Christmas at The Bowes Museum
Christmas at The Bowes Museum

Christmas at The Bowes Museum

Enjoy the magic of Christmas at The Bowes Museum this December.


Let your senses come alive as the Museum in Barnard Castle resounds with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the festive season.


With the galleries and halls decorated with trees and garlands, a 12 days of Christmas festive trail, the return of Santa Claus and the ever popular Christmas Market, there’s lots to see and do!


To everyone’s delight, Santa has made space in his busy calendar to return to the Museum every Wednesday to Sunday from the 1st until the 24th of December.


Santa’s friendly elves will welcome lucky youngsters to his wonderful workshop, where they can gaze at the marvellous toys in the windows while creating Christmas crafts to take home from a special pack they’ll be given when they arrive.


Then they’ll be led down a snow covered corridor with trees glistening in the candle light before meeting Santa all cosy in his sitting room.


Once there, they can tell Santa if they think they’ve been naughty or nice and what they’d like for Christmas before receiving an extra special early Christmas present.


Tickets to see Santa in his winter wonderland grotto go on sale on Saturday 11th September.   They are available from the Museum’s website: and cost £15 per child, which includes admission for two adults. 


Another highlight of the regional calendar returns with the annual Christmas Market from the 17th until the 19th of December, from 10am until 4pm daily. 


There will be dozens of artisan makers and specialist traders from around the region selling a wide selection of wares both inside the Museum’s galleries and outside on the parterre garden.  


Tickets to see Santa at the Christmas Market are £5 per child, which include a quick meet and greet with Santa and a gift but no craft.  Admission must be bought for entry to the Christmas Market, which will be at a discounted rate of £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, under 5’s free and free to annual pass holders.  Parking on site can be pre-booked for £5.00 a car.  To book a trade stand please contact:


The Museum also has lots of family events in the run up to Christmas including fun Elf Craft workshops on Saturday 4th of December.  In hourly sessions from 10.30am until 4pm, families can discover how to make a magical Elf house and elves or fairies for £5 per family.


And on Saturday 11th of December the Museum will once again be holding a Virtual Family Fun Day, A Christmas Day Out At The Bowes Museum.  From 10am until 1pm participants can join in creating their own Christmas tree decoration, a pop up Christmas card and a jolly snowman, as the elves take inspiration from different objects in the Museum’s collection to guide them through the process at home.  It costs £5 to join in and that includes postage for a craft pack containing art materials needed to take part.


All of these events together with the return of Christmas lates and scrumptious Christmas specials in Café Bowes means there really does promise to be something for everyone at The Bowes Museum this festive season.


The Bowes Museum is open every day (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) from 10am to 5pm.  Entry to Café Bowes and the Museum shop is free.




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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