The Bowes Museum is the jewel in the heart of the historic market town of Barnard Castle in the beautiful Durham countryside.
Housing internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts, the Museum was purpose built in the 19thC by wealthy businessman John Bowes and his French actress wife Josephine. Their romantic story is revealed as you wander around this graceful and elegant Grade I Listed building.
The diverse collections begun by this amazing couple are constantly being added to and currently span three floors of this magnificent French-style chateau. Whether its paintings by Van Dyck, Canaletto or Goya, delicate porcelain produced at Sevres, or fashion from the 16-20th centuries, it can all be found at The Bowes Museum, which has received Designated status from the Government in recognition of the quality of its outstanding collections.
Visitors to the museum can not only learn of John and Josephine’s wonderful story and marvel at the fascinating objects on show but can also enjoy an exciting programme of exhibitions – including fashion, photography and fine art – plus events, with guided tours and gallery talks by specialist’s curators enhancing the experience. A recent £12m makeover which has spawned the opening of new galleries and the delivery of enhanced visitor facilities has pivoted the museum into the 21st Century.
The magnificent legacy that John and Josephine Bowes left to the people of Barnard Castle and beyond has been transformed in a sympathetic way to retain its charm and intrigue while protecting the collections for future generations.
And if that isn’t enough, don’t miss the museum’s unique and popular exhibit, the Silver Swan musical automaton, built in 1773, which performs daily to delight audiences.
No visit is complete without sampling a delicious lunch, sumptuous afternoon tea or tempting snack in Café Bowes, or a browse in the shop, which offer s a wide range of gifts, books, confectionery and original art and jewellery.
Surrounded by 22 acres of parkland including formal gardens, a woodland walk, picnic area and children’s play facilities, The Bowes Museum, surrounded by rolling countryside, is the perfect destination for a family day out.
|Ticket Type||Ticket Tariff|
|1 Adult and up to 4 children||£16.00 per ticket type|
|2 Adults and up to 4 children||£30.00 per ticket type|
|Adult Anuual Pass||£14.00 per ticket type|
|Concession Annual Pass||£12.00 per ticket type|
|Students (on production of Student Card)||£6.00 per ticket type|
|Under 18||£5.00 per ticket type|
Enjoy unlimited entry at The Bowes Museum and temporary exhibitions all year around.
- VAQAS VB Attraction VAQAS
- Visit England VAQAS 2019
- Regional and Miscellaneous TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Certificate of Excellence 2019
- Very Good437
- Tim WThe Bowes MuseumSunday, 8th March 2020Bowes Museum was excellent. Fine art galleries with many rare and beautiful paintings beautifully displayed. We particularly liked the current exhibition of paintings by Norman Cornish of the lives... Read full review
- Fiona CNottingham, United KingdomLovely museum - well worth spending a dayMonday, 9th March 2020We really enjoyed our visit to the Bowes Museum. It has well-presented exhibits and friendly staff. We saw the Norman Cornish exhibition, which had been extended, and it was fascinating. The museum... Read full review
- SummertimesueAmazing placeSaturday, 14th March 2020This fascinating museum is really quite exceptional in such a small place like Barnard Castle. The collections and the story of their collectors and how the building came about is very interesting... Read full review
- Access Statement - Please see below
Parking & Transport
- On site parking
|Season (1 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020)|
|Monday - Sunday||10:00||- 17:00|
|Bank Holiday||10:00||- 17:00|
* Closed 25 & 26 Dec, 1 Jan. Cafe opening 1000-1630. Shop opening 1000-1645.