Treasure Troves

Treasure Troves

Treasure Troves

A French-style château on the edge of a market town, a splendid collection of Spanish art housed in a former commercial bank and so much more makes Durham full of surprises, as you discover stunning landscapes dotted with cultural treasures.

Auckland Castle has 900 years of history and was once home to England’s only Prince Bishops, who were granted exceptional powers by Norman kings. The Castle is also home to paintings by 17th century Spanish master painter Francisco de Zurbarán, as well as St Peter’s Chapel – thought to be one of the largest private chapels in Europe’s outside of Rome. The Castle’s State Rooms provide some of the finest Georgian Gothic architecture in the country.

The Castle, its grounds, and a number of venues in Bishop Auckland’s Market Place are currently being re-developed to create an exciting heritage offer of international importance. The recently opened Spanish Gallery, is the UK’s first gallery dedicated to the art, history and culture of Spain. Visitors can immerse themselves in the Spanish Golden Age and discover the stories behind some of the 16th and 17th centuries most magnificent paintings. Auckland Tower offers visitors a chance to enjoy unsurpassed views across Bishop Auckland and beyond from its 15m high viewing platform. And housed within the Bishop Trevor Gallery, visitors can also admire collections of masterpieces, alongside fascinating exhibitions.

On the outskirts of Durham City discover treasures from the far east at Durham University’s Oriental Museum - the North of England’s only museum entirely devoted to the art and archaeology of Northern Africa and Asian cultures. Visitors can see a wide range of objects from the University’s world-class collection, including Chinese porcelain, borneo head-hunting swords, contemporary artwork, Japanese samurai suit and even ancient Egyptian mummies.

In the market town of Barnard Castle, as you enter through the grandest of gates, the sight of The Bowes Museum is something to behold. A building as impressive as the exhibits within, the story behind the museum is just as fascinating. Built in the 19th century by husband and wife John and Josephine Bowes to house their own collection, themed galleries are home to one of the most important collections of fine and decorative arts in the North of England.

Did you know…

No visit to The Bowes Museum is complete without seeing the famous Silver Swan - an 18th century mechanical wonder.

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Tour suggestions…

Half day:
Durham City - Durham University's Oriental Museum
Durham Dales - The Bowes Museum

Full day:
Auckland Castle, The Mining Art Gallery and Spanish Gallery
Auckland Castle plus The Bowes Museum

Hotel suggestions…

Hardwick Hall Hotel

Useful information…

Coach travelling time:
The Bowes Museum to Auckland Castle -
25 minutes

The Bowes Museum DL12 8NP
Auckland Castle DL14 7NR
Hardwick Hall Hotel TS21 2EH

Coach companies... 0191 378 0653