Feeling rather festive, human and I decided to go to a Christmas market. I’m still a bit nervous about bring in a crowd, so I decided going off the beaten track would be best. So I got up early and headed off into County Durham. Bowes museum is hidden in the beautiful town of Barnard Castle an area I haven’t visited before. Wrinkly human had told me of the beauty of the area. Teesdale is the perfect combination of the lake district, Yorkshire and durham.
I would say it was a lovely drive through the countryside but it was really foggy! Instead I had a snooze so I would wake up refreshed and ready to explore. Bowes museum is huge and regal, though there was a £5 charge to park whilst the market was on. Disabled badge holders had free entry. Entry to the Christmas market, both indoor and outdoor, and the exhibits was £5. Wearing my Christmas jumper I couldn’t wait to go and be christmassy.
I was expecting crowds, so I chose to explore the indoor areas first. Starting with the top floor. I had the whole building practically to myself. The Christmas decorations were beautiful, I’m so glad I was able to experience them without the crowds. The trees which twinkled on the staircase were my favourite because they reflected in the grand mirror.
The second floor is home to a rather famous resident. A 240 year old silver swan who moves elegantly. Though it was not working during my visit. The rest of the second floor was taken up by rooms filled with paintings. Christmas songs were floating around the Christmas stalls in both rooms. Though the stalls were lovely, I preferred exploring the museum. Each room was filled with so many interesting things, I was really surprised they had no dinosaurs.
I found a spot in the corner of the first floor which was serene. The giant windows let in lots of winter sunshine. The vintage chairs made a great spot for watching the humans in the outdoor Christmas market. The rest of the first floor was village with elegant Christmas decorations, I loved spotting the presents Santa had left under the various Christmas trees. I was so excited to find out I could visit the quilt exhibition and also go and see the designer clothes. My photographer was not allowed in these exhibits because I didn’t want to go shopping after our day here.
It was starting to get busy in the museum, so I headed outside into the crispy December weather. The front of the museum had a lot of food stalls which didn’t interest me. I also didn’t like seeing the Shetland ponies tied up in a really tiny pen. For a company claiming to be looking after horses, I thought this was a pretty poor example of their work. I did some posing next to the frozen fountain but my photographer was getting hangry.
To get away from the Christmas crowds we headed into Barnard Castle with the noble aim of finding food. There were not as many places as I had imagined, but I found a themed cafe which had lots of homemade cakes. The mad hatter’s tea room was alice in wonderland themed. The coffee and croissant was delicious and kept me going whilst my photographer went shopping (I won’t bore you with the details).
Driving home, we took a wrong turn. It had a beautiful result. We drove through the fog, up a huge hill. Finally finding a place to stop I saw a cloud inversion. The smell was horrendous but 100% worth it. It was truly one of the highlights of my year, I’d assumed I wouldn’t see something like this as they only appear really high up mountains.
I had a great Christmas day and now I’m really excited for Santa to come.
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