50 minutes (Newcastle)
  • Hospital: 10 minutes (Darlington)
  • Shops: 4 mins (farm shop); 7 mins (supermarket)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Teesdale House lies off the A1(M) in Country Durham, near Darlington. It's set back from a narrow country road, with views over farmland and dales.

By Air:
Nearest airports are Newcastle (50 minutes) and Leeds Bradford.

By Car:
Teesdale House is 7 minutes from J58 of the A1(M). A car is essential if you intend to explore. London is 4h30m, Newcastle 1 hour and Edinburgh 3 hours.

By Train:
The nearest railway station is Darlington (regular trains from London Kings Cross in 2.5 hours) which is 9km (10-15 minutes) by taxi or car.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • Newcastle 50.0 km

Other:

  • Beach 35.0 km
  • Shops 3.0 km
  • Restaurant 5.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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