The castle in Bishop Auckland that is home to the Zurbaran paintings has re-opened to visitors.
More than 250 people visited Auckland Castle on Monday, 1st April. New art works and exhibitions have been added for this year, as well as a new gift shop which features local craftspeople and artists. Visitors are also able to stop for lunches and teas with local caterers Love Food.
The Zurbaran paintings, which last year were at the centre of a campaign to retain them in Bishop Auckland, are also on display in the refurbished Long Dining Room.
The castle and its grounds will host Bishop Auckland Food Festival again this month. New events will include a costumed storytelling day, regular evensong in the Chapel feature local choirs, a Spanish-themed dinner in the Zurbaran room, and many more. Guided tours with experts are also being offered.
Ownership of the castle and its famous 17th Century paintings was transferred to Auckland Castle Trust last summer. The future of the castle has caught the attention of local people, Prince Charles and featured in many newspapers.
The castle is open from 11am to 4pm on Sundays and Mondays during April, and then every day except Tuesday from May. Admission is £8 for adults, £6 for concessions and £4 for children over 12. A family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) is offered for £20.
Auckland Castle Trust are also seeking volunteers to join the project.