The Bowes Museum Christmas Market to go ahead!

The Bowes Museum Christmas Market to go ahead!

11th, 12th and 13th December 2020

The Bowes Museum is delighted to announce that it has been given the go ahead for its annual Christmas Market to return this year, despite the Museum itself being closed due to the region being placed in Tier 3.


Museum staff have liaised with Durham County Council so the ever-popular event, which takes place from 10 til 4 on the 11th, 12thand 13th of December can continue.


Visitors will be able to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas as they wander around more than 50 stalls on the Museum’s terrace and parterre garden.


Santa will also be there on Saturday and Sunday, and for £5 you can receive a craft pack and present for your child, reserve your gifts on the website: or by calling 01833 690606.


This not to be missed highlight of the regional calendar boasts 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 throughout the event.  With stall holders selling a wide selection of goods ranging from, among others: handmade prints, quilts and wreaths, to cheese, cosmetics, ceramics and curry sauces and lots of yummy homemade food and drinks too.


The miniature carousel that children enjoyed last year also returns and will be safely operated and regularly cleaned in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines as well as providing festive music for the occasion.


Rosie Bradford, The Bowes Museum’s public events co-ordinator, said: “We are really pleased that we’ve been given the green light to go ahead with the outdoor Christmas Market. This event is the highlight of the festive shopping calendar for many people and we’re really pleased to be able to give visitors the chance to support small traders, many of whom have had a really difficult year and help them thrive into next year as well as give the traders an opportunity to do what they love and sell their wares.


“We’ve put extra measures in place to ensure people attending the Christmas Market will be safe, including staggering entry times to ensure a smooth flow of people into the grounds, more sanitising stations around the grounds, increased signage asking people to socially distance and we are also working closely with traders to ensure they are operating to a high standard. All visitors and staff will be required to wear a face covering at all times too. Our team and St John Ambulance will also be there to offer any assistance too.”


Visitors will also be able to see if they can spot some of the ceramics that have been hidden in the grounds as part of the Teesdale Ceramics Pot Advent Trail.


Entry to the Christmas Market is £5 for adults, £2.50 for children or free for annual pass holders and Friends of The Bowes Museum. Tickets must be pre-booked. Car parking is available on site for £5 or free to blue badge holders and must be pre-booked too. 


Admission 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 signs reminding people to adhere to social distancing placed around the gardens.


The Museum building is currently closed due to County Durham being in tier 3 of the government’s coronavirus restrictions but the grounds are open from 10 to 4 daily.


For more information please see our website:




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 grounds are open!

Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Café Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.