Plan a Visit

Plan a Visit

Plan a Visit

How do I book a Secondary School visit?

To discuss a visit and make a booking please call 01833 694602 or email  During busy periods you may need to leave a message. Please be patient and be assured that we will return your call or respond to your enquiry as soon as possible. When you contact us please have the following information to hand: 

  • Workshop required 

  • Choice of dates 

  • Number of pupils and accompanying adults 

  • Year group 

  • Any learning needs or access requirements that we should know about prior to your visit 

  • School address and telephone number 

  • Contact email address 

A room is available for lunches and must be booked. Please note that there is great demand for this and early booking is strongly advised. After booking you will receive an email confirmation and completed booking form. We aim to do this as quickly as possible but during busy times this may take a while. Please check the details carefully and get back to us if there are any errors.


More about your visit

Once a booking is made a hazard identification form will be included in the confirmation email. In addition, teachers are able to book a free previsit via the education team to explore the Museum and its facilities prior to the visit.  

Please note that teachers are responsible for the behaviour of their group at all times during their visit. Please read the Museum rules and ensure they are shared with all accompanying adults.


Booking queries

If you have a query about your visit, phone 01833 694602. If you wish to cancel two weeks notice, is required, otherwise a fee will be incurred.


Tips on planning a visit

  • Have several alternative dates ready when you phone or email 

  • Have your contact details to hand when you book 

  • Book the lunch room. During the summer The Bowes Museum has large child friendly grounds which can be available for picnic lunches – this does not need to be booked. 

  • Book your session before you book transport 


Is there a charge for school sessions?  

Yes. See below – prices are exclusive of VAT.


Education Workshops KS3/4

Full day session (10.00-2.00) £6.50 per pupil, includes materials.

Half day session (10.00-11.30 or 12.30-2.00) £4.50 per pupil.

Self-Guided Visits

Self-guided visits must be booked through the Education Department and include an education space where available. Under 16: £2.00 per pupil /16-18: £6.00 per student.

Free Pre-Visit for Teachers

You and a guest are welcome to visit the Museum free of charge to help you prepare for your visit. Please telephone in advance to book your place and ensure you are not charged.


What if I have to cancel?

We require a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice for cancellation of sessions for payment not to be levied.


Is The Bowes Museum accessible for wheelchair users?

Yes, it is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Disabled parking is at the rear of the Museum and the accessible entrance is to the side of the building. Lifts ensure access to all levels in the Museum. Please let the education team know your access requirements at the time of booking. 


What if we arrive late?

If you are delayed, please telephone us on 01833 690606. Please plan to arrive about 10-15 minutes before the start of your session to allow time to visit the lavatories and to put coats and lunches away. If you arrive late, your gallery educator may not be able to offer you a full workshop.


How many adults should we bring?

As accompanying adults are not charged admission we advise schools to bring as many adults as possible. Durham County Council advises the following ratios:
Key Stage 3, 4 and 5: 1 adult to every 15 – 20 students 
Teachers are responsible for the behaviour of their group at all times during their visit so please remind your group not to touch objects, run, shout or eat and drink in the galleries.  


Can we draw in the galleries?

Yes, but drawing should be done with pencils only.  


Can we take photographs in the Museum?

Yes, without a flash. In some temporary exhibitions photography is prohibited – please check with the education team at the time of booking.  


Can we go to the shop?

Yes, school groups are welcome to visit the shop during the lunch hour or after a workshop. Owing to space restrictions it is recommended that five students, with an accompanying adult, visit at one time.

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Information about closing

19 March 2020

Unfortunately, due to the continuing development of the Coronavirus situation, The Bowes Museum is now closed until further notice. The health and wellbeing of both our customers and our staff is our priority.

Where events can be rescheduled we will endeavour to do so but please be assured that all ticket holders for cancelled events have options on refunds and can contact, however by not requesting a refund you would be making an exceptionally generous and much appreciated charitable donation to The Bowes Museum during these unprecedented times.

Whilst the Museum is closed, we will be working on other ways of sharing our story and collection via our digital platforms. Stay posted for online videos, conversations and more.

We thank you for your patience and your continued support for The Bowes Museum during this unpredictable time. We hope to come back to you with a reopening date shortly, for now, please stay safe and help protect the vulnerable.

25 March 2020

It is with great sadness that The Bowes Museum has taken the decision to temporarily close all gates to the grounds following a spate of vandalism around the parkland.

Since the Museum closed on Wednesday 18 March the benches in the story area have been damaged, the totem pole pulled over and broken, there have been attempts to pull out outdoor trail markers and branches have been pulled down and plants uprooted.

The Museum is working with the police to find the perpetrators of these actions. PC Michael Banks of Durham Constabulary said "This is a shameful piece of criminal damage within the grounds of a historical location in Barnard Castle anyone with information please contact Durham Constabulary quoting reference number DHM23032020-0189"

The Director of The Bowes Museum, Adrian Jenkins, said: "It is a shame that the actions of a few will have an impact on many but this closure also ties in with the latest government advice to stay at home to help restrict the spread of coronavirus and the Museum is following in the footsteps of other organisations who have closed gated parks and gardens.

There are tips from our education officer on the Museum's social media platforms for keeping the kids, and yourselves, entertained while in isolation and we'll be updating the website regularly with new and exciting information about the collection.

In the meantime, please keep safe and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Museum and grounds when it reopens."

You can keep up to date with developments here or on our Facebook and Twitter.

We’ll be back…