RABY Castle’s new highly anticipated adventure playground, The Plotters’ Forest, will open to families in County Durham next week after it was announced that the public will be able to access it from Friday, April 15.

Towering above the trees in the castle’s Christmas tree planation, the playground “offers an exciting mix of challenge, discovery and intrigue for its local visitors, including the young and the young at heart,” according to the Raby Estate.

Inspired by its own past and the part the castle played in The Rising of the North in 1569, the playground will arrive ready for the Easter weekend, as visitors are encouraged to take in the panoramic views of the parkland, experience sky-high turrets and treetop tunnels in the Plotters’ Spire, before slipping down the slides and interacting with the ground-level games that surround the structure.

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The playground has also been designed with inspiration from some of Raby Castle’s architectural history, including the famous Nevill Gateway.

All the new features will also be joined by the new catering kiosk, The Plotters’ Pantry, which serves takeaway hot and cold drinks, freshly made sandwiches, snacks, cake and ice cream and conveniently overlooks the toddlers’ play area, which includes mini turrets, climbing equipment and chalkboards.

Speaking just over a week before the opening, Raby Estate’s owners, Lord and Lady Barnard, said: “Creating The Plotters’ Forest has been a dream of ours for years and is inspired by our own experiences as a family, when our own children were young.

Here's a sneak peak video of the playground from Raby:

“We’ve taken special care to ensure the playground blends into the forested area where it’s located, by using complementary textures, colours and sustainable materials. We believe that building a relationship with the outdoors inspires children to be resilient, curious and courageous – all qualities found in Raby Castle’s plotters of the past.”

The Rising project will include the significant restoration and renovation of several historical buildings on the estate, the creation of a new café and events space, as well as a new visitor hub and landscaped areas. The wider site will launch in Summer 2023. 

Claire Jones, project director and head of leisure and tourism at Raby Estates said: “The opening of The Plotters’ Forest is a huge step for Raby Castle, marking a new chapter in the much-loved attraction’s history. It is also the first important milestone in The Rising development, which will attract new visitors to the area and create outstanding recreation for the local community.”

Here's some artist impression pictures of the playground:

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:

Pictures: RABY

“With visitors able to purchase tickets that include The Plotters’ Forest, the deer park and castle, we hope it’s a well-rounded offering with something for all family members to enjoy.”

The Plotters’ Forest will open to the public on Good Friday, 15th April with tickets now on sale from the website here.

Here's what to expect from The Plotters' Forest:

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:

Pictures: RABY

Prices for the Park & Plotters’ Forest cost: £8 for adults, £7.50 for children and £29 for a family ticket. A concession ticket is also available at £7.

Prices for Raby Castle, Park & Plotters’ Forest cost: £13 for adults, £10 for children and £45 for a family ticket. A concession ticket is also available at £12. 

The wooden boardwalk through the playground is accessible by wheelchair and pushchair, creating a fun and inclusive space for all of Raby’s visitors.


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