Pictures as crowds flock to Bowes Museum Christmas Market

Thousands of festive shoppers descended on The Bowes Museum for its annual Christmas market.

With some seasonal markets canceled amid the cold snap, the French chateau-style purpose-built public museum near Barnard Castle made the perfect destination for a fun day out with friends and family to search out unique and handmade gifts.

Event organizers described this year’s Christmas market as the biggest and most visitor-friendly yet, with more than 120 traders displaying their wares for the three-day event that started on Friday and ran until yesterday (Sunday December 18).

Specialist tracking was fitted over the gravel walkways around the outdoor stalls on the parterre garden to make it more easily accessible.

Galleries and grounds of the museum were filled with the sights, sounds, tastes and aromas of the festive season.

The market opened for six hours each day with a large selection of stalls to wander around and pick up bargains and Christmas goodies from, as visitors enjoyed live festive music and entertainment which added to the festive atmosphere.

Each trader was handpicked to provide their distinct offerings, so whether visitors were looking for that extra special gift for a loved one, yummy treats for their Christmas spread or a festive tipple, there was plenty on offer to suit all tastes.

It ranged from Christmas decorations and cards, handmade ceramics, fine and quirky jewellery, hand-drawn fine art, candles, clothing, stationery, skin care, soap, leather goods, hats, vases and ornaments for around the home, pet clothing and supplies too, to name just a few.

Among the food and drinks offerings were homemade cakes and brownies, jams, condiments, chocolate, cheese, honey, pies, sausages, meats, pancakes, burgers, pizza, Italian sweets, halloumi fries, spirits, liquers, beers, tea and coffees, not forgetting the warming mulled wine.

As well as supporting The Bowes Museum as a charity, visitors could also find out about other charities in the area including: The Friends of The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle Rotary Club, Durham Wildlife Trust, the Great North Air Ambulance Service, the RSPB, Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Center and Here4Horses.

The live festive music and entertainment was performed by the Rhapsody choir and Andreas Ensemble, on Saturday, and by No Added Sugar, the Melanie Edmundson School of Dance, Nigel, Kev and Friends choir and Rosie Bradshaw and pupils.

The Castle Players also provided entertainment at different times over the weekend with a town crier making occasional proclamations.

Visitors were also able to enjoy the museum’s artistic collection and see the Raymond Briggs retrospective exhibition now running at The Bowes.

Further details of the museum’s displays and festive opening times are available via the museum’s website,, or by calling (01833) 690606.

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