A CASTLE is opening its doors for a huge art exhibition featuring work from across the North-East.

The North East Art Exhibition is taking place at Brancepeth Castle, which is opening parts of the building to the public for the first time, this weekend.

The exhibition has been planned as a first step towards opening the castle more in the future.

It is being organised by photographer Luke Winterburn, from Brancepeth, in partnership with castle owner Alison Hobbs.

Lynn Cotton, who is helping her husband organise the event, said: “Brancepeth Castle has some enormous rooms with very high ceilings so it makes it an amazing venue for an art show. It’s a beautiful space - it’s perfect for an exhibition.

“Because it’s so big we have some pieces you wouldn’t usually see in an exhibition. We’ve put of scaffolds for installations and we’ve got huge glass sculptures coming from Hexham.

“I think it’s going to be really big, and different. I don’t think many people will have seen anything like it before.”

Around 35 artists have been invited to take part in the exhibition, which will be open on Saturday and Sunday, between 10am and 6pm.

The event will also include refreshments, which will be served in the private chapel of the castle, a space which has not previously been open to the public.

Ms Cotton added: “The idea is really to provide a space for artists working in the North-East that’s not too corporate and there’s no big outlay for the people who exhibit.

“Prices range from £10 to pieces that cost several thousand pounds so there is something for everyone.

“We don’t want it to be exclusive.”

A range of mediums will be on display, including paintings, lithographs, glass sculptures, digital art, photography and other installations.

The Norman castle, which was rebuilt by the Neville family in the late fourteenth century, is famed for once being home to the ill-fated Mary Bellaysyse, the subject of a famous Northern ballad, who is said to have died of a broken heart after being spurned by Bobby Shafto.

More recently, it was used as a hospital during the First World War and as headquarters for the Durham Light Infantry in the Second World War, when Brancepeth was home to a military camp.

The grade I listed building was bought by Margaret Dobson in the 1970s, who carried out extensive repair work to the castle prior to her death in 2014.

Revd Hobbs, her daughter, has continued her work to ensure the upkeep of the castle.

Entry to the exhibition is £2 for adults and £1 for children and there is free parking.