Keep mischief at bay with half term fun at The Bowes Museum

Keep mischief at bay with half term fun at The Bowes Museum

There's lots for everyone to see and do from 23 October to 31 October

There’s lots happening at The Bowes Museum this October half term to keep both children and the young at heart out of mischief!


The Barnard Castle based Museum in County Durham is kicking off its Halloween entertainment with Clara the Ghostbuster events on Saturday 23 October and Monday 25 October from 11am to 3pm.  Join us in helping Clara the rhino get ready for Halloween by making some ghostly crafts that you can take home in readiness for your own spooky celebrations.


The creative thinker Dave Bramston’s returning with his online sessions that help boost your creative prowess!  His Get Creative – Have a go – Manipulate, Explore, Play 50 minute long sessions take place on Sunday 24th October, Wednesday 27th October and Thursday 28th October from 5.30 to 6.20pm.  It’s a chance for those over 16 to programme their brain to think like a genius and look at how ideas are generated with short simple hands on activities.  No specialist equipment or knowledge needed! It costs £5 and bursary places are available.


Take part in playful sessions exploring light and dark in our Midnight Reflections, Clara meets Monet activities on Tuesday 26th October and Thursday 28th October from 11am to 3pm. Take inspiration from the Museum’s collection of paintings to create your own moonlit scene with a variety of different materials.


The ever popular LEGO® Wedo 2 Robotics and Coding workshops return on Tuesday 26th October, Wednesday 27th October, Thursday 28th October and Saturday 13th November from 10.30 – 11.30am and then 1 – 2pm where you can explore coding and make your LEGO model come alive.  Race each other and have fun! Booking is essential as space is limited to 5 families per session. £4 per family


Let the kids let their hair down in our Halloween Themed Drama Workshop led by Mad Alice Theatre Company on Friday 29th October from 10am – 4pm.  Suitable for unaccompanied children aged 8 – 12, with a maximum of 12 spaces, costing £12 a child including lunch.  Children can act out fun characters like Giant Trolls, Silly Witches or Brave Soldiers who save the captured Sailors from being eaten by Antigoog, the Giant of all the Giant Trolls!  The workshop’s inspired by the legend behind the name of Antwerp and the Museum’s painting The Cattle Market in Antwerp featured in the Clara exhibition.


The Museum becomes a hive of Halloween excitement on our Spooky Family Fun Day on Saturday 30th October from 11am – 3pm. Our younger visitors can make a witch’s broom, a magic lantern or create a potion and take part in Magic Andrew’s workshop. 


Eight year olds and over can also have a go at Willow Lantern making on Saturday 30th October from 11am – 12.30pm and from 1.30 – 3pm.  Artist Suzanna Williams will show you how to make your own willow lantern to use in the Museum’s lantern parade later that evening. All materials will be provided and children must be accompanied at all times.


Bring a lantern, pumpkin or torch to join in our mysterious lantern parade around the grounds on Saturday 30 October from 5 – 7pm.  Watch out for surprises along our spooky trail, which starts at the Lodge House, and be prepared for a fright or two!  A pop up refreshment stand will be available to buy some yummy delights to warm you up!


And the Museum’s Young Curators will be in the outdoor classroom from 5 – 6.30pm on Saturday 30th October leading some drop in mask making and consequences drawing games.


Don’t forget there are just a few weeks left to enjoy the adventures of Clara exhibition complete with trails around the Museum and grounds.  Discover why this special rhinoceros left her home in India to travel to Europe in the 18th century and how she inspired poems, paintings and sculptures, just like the Museum’s very own!  See, hear and even smell how she lived as well as how to save rhinos for the future.  The last day to enjoy this exciting family exhibition is Sunday 31st October.


Looking ahead, mark Saturday 20th November on the calendar to join in the Museum’s Giant Cosy Kindness Quilt Family Fun Day.  From 10.30am – 4pm get cosy and help make a Giant Kindness Quilt.  With workshops for all ages, we encourage visitors to sew, stick, print or paint squares to make the biggest, most vibrant quilt in the Museum.  A challenge for young and old, join us as the quilt grows through the day and add your special touch.


Join us for a Super Saturday on 27th November, where visitors can enjoy a day of crafty workshops centred around our fabulously festive 12 days of Christmas trail.  These drop in events are suitable for children over three and will take place between 10.30am and 12.30pm and then again from 1 to 3.30pm.


Onto December and visitors can celebrate all things Christmassy at The Bowes Museum. Santa’s made time in his busy schedule to return to the Museum again this year.  Follow our fabulously festive 12 days of Christmas trail before joining the merry elves in his workshop and creating some seasonal crafts ahead of receiving an early gift from Santa himself in our Enchanted Wonderland Grotto!  He’ll be here from 1 to 16 December, Wednesday to Friday, 3 to 4.30pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4.30pm and again from 20 to 23 December, 10am to 4.30pm and on Christmas Eve, from 10am to 2pm from £15 a child.


The Christmas Late events return on Fridays the 3rd and 10th of December, where from 5.30pm until 9.30pm you get free entry to the Museum to help you get in the Christmas spirit early and enjoy wandering at your leisure after hours in the galleries.  On the 3rd, the Blue Picture Gallery will be closed for the Friends of the Bowes Museum’s Christmas Carol Concert, tickets are available separately for that event.  And on the 10th you can find out what goes on behind the scenes in the staging of an exhibition as Dr Mark Westgarth chairs a conversation at 6pm between the Museum’s Exhibition’s Manager, George Harris and Collection’s Manager, Dr Jane Whittaker on how they put on the SOLD! Exhibition Dr Westgarth curated in 2019.  Make a night of it and enjoy something seasonally sumptuous on both nights from Café Bowes and don’t forget to pick up some beautiful presents from our fabulous festive gift shop.  There’s the also the chance to see Santa on both occasions too.


Join our Christmas Elf Craft Workshop on Saturday 4 December, from 10.30am to 4.00pm, where our team of sparkly elves will show you how to create a magical Elf house and a family of elves or fairies.


And enjoy A Christmas Day Out With The Bowes Museum – Virtual Family Fun Day on

Saturday 11 December, from 10am to 1pm where you can join our merry elves from the comfort of your own home as they guide you through a series of fun craft activities live from the Museum’s galleries at 10am, 11and an 12 noon via Zoom. Create your own Christmas tree decoration, pop up Christmas card and Jolly Snowman inspired by objects in the collection. You will also find out more about how and when these objects were made during the live links. Craft kits with art materials will be posted prior to this event, tickets including postage for the craft pack are £5 and have to be booked by Friday 26 November.


The ever popular Christmas Market returns from Friday 17 to Sunday 19th December from 10am to 4pm. With reduced price entry for £5 for adults and £2.50 for children or free to annual pass holders and Friends of the Bowes Museum; the Market has more than 70 artisan stalls selling wares from across the region both inside the Museum’s galleries and on the parterre garden which promise to help you find the perfect gift for even the fussiest person!  From 10am to 3.30pm throughout the Market, you can complete the magic by popping in to see Santa for a quick visit in his enchanted Grotto and get an early Christmas present for £5 a child.


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