Not to far away in a town called Barnard Castle is Bowes museum, reputed to be one of the best museums outside London this French style chataeu houses the delightful collections of all sorts of everything accumulated by John and Josephine Bowes.
The piece de resistance is a solid silver swan automaton, an exquisite working example which is wound up and set off at 2pm every day for a magical 32 seconds.
Then, there are the 3 galleries stacked full with beautiful paintings including breathtaking Canalettos and a couple of Turners.
Rooms of porcelain from all over the world including Maiollica and Staffordshire to name but a few.
Beautiful furnishings of the kind I would most certainly furnish my home with, given half a chance.
Then, there was the glass cabinets filled with headless mannequins sporting clothing from a variety of decades past. Including a 1930s dress which was particularly reminiscent of my own wedding dress.
Alongside the permanent exhibitions, the museum hosts some temporary exhibitions too. This one was art centred on the topic of miners, with some extremely interesting pieces.
It's £9.50 adult entry into Bowes museum, but we spent an entire afternoon perusing the amazing array of items, and of course stopped for lunch in the cafe too. I would definitely put this on your not to be missed list if you're ever in the County Durham area.