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.
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The Bowes Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,349 reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Bowes museum is a real treasure house of Bowes family collections, contemporary art and travelling exhibitions. One £14 ticket is valid for a year so you can visit several times if you wish, without f...  more »
  • This Art exhibition is well worth a visit.The work by the artists is very varied one of my particular favourites was by Sophie Twiss Mawnan Smith Cornwall, David Morris’s Oil Platform Hartlepool is ex...  more »
  • The kids loved the ‘treasure hunt’ and there is so much to see without young ones getting fed up. Beautiful building will definitely go again  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.

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