The Bowes Museum

In a nutshell

Put the magnificent Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle at the top of your list of places to go. Truly a 'hidden treasure' of art, installations and events.


Newgate, Barnard Castle, Durham DL12 8NP

Contact details

Tel: 01833 690606

Activity type

Indoor Activities, Museums and Art Centres

Suitable for

Ages 5 - 12, All ages, Schools and Groups, Teenagers, Under 5s

Price guide


(2 adults & up to 4 children)

The Bowes Museum details...

A trip to the magnificent Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle with the family will not disappoint.

Described as a ’hidden treasure’ in the North East, this French chateau, created by John and Josephine Bowes houses stunning collections of fine and decorative arts from across five centuries.

The museum has a mix of contemporary exhibitions by artists such as Monet, Goya and Damien Hirst and permanent collections with works by artists such as Turner, Canaletto and Courbet, one of Britain’s most extensive collections of ceramics.

See the iconic life-size Silver Swan, an 18th-century musical automaton that plays daily at 2pm; children and adults will be captivated with the performance that lasts around 40 seconds, so be sure not to miss it!

The Education team offers a rich and varied events programme of family fun days, storytelling sessions and craft workshops through the year during school holidays and these activities are linked to themes from the exhibitions and incorporate skills and materials from the national curriculum.

Another great way for families to explore the museum is with the help of fun and educational games and activities. These include toddler and family trails, backpacks, interactive devices, dressing-up corners and quizzes and worksheets.

The events programme includes outside activities with outdoor theatre productions, dance performances and live sculpting.

The grounds are a lovely setting for a picnic and there are nature, orienteering trails and the ’Bag of Fun’ available from reception contains outdoors activities and games for children. Plus don’t miss the children’s playground where they can burn off any surplus energy!

Please visit the website to find out what’s on at this family-friendly museum. Under 5s have free entry.

The Bowes Museum Events

Stay & Play at the Bowes Museum

Open 4th January 2024 - 2nd January 2025

Add some new activities to your toddler's week in a group held on Thursday mornings at 10am until 2nd January 2025 at The Bowes Museum.

Young Creatives at The Bowes Museum

Open 6th January 2024 - 4th May 2024

The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle has creative workshops on the first Saturday of the month for ages 11 years to 18years until 4th May.

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