Sunday, 26 February 2012

A Holiday in Stockton on Tees

DH and I have just returned home from a jolly to Stockton on Tees in the north east of England.  This is quite a strange place for a holiday, positioned in a very industrial area of the country but we found a lot of interesting things to do.  I'm just sorting out my photographs but here's a quick taster of what we got up to:

Our first day out was to the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle,
"Purpose built in the 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum has a wonderful story to tell.  John Bowes was a successful businessman who travelled to Paris in 1847 to explore his interest in the arts. It was here he bought a theatre and met the Parisian actress Joséphine Coffin-Chevallier whom he married in 1852. Joséphine was a talented amateur painter who was interested in a whole range of art forms including paintings, ceramics, furniture and textiles. Soon the couple began to develop the idea of creating a world-class museum back in John’s ancestral home of Teesdale in order to introduce the wider world of art to the local people".
There is much more information on the website about the collections and I will share some of my favourite things in my next post.
The museum is especially well known for the Silver Swan which was made in the late 1770s and bought by John Bowes in 1872 for £200:
"The American novelist Mark Twain also saw the Silver Swan at the Paris exhibition in 1867 and described it in his book The Innocents Abroad:
 ‘I watched the Silver Swan, which had a living grace about his movement and a living intelligence in his eyes-watched him swimming about as comfortably and unconcernedly as it he had been born in a morass instead of a jeweller’s shop - watched him seize a silver fish from under the water and hold up his head and go through the customary and elaborate motions of swallowing it...'"
Our second day saw us heading a little further north to visit Beamish.  This is an open air museum about the people of North East England through the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods. As it was winter not all of the museum was open but we had plenty to do exploring the town and the pit village. 

All museumed-out we decided to head to the coast on our third day but got sidetracked firstly by the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge,
then by the rather more modern Temenos sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond,
and finally by RSPB Saltholme where we had a nice walk around the lake, watched the birds and had a scrummy lunch.
Our little break at an end, we headed home yesterday, stopping at a site in Boroughbridge to look at the Devil's Arrows:


  1. Wow, one day I would like to visit both the Bowes Museum and Beamish.
    Sometimes we travel far away and we have treasures at our door.

  2. wonderful images but i just love Barnard Castle.

  3. Oh the Temenos looks fantastic!
    Glad you had a lovely time x

  4. Love the story of the Bowes and what a handsome silver swan! I'm you had a lovely time away.
    Next stop Tokyo woo hoo!

  5. Not a popular place for holidays Stockton but the surrounding area is rich with history and beauty. Did you manage to get up onto the moors? It's the wrong time of the year really for colour but they are exquisit in late summer. Perhaps you could come back again later. You have some really good photos I enjoyed seeing my 'local' area on your blog.

  6. I loved the way you talked about your adventures and even shared some links to the places you visited thanks for sharing it... it sounds like you both enjoyed yourselves!


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hugs, Lis x