Fun for half term and the run up to Christmas at The Bowes Museum.
Fun for half term and the run up to Christmas at The Bowes Museum.

Fun for half term and the run up to Christmas at The Bowes Museum.

We've lots going on for you to join in!

There are hours of fun for everyone planned at The Bowes Museum over the October half term holiday and in the run up to Christmas.


From now until 1 Novemberyou can take part in the Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search!  We’re taking part in the national hunt organised by Kids in Museums and Walker Books, to celebrate the release of the new Where’s Wally? book, Spooky Spotlight Search. Can you find Wally in our collections? Pick up an activity sheet and get a spooky bookmark if you do!


If you’d like to find out more about why the Museum is in Barnard Castle and discover some of the secret stories hidden around the grounds when why not join in one of our outdoor tours.  Running on 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 28th, 29th and 31st October.  Booking is essential £3.00 each.


On 24th, 25thand 26thOctober from  10.30 until 4.00, you can also create some fun crafts inspired by Wally in our Where’s Wally event.


Solve our Pumpkin Whodunit from the 26th to the 31st Octoberto find out who has taken the magic keys to the golden box and why in our Pumpkin Trail. Figure out a riddle that takes you on an adventure around the gardens to find the hidden keys and unlock the box.


On 27th and 28thOctober from 10.30 to 4.00have a go at making a clay tile using natural materials to create patterns in our Pattern Adventuresworkshop. We will show you how to develop patterns and textures using the outdoors as inspiration. This will take place outside (inside if wet).


Enjoy a 50-minute session exploring coding and making your LEGO® model come alive in our LEGO® Wedo 2 Robotics and Coding workshop on28th October, at 11.00 and 1.00.Starting promptly on the hour. Family spaces are limited to first come, first served.  


Have fun in our Pumpkin Printing event on 29th and 30th October from 10.30 until 4.00, printing using the sticky ink and rollers. Aprons are provided for this messy activity, where you draw pumpkins and create a print to take home.


Join an online Idea Generation Writing Workshopwith Sarah Elwen, on 30th October, sessions for 16 – 18 year olds from 11.00 – 12.00and sessions for 19 - 25 year olds from 2.00 – 3.00.  You will learn some tools to create a piece of fictional writing that can underpin or feature in either your paintings or another image based work.  Booking is essential as there are limited places in the workshops. 









Trick or treat! There’s magical Halloween excitement for all at our Spooky Family Fun Day on 31st October, come and make a witch’s broom, create a potion, take part in the magician’s trail and watch Magic Andrew perform some tricks. There are lots of different crafty activities to keep you out of mischief from 10.30 until 4.00.


On the evening of 31st October, at 5.30 come and enjoy the magic of cinema in the magnificent grounds of The Bowes Museum in the comfort of your own car!  Join the first family of Halloween as we bring you The Addams Family in a drive-in cinema; where the eccentric and mysterious family find themselves at the hands of a con artist pretending to be a long lost relative. Starring Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd.  Tickets are £35.00 a car and selling fast.


Celebrate the spirit of Halloween on 31st October in the wickedly wonderful grounds of The Bowes Museum, all from the comfort of your own car, as we bring you Hocus Pocus in a drive-in cinema at 7.30. Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Kajimy feature as three wacky witches with two magical spells that create one hilarious comedy. Tickets are £35.00 a car, book yours quickly.


There’s terror on the terrace as The Exorcistbecomes the final big screen showing at 9.45 on 31st October for the drive-in cinema.  Cuddle up in your car bubble as this classic cult horror rounds off our Halloween movies in the shadow of the spectacular Bowes Museum.  Tickets are £35.00 per car.    


Get in the Christmas spirit early and join one of the friendly workshops we’re running on 21st November.  From 10.30 until 12.30you can learn how to Make your own Christmas Cards.  Join artist Sara Cooper to make some stylish and unique Christmas cards with paper embossing, which is print-making without the ink. This fun and informal workshop is suitable for everyone.  Refreshments and all materials are provided and it costs £25.00


Later on 21st November, from 2.00 until 4.00you can have fun in our Make your own Christmas Wrapping Papersession.  Costing £25.00 it includes all materials and refreshements. Delight your friends and family with some original, hand printed Christmas wrapping paper. This fun and informal workshop, led by artist Sara Cooper, is suitable for everyone.       


You have the chance to relax at this often hectic time of year at our Christmas lateevents on the 4thand 18thofDecember, where you get free entryto the Museum from 5.00 to 8.00.  Wander at your leisure around the festively decorated collections and galleries, before heading to Café Bowes to enjoy something sumptuously seasonal from the Christmas menu and picking up some beautiful gifts from our fabulous festive gift shop.  


Don’t forget that Santa’s making time in his busy schedule to come to the Museum this December.  Come and join us for a truly magical family experience at Santa’s enchanted wonderland grottofrom the 5thto the 23rd oDecember.  You’ll be given your very own crafty pack by his friendly elves in his toy workshop as you wait to see him, then he’ll complete the magic by giving eligible children an early Christmas present.  Slots are filling up fast so book yours now!   


The feel good event of the season is back as the ever-popular outdoor Christmas Marketreturns to the grounds of the Museum from 10.00 til 4.00,on the 11th, 12th and 13th  of December, with the sights, smells and sounds of festivities around you.

This not to be missed highlight of the regional calendar boasts over 60 local stall holders, producing artisan wares that are bound to please even the fussiest person you have to buy for.  Fabulous food, wonderful drinks and unique crafts are on offer every day, so there really is something for everyone who visits this festive event. With reduced-price entry, free to passholders, it's a fantastic way to see the Museum and galleries decorated for Christmas too.

Don't forget Cafe Bowes also has some sumptuously seasonal delights to warm you up and there are gifts a plenty in the Museum's shop too.  Book your tickets now for this fantastic festive event.


Visitors to the Barnard Castle based Museum will also be able to see Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection until 17 January 2021 and enjoy the Pre-Raphaelite Knights: Reinventing the Medieval Worldexhibition until 8 November 2020 before it is replaced by Regenerationby Martin Kinnear from 21 November to 28 February 2021. Paul Scott’s New American Sceneryis also on display until 28thFebruary 2021.


Admission to the Museum is now by advance booking, tickets for timed entry slots are available from the Museum website: or by calling 01833 690606.


The Museum has been awarded VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go certification. There are hand sanitisation stations and signage reminding people to adhere to social distancing placed around the Museum and gardens.


The Museum is open from 10 to 5 daily and only closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.




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 National Portfolio Organisation 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,











Categories: News

The Bowes Museum is looking forward to welcoming you on the 17 May

Staff have been busy behind the Museum’s closed doors getting everything ready to welcome visitors back safely.

Café Bowes has undergone a refurbishment and has a new menu waiting to be sampled, the Museum has been deep cleaned, new signage is in place reminding you to adhere to social distancing, hand sanitisation stations have been refilled, the shop has been restocked and staff are being trained ready to greet you back in a safe and timely manner.

North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions is now hanging in the main exhibition gallery ready to wow visitors through to January 2022 and, due to social distancing measures, entry to the display will be by a separate timed exhibition entrance ticket that needs to be booked, at no extra cost, before visiting. Song has also been reinstated in the Music Room so people can enjoy the sound of the instruments. A varied programme of activity is being planned throughout May and June which we hope you will participate in.

Entry to the Museum will be by timed slots and tickets will have to be pre-booked online here or by calling 01833 690606. The Museum will be open from 10.00 to 5.00 daily. Masks will need to be worn throughout the Museum, shop and café, except when eating or where exemptions apply.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon!