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The Old Well Inn, Barnard Castle

The Old Well Inn
21 The Bank,
Barnard Castle
DL12 8PH

01833 690130

The Old Well Inn, Barnard Castle

The Old Well Inn offers you traditional value and ambience with contemporary service – the best of both worlds. We are a family friendly, pet friendly hotel and pub and we welcome you to the Old Well Inn experience. The Old Well Inn has 10 en-suite, non-smoking bedrooms. Come and try our new menu – a delicious mix of popular cuisines that we keep changing regularly. Predominantly British, you will find Italian, Indian , Thai and food from other parts of the globe. We also have a delectable dessert counter!




The Old Well Inn has 10 en-suite, non-smoking bedrooms.


All are beautifully furnished and every one of them has it’s own character and charm. You’ll be surprised when walking into the Old Well Inn, just how spacious the rooms are!


We pride ourselves in maintaining levels of cleanliness and comfort that even the most discerning guest would appreciate.


All our rooms have;



Free Wi-Fi In room

Hair Dryer In Room

Iron and Ironing Board on request

Linen & Towels Supplied

32 ” flat screen smart televisions



Breakfast is included in the price. Check-In time: 14:00 and Check-Out time: 11.00 am


Food & Drink


We keep surprising our customers and ourselves. Turns out – nothing tastes as good as our Real Ales!


Come and try our new menu – a delicious mix of popular cuisines that we keep changing regularly. Predominantly British, you will find Italian, Indian , Thai and food from other parts of the globe. We also have a delectable dessert counter!


There’s a comfortable lounge, a quiet restaurant, a beer garden with gorgeous views and the castle wall enclosing it and a bright and warm conservatory with a coffee bar.


The Old Well Inn – not just a pub but a milestone in history.


The Old Well Inn in Barnard Castle is steeped in history, dating as far back as the 12th Century. A few yards from THE OLD WELL INN stands the Buttermarket . The Market Cross – an octagonal shaped 2 storey building, now used as a roundabout for traffic.

This was built by Thomas Breaks in 1747 and has been used in its time as a Court, Jail, Town Hall, Fire station and a Buttermarket. There is a weathervane on the top of the building with two bullet holes through it. These were caused in 1804 after a Soldier called Taylor and a Gamekeeper called Cruddas who worked for the Earl of Strathmore at Streatlam Castle Estate decided that they would have a competition to see who was the best shot.


The OLD WELL INN was previously known as The Railway Hotel but even before this it was a hostelry. Beer was brewed on the premises probably aided by the fact that the building had its own water supply in the form of  a well. The hostelry is centuries gone but probably did not cover the amount of space that it does presently – other families and businesses would have occupied part of the premises – the present OLD WELL INN takes up the space of 5 dwellings.


At one time, many families would have been crammed into one house, including the basements – living conditions were not always good.


Barnard Castle was struck with an outbreak of Cholera in 1849. There were nearly 230 cases reported – 37 of them in The Bank.


Due to the overcrowding, the poor sanitation and drainage and the close proximity of animals living with humans (many families kept pigsties in their yards) – the disease spread rapidly. There were contemporary reports of houses being split into tenements and huge families all living in the same room with poor ventilation and little or nothing in the way of sanitary facilities. There were yards running off The Bank and many families lived behind The Bank, clustered around these yards, where sewerage and household refuse were thrown and left to fester and rot (not nice!) It is believed that matters were made even worse because the effluence often drained into the existing wells in the area.


Used as billet by the War Department.


21 The Bank was formerly known as Railway Inn and was managed by James Simpson in 1914. It was used as billet during World War I by the War Department.


“TWENTY soldiers who arrived in Barnard Castle were no doubt delighted to hear they would be put up in a hotel for a fortnight. They seemed the lucky ones among the Durham Fusilier Militia troops that day in July 1877 as many others were directed to overcrowded family homes.


They were in town for their annual training, which many looked on as a holiday. But the 20 were less than happy when they saw their quarters. The conditions were so bad that they protested loudly, and their anger led to two charges being brought under the Mutiny Act.


John Myers, landlord of the Railway Hotel, on The Bank, had agreed to take in the men at the usual rate of fourpence per head per night – a total of just over £4 for the fortnight. That was for just a bed apiece, as they were given all meals at their camp site.


But his beds made sleep impossible.


They were made of uneven boards, and the filthy mattresses were only partly filled with chaff. The men’s complaints resulted in an officer making an inspection, and he decided the billet was the worst he had seen in 16 years.


Dr Munro, the militia surgeon, ordered the landlord to repair the beds, fill the mattresses with more chaff and give each man a blanket. But Myers made no changes, so he was charged under the Mutiny Act with refusing to provide adequate accommodation for troops and failing to supply them with proper beds.


When he appeared in court he claimed the bedding was in good order until the troops moved in. But the magistrates went to the hotel, declared it totally unfit, and said pauper vagrants were given better quarters in the workhouse.


They fined Myers £5 and ordered him to put things right within two days. He did nothing so was called before the court again. This time his wife turned up in his place and claimed the soldiers had been drunk and caused damage.


But another £5 fine was imposed.


A man from the brewery that owned the hotel also appeared in court and was told the place must be put in good shape “before this day’s sun has gone down”.


He hurried off to get workmen to do speedy repairs, and when the troops turned up from training that night they had comfortable beds in which to get a good night’s sleep. For a long time after that, anyone who had an uncomfortable night in any dale hostelry was apt to ask: “Where did you get that bed – from the Railway Hotel?”


Despite the low fees paid, a lot of hard-up folk were pleased to take in a militiaman for the two weeks. Children were moved out of their beds and had to sleep on the floor so a soldier could move in.


A family’s reward for the fortnight would be four shillings and eightpence, equivalent to about 28p in today’s coinage.” Reference: The Northern Echo


The Railway Hotel is now called the Old Well, offering high quality accommodation and food – with no risk of a mutiny.


Every Tuesday – Quiz Night


Come and join in the fun with a chance to win cash prizes !


Test your knowledge against the local competition !


From 8pm – 10pm every Tuesday evening.


The last jackpot won was £260!


Every Thursday – Open Mic Nights


Come along and join this great mid-week night! Play, sing or just listen.


Enjoy free informal entertainment from local people who just love to entertain.


But get there early as it does get busy!


Headline the night on the last Thursday of the month !


From 8.30pm every Thursday evening.

News, Events and Offers

“Old Well”


The Old Well proved a nice base for 2 night trip to Barnard Castle - Visits to the Castle and Bowes Museum were our reason to visit - The Beer was superb and although the food in the evening was okay the breakfast offered was really nice - overall a good place to stay and we had the "haunted" room...


“Couple of Nights”


Always a friendly welcome at the old well. Great location in the town, great beer, pet friendly what more do you need. Pub quiz on a Tuesday evening which was fun. New owners have just taken over at the end of January so there will be alterations and sympathetic changes over the coming months but all for the best by...


“A cosy inn with good food and beers”


We were stranded in the snow on the A66 and booked a room at the Old Well Inn at short notice. We enjoyed a cosy night with a delicious meal and good beers/ wine on offer. The staff were friendly and helpful. We had not been to the Inn before but we would definitely stay again if we were staying...


“Old town inn in the centre of town”


Old style Inn with plenty of character, the rooms are clean, large and furnished in period style adding to the flavour and character of the property. Staff are pleasant and helpful and the traditional style bar has a good selection of beers. The inclusive breakfast is served in the dining room and offers variety and quality. The Inn is on...

The Old Well Inn, Barnard Castle
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