Barnard Castle sees upturn in visitors after Dominic Cummings saga

Senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Businesses in Barnard Castle have claimed they have benefited from the exposure of Dominic Cummings’ controversial family trip to Durham during the lockdown.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.

Cummings visited the riverside at Barnard Castle on Easter Saturday after traveling from London to Durham to stay at a property on his parents’ farm when he and his wife fell ill.

The Downing Street adviser said they took a trip to Barnard Castle, where he was spotted by a retired chemistry teacher, as he planned to travel back to London the next day and he wanted to check he could drive safely, particularly as his “eyesight seemed to have been affected by the disease”.

That comment led to many jokes about opticians in the town.

The local mayor John Blissett claimed the headlines generated by the prime minister’s most senior aide “put us on the map”.


Have your say

Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.


He told the PA News Agency: “The crowds have been coming in and obviously the curiosity is there.

“I don’t know whether the opticians have had any more trade though.

“I think the publicity has done us good in the sense that it has put us on the map.”

You may also want to watch:

Last year locals started the Making Barny Brighter Together campaign to bring in more visitors.

Blissett added: “This has done us one hell of a favour, they know about us.”

TV antiques expert David Harper, who has been wrongly identified as Cummings when he has been spotted heading to his antiques and art shop, said: “I don’t know how many emails I’ve received from people saying Barnard Castle looks so lovely.

“I’ve heard of people thinking of relocating and checking out property prices.

“When I reopened my shop earlier this month, if I had a pound for every time someone mentioned it, or cracked a joke about eyesight or calling me Dominic, I would be super-rich.

“If everyone in Barnard Castle got together and wrote a cheque for the cost of the marketing, we still couldn’t pay for it all.

“Thank you Dom.”

Harper said, only this weekend, a couple who were visiting the town after not coming for many years said they were reminded of its attractions by seeing it in the news and they came into his shop and bought some art.

He added: “I think Barnard Castle will forever be connected with the lockdown, and eye tests.”

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £20

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest pro-European campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.