Play Hard

Here’s why you should visit The Bowes Museum this Christmas

From Christmas markets and special visits from Santa to festive nights behind closed doors and decadent dining… Here’s why you should visit Barnard Castle’s magical museum this festive season.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 30.11.2021

Advertisement Feature


Friday 3rd December, 5.30pm

Think Night At The Museum in the North East… If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit nice and early, then head along to The Bowes Museum for their Christmas late event, where you get free entry to the Museum from 5.30pm to 9.30pm.

Wander around at your leisure and explore the festively decorated collections and galleries as a harpist serenades your stroll, before heading to Café Bowes to enjoy something sumptuously seasonal from the Christmas menu. Pick up some beautiful gifts from their fabulous festive gift shop (with discount on the night), be dazzled by some seasonal entertainment from live dancers and, if you fancy enjoying some carols, book tickets for their special The Friends’ of The Bowes Museum’s Christmas Carol Concert in The Blue Picture Gallery.

More info and tickets


Friday 10th December, 5.30pm

The second of The Bowes Museum’s Christmas Late events sees much of the same festive fun and revelry, but with the added bonus of being able to find out what goes on behind the scenes to create an exhibition – by joining the SOLD! conversation between Dr Mark Westgarth (who curated the SOLD! exhibition in 2019,) Dr Jane Whittaker, the Museum’s Collection’s Manager, and George Harris, the Museum’s Exhibition’s Manager.

HLN Top Tip: Head along to either of The Bowes Museum’s Christmas Late events and enjoy 10% off in their shop.

More info and tickets


Until Wednesday 5th January, 2022

Embark on a festive adventure around The Bowes Museum this winter and see the famous carol, 12 Days of Christmas, come alive before your very eyes – thanks to a little help from the museum’s collections. You can even complete challenges as you go…


1st – 24th December

Santa has made time in his busy schedule to return to The Bowes Museum again this year. Follow the fabulously festive 12 days of Christmas display before joining the merry elves in the big man’s workshop and creating some seasonal crafts, ahead of receiving an early gift from Santa himself in the enchanted grotto. We know there are a load of Santa meet and greets out there, but few are in a more magical setting than here.

Tickets are £15 per child and include a Santa experience and admission to the Museum for up to two adults.

Book your experience here


Friday 17th – Sunday 19th December

The galleries and grounds of The Bowes Museum are set to come alive with the sights, sounds and seasonal fragrances of their annual Christmas Market.

A firm favourite in the regional calendar, the event hosts around 90 stalls selling a wide variety of wares from artisan makers and small businesses around the region – which is why it’s always marked in HLN’s calendar. You know we love to shop at our independents and could peruse these locally-made wares all weekend long.

The market is open from 10am–4pm every day. Tickets are £5.00 for adults and £2.50 for children.

 Book your tickets here

 Book to see Santa at The Christmas Market here

Please note that there will be an onsite parking charge of £5.00 per vehicle. If you require a free disabled parking space, call 01833 690606 to reserve a space. Otherwise, book your parking here



Every fairy needs a set of wings! Take yours and fly away to shady glade… Next to the Lodge at The Bowes Museum, just by the gates, you will see some little steps. Where will they take you? To Sparkle and Shine hiding under a tree…

Where there is kindness there is goodness, and where there is goodness – there is magic! The Bowes Museum’s Woodland Fairy Trail is a sure-fire winner for kids of all ages this holiday season.

Fairy Trail



If you’re anything like us, the food we find on our plates in December only is a huge part of the holidays. And all those seasonal shenanigans are sure to have you working up an appetite. So, you’ll be delighted to know that there’s plenty of festive feasting to be found at The Bowes Museum, too.

Take their Christmas menu, for example, which will be served in Café Bowes until Christmas Eve. We think you’ll agree that Terrine of Teesdale Game with cranberry puree and spiced pear chutney, Butter Roast Turkey with chestnut and caramelised onion stuffing and all the trimmings, Christmas Pudding with brandy sauce and poached pear, followed by a cheeky cheeseboard made with super-local cheeses and homemade chutney all sounds like Christmas on a plate, does it not?

Just fancy popping in for a light bite? Doesn’t mean it can’t be a seasonal snack. Café Bowes’ Winter Menu has plenty more tantalising tastes for you to indulge in, such as Butternut Squash Risotto, Bowes Rarebit and Brown Sugar Meringue with vanilla poached pear and Chantilly cream. And that’s before we’ve even mentioned their Afternoon Tea offering, which serves up only the most sensational sandwiches, scones and sweet treats alongside Rington’s Tea or Fairtrade coffee.

Browse the menus here

Other stories by Becky Hardy

We went to the opening of Lilidorei at The Alnwick Garden

Becky Hardy

7 of the best summer rosés under £10

Becky Hardy

13 of our favourite bottle shops and wine bars in Newcastle

Becky Hardy

What’s on in Newcastle this bank holiday weekend

Becky Hardy
Ouseburn Family Pride 2023 LGBTQIA+ Newcastle upon Tyne

What’s on at Ouseburn Family Pride 2023

Becky Hardy

7 adults-only craft workshops in Newcastle and Gateshead this month

Becky Hardy