I live in one of the most beautiful areas of the UK; the North East of England. If you haven’t been and you’ve heard that we’re all flat caps and whippets, do pay us a visit, as we have some beautiful countryside, castles and a lot of culture too. The Bowes Museum is on my doorstep and it’s one of my favourite places.

The Bowes Museum is located in Barnard Castle in County Durham. In 2019 it’s celebrating its 125th anniversary. It was the brain child of John and Josephine Bowes. He was a rich landowner, racehorse owner and former MP for South Durham who inherited wealth based on collieries and vast estates on the death of his father, the 10th Earl of Strathmore in 1820.

Josephine was a French actress and they met in Paris on one of Johns many trips looking for art. They married in Paris in 1852 – an unusual outcome, as men rarely married their mistresses.

The museum itself was designed by French architect Jules Pellechet and mirrors the museums created in France in the nineteenth century. It is an amazing building set in the Teesdale countryside.

It is home to paintings by Van Gogh and Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto. The Silver Swan automaton is the most famous exhibit in the museum. It recently appeared at The Science Museum in London as one of the earliest robots.

Walks around the Bowes Museum

Getting some fresh air after your visit is easy as there’s plenty to explore. I’ve picked my top three routes below:

Park and gardens: in the formal park and gardens you can picnic, stroll, try out climbing frames, slides, bucket swings and stepping stones as a family. The woodland walk also has accessible wheelchair and buggy friendly paths.

Bowes East circular: this is an easy 3.5 mile circular stroll that should take between 1-2 hours. It’s a great way to extend the day.

For longer legs: here’s a 5.6 mile route crossing paths, fields, bridges and farmhouses. There’s a lot of history on this one too, with visits to Egglestone Abbey,  Boldron Well and Blagraves House.

What footwear?

In terms of footwear, Meindl Tonale are currently on my wish-list. They are on my wish-list as they’re perfect for this kind of day out, but I’m in need of a second pair (I have a wonderful dog who loves the boots so much, he recently decided to take a chunk out of the back…).