Book Now

Santa is Coming

Book now to visit Santa on Saturday 17th December 2022

Christmas Wreath Making DEC 2022



For group and school visits please complete our request form or call 0785 0916484 

Except for events, pre-booking is not required for public visitors 

Thursday 10am - 4pm     Friday 11am - 4pm     Saturday 11am - 4pm 

DAILY GUIDED TOURS ONLY      11AM -      12.30 -     2PM

Adults aged 16+ Daily Charge:   £5.00 Includes Guided Site Tour 

Children aged 5+ Daily Charge:  £2.00 Includes Guided Site Tour


Warm Spaces

Bowes Volunteers

Autumn Taster Days

Learn heritage skills  - Make Friends - Make a difference

The World's Only Standard Gauge Cable Railway



History of Bowes Railway

Bowes Railway was originally a colliery railway built to carry coal mainly from pits in north west Durham to the Tyne at Jarrow. The earliest section was designed by George Stephenson and opened on 17 January 1826, making it one of the world’s first modern railways. It was 15 miles long when completed in 1855. Each end was locomotive worked; the six mile middle section consisting of rope worked inclines with very steep gradients.



  • "What a lovely and surprising place this is. The guide was very knowledgeable. Set aside 2.5hrs for the visit. A snack from the cafe is well recommended, don't miss the sausage rolls. Will definitely be back."

    Colin Thompson

  • "I had a great morning at The Bowes Railway yesterday. I was shown around by enthusiastic guide Wilf and a very busy Amanda. He went above and beyond in escorting me around the site and inside most of the various sheds and engineering shops for over an hour. Thank you both very much"

    Rob Davidson

  • "Fantastic place all the staff were really helpful and welcoming. My son (2 years) loved seeing all the engines and trucks. We took part in the crafts and there was a good range to keep him entertained for a couple of hours, then he didn't want to leave. Thanks to the excellent team"

    Emma Mcmain


Latest news

12 October 2022

Heritage Open Days Case Study

Click the image to read about Bowes Railway's success at being selected as a case study for the 2022 National Heritage Open Days Event      

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16 September 2022

Bowes Autumn Allotment handpicked by adult learners

Adults from Thornbeck College help with weekly maintenance at Bowes community allotment. Today's handpicked veg was made into a delicious winter soup. 

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09 August 2022

Branching out with our timber tubs

Another satisfied customer in picturesque Wakefield. Customised by our creative team, this tub planter makes fitting addition to a beautiful garden!    

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09 August 2022

Sizzling Summer Activities

There's still time to join in the fun with Bowes Sizzling Summer Activities Places must be booked in advance - Lunch provided  

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19 July 2022

No more lions & tigers...

The Washington Clean & Green Team have been tackling the jungle which has been rapidly growing at Bowes Blackham's Hill winding house since COVID - Visitor access will resume again soon! 

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WALK THE LINE & Discover your Heritage 2022

Challenge Yourself in 2022 -WALK THE LINE with us!
If you fancy more of a challenge register for our 6 mile walk from Burnopfield to Kibblesworth
A new series of short and medium level guided walks led by our experienced Tour Guides to following the 15 mile stretch of Bowes Railway line.

 Over a series of weeks we will be covering a variety of walks including  Dipton's Delight Colliery, Burnopfield, Tanfield Railway, Birkheads Crossing, Kibblesworth down to Team Valley, passing underneath the East Coast main Line A1M and A167, then up hill to Blackfell Engine House and Blackham's Hill Winding House which will be opened for viewing on selected dates.

If you would like to know more about the walks or register to receive a schedule of walk dates please contact us for more information




Birds & Bugs printable activity

Half Term Making Bird Feeders

 Half Term Sessions were supported by Sunderland Council

Washington Ward Holiday Activity & Food Programme Fund

Children enjoyed a variety of activities including making healthy banana and egg pancakes and creating bird feeders for their garden