The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

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. For The Bowes Museum and beyond, use our Barnard Castle travel itinerary planner to get the most from your Barnard Castle vacation.
Create an itinerary including The Bowes Museum
map
Places to stay near The Bowes Museum
The Bowes Museum Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,361 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • just look at the picture! and the art collection inside is of the same calibre. We go for the temporary exhibitions of different kinds. They are good on costumes too. The silver swan is bakc fully res...  more »
  • We have been visiting the Bowes for many years and eating in the café has always been a great treat. Sadly this is no longer the case. We waiting nearly an hour for our food today and when it arrived ...  more »
  • Very interesting French Chateau in Yorkshire.it was a shame we were there on a cold wet day in March as I would have licked to go round grounds, The museum is large and over 3 floors, it was very good...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful building. The art collection inside is not very interesting. Lots of paintings by the "circle of ..." or "after so and so". Lots of ceramics and porcelains. A few interesting decorative art pieces. The swan and mechanical mouse stand out. I'd skip the inside and save 14 pounds. Enjoy the outside.
  • This historic museum may not have a large collection on display, but it has an eclectic and wide-ranging scope that embraces art, homewares, historic artifacts and curated displays and exhibitions. Housed in a Yorkshire French Chateau, with an intriguing back-story, this place is a treat to visit. This autumn, I particularly enjoyed the exhibition of historic clothing and the tulip themed galleries. Expect to stay for two to three hours.
  • The building itself is absolutely astounding. What a view as you turn to enter through the gates! And as for the Town of which it is located, beautiful. The first time I went to Bowes Museum was great. There is plenty of history to learn and a good range of objects to view. The showpiece being 'The Silver Swan', designed and built by John Joseph Merlin, is an amazing piece of engineering and a beauty to look at. If you're around at lunch time, you best stay to see the Swan perform it's automation. Truly spectacular considering it is over 200 years old! The only thing I have to say is that, after you've been once, you really don't need to come again. Which in itself is a great shame as the location is fabulous. It just feels... a little tedious and boring.
  • Quite pricey but the ticket lasts a year. A magnificent building with lots to explore. Many art works and historic items, family friendly activities and space outside to let off steam and work off the calories from the amazing cakes from the cafe.
  • Very good. The Clockwork Garden (special exhibition) was particularly good. The film of John & Josephine Bowes should be watched before looking around. The Silver Sean is a must see of course.

Plan your trip to Barnard Castle

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to The Bowes Museum by other users

9 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM MEXICO April, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in York BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Hawes & Barnard Castle BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Barnard Castle BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 32 days in Whitby BY A USER FROM CANADA June, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in Whitby BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Harrogate BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Whitby BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Harrogate BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM November, relaxing, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, relaxing, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in York BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 52 days in United Kingdom & Dublin BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 59 days in Driffield BY A USER FROM BELGIUM July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans