Weddings at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle

Everything you need to know about tying the knot in the North’s chateau-style Museum of art, fashion and design.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 10.02.2022


A French-style chateau set within the rolling landscape of the Durham Dales, surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens and filled with an internationally-renowned collection of art, you say? Where could be a better wedding venue than The Bowes Museum…



What’s special about getting married at The Bowes Museum?

The Bowes Museum is a magnificent French-style chateau built on a foundation of love – the love between founders John and Joséphine Bowes. They wanted to share the wonderful treasures they had collected throughout their lives with everyone from far and wide to enrich their lives. They chose this beautiful setting to create a spectacular gem right in the heart of Teesdale, tucked away in the Durham Dales.

Set in 21 acres of parkland, the Museum boasts a very special entrance and stunning gallery space, along with a manicured formal parterre garden and fountain which will all leave your wedding guests in awe.

Can couples choose which room they get married in at The Bowes Museum?

Each wedding is catered to the couple’s individual needs, but the main rooms we use are the Jubilee Room, the Music Room and the Blue Picture Gallery, depending on guest numbers. Drinks receptions can be held on the terrace in the summer, where you can see right into the Yorkshire Dales. And for larger wedding parties, we can also offer Marquee receptions in the grounds.



Couples have their own wedding co-ordinator at The Bowes Museum. What help can they offer?

We’re a small but perfectly formed Wedding & Events team here at the Museum. Each of our couples can rest assured that there’s always someone on hand to offer support or answer any questions that arise.

We can help with everything from the initial enquiry, to catering options, discussing ideas, suggesting trusted suppliers or providing a whole package where everything is organised in-house. We always provide on-the-day support along with our friendly front-of-house team, too.

Tell us about the food and hospitality offering at The Bowes Museum.

We have a brilliant in-house catering team who provide delicious options from canapés and wedding breakfasts to buffets, grazing tables and more. Our set menus are designed seasonally to make the best use of local produce. Couples are encouraged to book taster sessions before their wedding to enjoy some of the dishes they and their guests will be served on the day. We also provide an in-house bar and, whether our couples want Champagne or personalised cocktails, we can   cater for all needs.



The Bowes Museum’s internationally-renowned collection of art makes it an incredible venue for history and art lovers. But what about the Museum appeals to a wider demographic? 

Obviously the art is a huge draw for some of our couples. The Bowes Museum is often referred to as the ‘V&A of the North’ and offers something magnificent for art lovers here in the North East.

For others, it’s the grandeur of the Museum itself which offers a stunning backdrop for their special day, along with a truly romantic and classic feel. The Museum was created to be accessible to all and we love that about it. It’s steeped in history, contains thousands of amazing artefacts and is open for everyone to come and enjoy!

How does the venue lend itself to wedding photography?

The Bowes Museum couldn’t be more romantic, impressive or dramatic for wedding photography at any time of year. With rolling stone staircases, the stunning picture galleries, the beautifully manicured parterre garden and fountain and the tree-lined walkways, there are so many parts of the Museum and grounds to explore and they’re always changing with the seasons.



Is there capacity for live entertainment and dancing?

Yes! There’s always space for entertainment and dancing at the evening reception. We encourage our couples to consider music for their ceremony or drinks reception too; a brilliant harpist or pianist can be a beautiful addition.

Can couples incorporate the Museum’s famous Silver Swan into their ceremony?!

The beautiful Silver Swan is a very special attraction at the Museum and such a wonderful piece to see. She’s now in her own gallery and can be viewed throughout the day alongside a fantastic video showing the delicacy of her restoration and conservation.

Whilst she’s not currently in action due to her conservation, wedding guests would be encouraged to go and see her, whether on their way into the ceremony or during the drinks reception.

A bonus for couples getting married here is that they get complimentary admission to the Museum until their first anniversary. Why is The Bowes Museum a venue couples can return to time and again?

We love it when our couples come back and spend time reminiscing about their special day. Our friendly front-of-house team will always be here to welcome them and, with regularly changing exhibitions and lots of exciting events, there’s always something new to see or do. They can always pop to Café Bowes for a delicious lunch or afternoon tea to mark the occasion, too.

What do you wish more couples knew about getting married at The Bowes Museum?

Because we’re not a dedicated wedding venue, we have a very flexible approach. All weddings are special to us, but no two are ever the same. We only ever hold one wedding per day and are happy to work with couples who may only want a ceremony, as well as those who want their full day here. We’ll look after them from their first enquiry right through to waving them off at the end of their day!



For more information about getting married at The Bowes Museum, email [email protected].

Visit the website and follow the Museum on Facebook and Instagram.

The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP.

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