PUBLISHED: 09:57 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 11:48 14 May 2015
The first glimpse of The Bowes Museum - a glorious French-style château situated in the historic market town of Barnard Castle - immediately triggers the WOW factor.
A £12m makeover has resulted in a spectacular 21st Century visitor attraction set in 22 acres of beautiful grounds which include a children’s play area and woodland walk.
The Museum contains one of the greatest collections of fine and decorative arts in the UK, housed in a selection of stunning new galleries. The Fashion & Textile Gallery - which has featured on national TV - has been described as the best in Britain, both for the quality of its permanent displays and its stunning exhibition programme which has included Vivienne Westwood Shoes and Stephen Jones Hats.
A suite of galleries on the top floor, which were included in the refurbishment, house paintings by great artists such as Canaletto, El Greco and Goya.
Don’t miss the life-size Silver Swan musical automaton, one of the Museum’s most popular and endearing exhibits. Dating from 1773, it still delights visitors each day with a performance at 2.00pm.
Whether rain or shine, there is always something going on at The Bowes Museum - fabulous exhibitions, entertaining gallery talks, lectures and guided tours, open air markets and theatre performances, family fun days - you name it, we do it.
And if that’s not enough, why not take the weight off your feet in the acclaimed Café Bowes, where our award winning chef Ben Parnaby and his team cook up delicious meals and snacks throughout the day.
Or why not round off your visit with a little retail therapy in the well stocked shop, offering quality gifts and cards, jewellery, confectionery, books and souvenirs.
With its romantic history, wonderful collections, beautiful setting and first class reputation for providing a great day out, The Bowes Museum is an ideal year-round destination for your visit.