Countries, Culture, UK

Keep’em Cummings – Barnard and other castles

What’s a Cummings in golf parlance? A long drive out of bounds.

All joking aside, Dominic Cummings’ controversial 60 miles round trip is probably not how Barnard Castle would want to promote itself.

But then it’s often said all publicity is good publicity.

The truth is that the north of England is well worth a road trip (when it’s allowed).

And here are some others the self-isolating Cummings might fancy:

Wham bam

Open the drawbridge

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland A beautiful backdrop I think you’d agree but it’s really what’s inside that will grab your attention.

Innovator William Armstrong was known as The Magician of the North.

And you can explore his life, and aviation and military artefacts from the world wars.

As well as unravelling the clues to Spike the Dragon’s Trail or become a Bamburgh knight… a little boy’s dream…

Distance: 69 miles.

Every Englishman’s home

Living history

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland: And here are some open-air events that Dom and his family might fancy taking in in his next trip up to nearby Durham.

Rocketman Outdoor Cinema is slated for August 29 and Disney The Lion King Outdoor Cinema on August 30.

If he and the rest of us are allowed. Visit

Distance: 55 miles.

On your doorstep


Brancepath Castle, Co. Durham And this one is only 5 miles from the university city so not too much strain on Dom’s eyes here.

Now every kid, and big kid, loves a dungeon and Brancepath, a medieval castle turned family home, delivers.

Their tours normally run April-December but are suspended for just now.

Although Dom may have a lot of time on his hands soon and December is a long way off. See

Distance: 5 miles

Roll out of bed

All the students have gone for now

Durham Castle Museum, Co. Durham: And Dom can just roll out of bed.

Or seeing he has billed the family cottage as a glorified shed, his haystack.

The Castle Tours are on hold just now but Dom ploughs his own furrow anyway. Visit

Distance: None.

And last but not least

Fancy a stroll?

Barnard Castle: Barnard Castle and derives its name from Bernard de Balliol from the 12th century.

And it was developed by the Beauchamps before passing into the hands of Richard III.

The big drawing points are Richard’s boar head emblem and the sensory gardens.

Known locally as ‘Barney’ maybe Dom’s boy thought he was being taken to see everyone’s dinosaur.

Now talking about extinct creatures, maybe one for the museum soon.. Domisaurus anyone?

Distance: We all know by now.

And if you like your castles then why not check out my series King of the castle: EdinburghThe other Lourdes… a castle, eagle and fishCastles of the world – Czech ’em out Disney’s castle and Germany.