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The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

(4.4/5 based on 1,100+ reviews on the web)
The Bowes Museum boasts a renowned collection of fine and decorative art in the surroundings of a sumptuous French château. Highlights include paintings by El Greco, Francisco Goya, Canaletto, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and François Boucher, as well as early works by French glassmaker Émile Gallé. Watch the 18th-century Silver Swan automaton preen itself, and wander through the extensive collections of decorative art, costume displays, ceramics, textiles, and tapestries. A cafe offers both light meals and heartier fare, or you can picnic outdoors in the museum's verdant parkland. The surrounding woodlands, children's playground, and seasonal outdoor events complete the experience. Put The Bowes Museum at the forefront of your travel plans using our Barnard Castle holiday planner.
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  • A magnificent building from the outside and quite spectacular on the inside. Considering this was originally built as a museum rather than a dwelling house the area is very fortunate indeed to have su...  more »
  • Amazing purpose built museum with a fascinating story behind it .Exhibits well set out and varied and prestigious . Lovely cafe with table service.Miranda in the museum shop, was the star of the after...  more »
  • Very easy to get to,you need quite some time to get advantage of all the treasures lying the collections are very rich and the result of the passion of Mrs Bowes. A very interesting visit not to be mi...  more »
  • Lovely little gem. Beautiful building and grounds in a great setting. The regular exhibitions are ok but it often has spectacular temporary exhibitions.
  • Impressive building and collections. Interesting for a walk around and the gardens/woodland areas look like they would be worth an explore too.
  • We visit for the excellent temporary exhibitions but always discover something new in the permanent displays. Restaurant and free car parking.
  • Beautiful building, and a great day out if you enjoy watching robot swans pretend to eat pretend fishes.
  • Absolutely fantastic museum! So much to see inside from visiting exhibitions to the huge museum collections which ranges from paintings and ceramics to a wonderful silver collection. It's worth a trip just to see the superb silver swan automaton still in fully working order.