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Pocket Guide: Barnard Castle Bowes Museum Hotels

The Bowes Museum offers one of the most comprehensive collections of European art in Britain, showcasing thousands of masterpieces from critically acclaimed artists. The museum is in the picturesque market town of Barnard Castle, near the edge of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is close to several charming inns and bed and breakfast venues in the town, as well as other hotels in nearby Bishop Auckland and Darlington.

More about the Bowes Museum

The collection is divided into several themed galleries ranging from the decorative arts to fashion and textiles. You can also visit the John and Joséphine Galleries, which includes the early collections of the museum's founders, John Bowes and his wife Joséphine. These galleries also features many of the luxury furniture items that John and Joséphine had collected when they lived in the Château du Barry near Paris in the mid-19th century.

Housed in a Charismatic French-Style Château

Before you've even set foot in this museum, it's impossible not to admire the beauty of the building itself, which was designed in the late-19th century by the acclaimed French architect Jules Pellechet, who also designed several Neo-Classical buildings in Paris.

See the Famous Silver Swan

Dating back to the late-18th century, The Silver Swan is a unique musical automation comprising a life-sized swan with clockwork mechanisms that can be wound up to allow the music to play. John Bowes purchased the Silver Swan from the eminent Parisian jeweller M. Briquet in 1872, after having been captivated by the item when it was showcased at the Paris International Exposition in 1867.

Relax at the Bowes Museum's Wonderful Grounds

The parks and gardens are also designed in a charismatic French theme, and include scenic woodland walks, children's play facilities, and plenty of open space for picnics. The grounds are often used for theatre performances, markets and other festivals, and are particularly rich in bird life.

With WiFi available in virtually every hotel room near the Bowes Museum, you'll have no problem researching other local places of interest and upcoming events. Many rooms are also equipped with en-suite bathrooms, mini-bars, and tea and coffee-making facilities.

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