Main vehicular access gates to be closed overnight.
Main vehicular access gates to be closed overnight.

Main vehicular access gates to be closed overnight.

With effect from 5pm until 8am from Saturday 26th October.

The Bowes Museum will be closing its main vehicular access gates from 5pm until 8am nightly from 26 October.


The pedestrian access gates will still remain open at all times, allowing people continued access on foot to the parkland.


The Museum needs to do this in order to comply with Arts Council England guidelines to secure government indemnity insurance for loans from other museums world-wide and to enhance the security of the collection.  Arts Council England is a core funder of the Museum.


This means the Museum will be capable of building on its acclaimed exhibition programme by being able to continue to borrow high quality art and objects which draw visitors to the area.


Adrian Jenkins, the Director of The Bowes Museum said: “The grounds will remain open to pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers.  This is a necessary step we’ve had to take to ensure we can maintain and secure our reputation as a home for world class exhibitions.  The gates will be opened for special events like exhibition previews and the Castle Players performances and the details of these opening times will be publicised on our website.”


Clear signage will be put up stating the opening and closing times of the main vehicular gates to visitors.


People wishing to drive to the Museum outwith these hours will be able to park their cars near the back or front of the grounds with easy access to the parkland through the pedestrian gates.


The Friends of The Bowes Museum has generously funded the entire upgrade and conservation of the listed entrance gates. 


The Museum has engaged local tradespeople to reinstate the gates to their former magnificence.  Middleton Forge is carrying out work on the gates to make them operational, Chris Leach from Q-Dec will enhance their decoration and Glasper Tunstall Stonemasonry is restoring two of the stone pillars.


The Museum will be meeting with stakeholders and holding a public meeting at Barnard Castle Methodist Church Hall, Scar Top, on Wednesday 16th October at 6pm to explain the plans in detail and answer any questions that people may have. 




Notes to editors:


  • The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes.  Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in.  The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. 
  • The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a Major Portfolio Museum receives support from Arts Council England.
  • Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
  • The Bowes Museum has undergone major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation.
  • The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 03000 262626,


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