Welcome to the Ancient Unicorn

Welcome to the Ancient Unicorn. We hope your stay with us will be a pleasant one!

The Ancient Unicorn is a charming, traditional coaching inn dating back 400 years. Situated in the beautiful village of Bowes, close to Barnard Castle , the Ancient Unicorn offers the perfect base from which to explore the beautiful, unspoilt countryside of Teesdale. Just a couple of minutes from the Trans-Pennine A66, we’re also the ideal location for an overnight stopover for guests travelling to and from Scotland and the Lake District.

Food Menu

​We have a delicious menu available that provides great home food in line with the warm and friendly environment we strive to create when you join us. Our ingredients are fresh and locally sourced where possible. We also have delicious options for vegans and vegetarians and children’s menus are also available. Our menus regularly change, however feel free to explore our sample menus below.

What our customers say about us


Zara HughesZara Hughes
14:39 03 Mar 23
Recently come back from a two day stay at the unicorn with family and friends, and what a stay we had . The hotels decor is gorgeous , rooms are spotless , and the service and food was brilliant.The Unicorn is in a Gorgeous area and only a short drive to bowes museum and Barnard castle which are a great day out . Highly recommend , we can’t wait to come and stay again in the summer
Leah ReadingLeah Reading
10:24 03 Mar 23
Had a lovely stay at the Ancient Unicorn! Team were so friendly and welcoming. The room was beautiful and had everything we needed. Food was delicious too. Highly recommend, we will definitely be back! Thank you for a beautiful stay! ❣️
Mike HelmsingMike Helmsing
14:55 13 Feb 23
A wonderful experience,great friendly staff and owner. Great room with a amazing view of the dales. Excellent breakfast and meals , lots to do around the area, Bowes museum Egleston abbey and Barnard Castle just down the road. Can’t wait to visit again,
Gareth RothwellGareth Rothwell
07:50 07 Dec 22
Really nice self serve B&B the building is well kept, neat, tidy and very clean. Rooms are lovely and cosy. This place has a rustic charm and it’s very pleasant. Barnard Castle is just a 7 min drive away so you’re very close to local shops and restaurants. I’ll definitely recommend!
15:34 08 Aug 22
Lovely pub and area. A pleasant smile if your face fits. I’ve never been ignored half way through talking to somebody about public transport. She was happy to take my money though. Shame because the locals were very friendly and helpful

  • star rating  Favourite moorland resting place – Stayed here twice in May and 3 times previously. Always received a warm welcome, comfortable room and great food.
    The Unicorn has a traditional period country pub atmosphere with… Read More

    May 21, 2022

    star rating  New Ancient Unicorn – Excellent meal at the newly refurbished Ancient unicorn tasty and fresh.
    Brilliant value, great to see this historic pub back up and running.
    1 minute from the A66 and right… Read More

    January 20, 2023

    star rating  Had a lovely stay at The Unicorn, our apartment was huge! The bedrooms and bathroom were all really tastefully decorated and beds were so comfortable. We had our evening meal… Read More

    Sharon M
    February 13, 2023
  • star rating  Lovely stay! Highly recommend! – Had a lovely stay at the Ancient Unicorn! Team were so friendly and welcoming. The room was beautiful, spotless and had everything we needed. Food was delicious too. Highly recommend,… Read More

    March 3, 2023

    star rating  Brilliant stay with the family – Recently come back from a two day stay at the unicorn with family and friends, and what a stay we had . The hotels decor is gorgeous , rooms are… Read More

    Zara H
    February 26, 2023

    star rating  Brilliant hotel and restaurant – Just had the weekend at the hotel and the rooms are amazing staff were lovely and food was amazing! Highly recommend for a weekend away with your partner or family.… Read More

    February 13, 2023
  • star rating  Sunday lunch – So glad to have a village pub back up and running , just had a wonderful Sunday lunch with perfect roast potatoes and parsnips highly recommend. Good luck to all… Read More

    January 29, 2023

    star rating  Great weekend stay  – Great Resturant and bar with plenty of options for lunch and evening meal, with lovely comfy rooms perfect for a weekend getaway. Plenty of different rooms to chose from when… Read More

    terry b
    February 8, 2023

    star rating  Lunch only – We booked a table for 4, for a Saturday lunch, at the newly opened, and refurbished Unicorn. Our meals were all excellent, hot, and good portions. We got service with… Read More

    william a
    March 8, 2023
  • star rating  Couple of lovely meals in here recently . Sausage and mash particularly tasty. Service with a smile and we were made very welcome. New folk have made such a difference.… Read More

    January 20, 2023

    star rating  Great friendly place  – Stayed last night, lovely clean warm room. Lovely bathroom with shower and bath. Decor was lovely. Went over to bar which was full of locals and very friendly. The restaurant… Read More

    Susan T
    February 12, 2023

    star rating  Lunch – Last minute booking as we didn’t realise that it had re-opened. Evidently invested a significant amount of money into the property, the locals that we spoke to were incredibly… Read More

    Nicola T
    January 22, 2023
  • star rating  Stayed here for one night (18/03/23) with my partner. Excellent location with a warm welcome on arrival! The staff were really friendly and the check in was quick and simple.… Read More

    Adam J
    March 20, 2023

    star rating  Excellent stay – Had a lovely stay at the weekend. The rooms were absolutely perfect for our family and had everything we needed. Had an evening meal and breakfast , the food was… Read More

    March 15, 2023

Where to find us

From the A1 – at Scotch Corner, take the westbound A66 towards Brough and Penrith. Drive for approximately 15 miles and take the left-hand turn towards Bowes and Barnard Castle. After approximately half a mile you will enter Bowes. At the mini-roundabout go straight ahead and the Ancient Unicorn is a short distance ahead on the right hand side.

Things to do?

When you stay at the Ancient Unicorn there is plenty to explore in the beautiful, unspoiled area of Teesdale.
The countryside is stunning – changing with the seasons and you can walk for miles and see no-one. The Pennine Way passes through Bowes so you can take in part of this historic route, exploring the ruined castle in the village or just soaking up the stunning views from the bench by the castle. A dream for photographers and artists!

Local walks in this area

The walks near The Ancient Unicorn are perfect for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, you’ll find something to suit your needs. The local countryside is beautiful, with rolling hills, wooded areas, and stunning river views. The historic landmarks along the way add an extra layer of interest to the walks, making them perfect for history buffs and nature lovers alike. So, put on your walking boots and explore the beautiful countryside around The Ancient Unicorn!

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