Auckland Castle has re-opened to the public following three years of extensive conservation work.
More than 1,000 people visited the Castle as Jonathan Ruffer, Founder of The Auckland Project and Mrs Sue Snowdon, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, cut the ribbon at a special ceremony.
The conservation work, undertaken by The Auckland Project, means visitors can see the 300-year-old St Peter’s Chapel, the Georgian Gothic State Rooms and the bishops’ private apartments, which have been opened up for the first time.
Clare Baron, Head of Interpretation and Exhibitions at The Auckland Project, said: “After three years of hard work and careful conservation it’s so exciting to see the Castle doors re-opened and visitors welcomed back inside.
“The story of Auckland Castle and the Prince Bishops of Durham spans more than 1,000 years but for various reasons has remained relatively untold.”
Speaking at the opening, Mr Ruffer said: “The visitor destination is the first visible sign of what we’re doing, but our purpose here is to see Bishop Auckland back in the style and the confidence that it had 100 years ago.
“The real pleasure is not looking at the bricks and mortar but looking at the marvellous turn out today, what that tells us is that here we are looking at the future of Bishop Auckland and it’s a bright one.”
Auckland Castle is now open to visitors from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm. The last entry is at 3pm. Entry includes admission to the Bishop Trevor Gallery and is priced at £10 for adults, £8 for concessions and £3 for under-16s. Tickets can now be pre-booked up to March 2020.
Visitors can also buy an Auckland Pass, which includes entry to Auckland Castle and Bishop Trevor Gallery as well as The Auckland Project’s Mining Art Gallery and Auckland Tower visitor centre until January 2021. The pass starts at £12.50 per adult.
Bookings can be made online, on 01388 743797, or by visiting the Auckland Tower in the Market Place.