Stanhope - the green and tranquil market town at the heart of the Durham Dales surrounded by moorland in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village plan is probably of Saxon origin though there were Bronze Age settlers whose huge hoard discovered at Heatheryburn Caves is now in the British Museum. Romans hunted the area and left an altar to their hunting god (now in St. Thomas' Church) and in Norman times the villagers supported the Bishop of Durham who came to hunt the Weardale Forest.
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Central to the valley Stanhope has a wide range of facilities for visitors, including a bank, post office, shops, cafes and pubs plus the only petrol station. The Durham Dales Centre hosts a variety of craft shops made by Weardale's talented crafts people in a courtyard setting, an information point, cafe, toilets and long stay parking.
Stanhope is home to the county's only open-air heated pool, the Weardale Open Air Swimming Pool, where swimmers can enjoy the relaxing experience of a warm outdoor swim within sight of the surrounding countryside.
The Weardale Railway follows the path of the River Wear and passes through the spectacular scenery of Weardale stopping at Frosterley and Wolsingham.
Stanhope Agricultural Show, founded in 1834, is held on the second weekend of September each year.