Stanhope is the largest town in Upper Weardale.
As you approach along the A689 from the east, the south side of the street hosts a line of lime trees “the lime tree walk”. On the opposite side are a variety of independent shops, a café, tearoom and a bank. At the end of the main street, there is a cobbled market place, surrounded in part by the walls of the Castle. There are a few more shops here including an art gallery, florist, café and fish and chip takeaway. The local bus service stops here, there are two main routes one to Bishop Auckland via Crook and the second travels up the Dale to Cowshill. There is also a service to Rookhope which departs from here.
Opposite, on the north side stands the Norman Church of St Thomas, the Market Cross and the fossil tree. The 250 million year old tree was discovered in a quarry on the Edmundbyres road and rebuilt here in 1962.
Further west is the Durham Dales Centre, owned and managed by Durham County Council, which hosts a tea room, craft, retail and business units together with conference facilities available to hire, further down the road past the fire station there is the Community Centre.
There are a number of walks around the town, riverside and the surrounding fells. The riverside walk is popular and can include navigating the stepping stones at the ford.
During the summer months, the open air swimming pool is a popular attraction.
An important date in the Stanhope calendar is the annual show held over the second week end in September at Unthank Park. The main street and market place are taken over by the fun fair. This has been an annual event for over 175 years.