A HISTORIC castle is reopening in November following a three-year conservation programme.

Once home to the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham, Auckland Castle’s state rooms have been sensitively returned to their original Georgian gothic splendour, while the Bishops’ private apartments are being opened to visitors for the first time, offering an insight into both the public and private lives of some of the most prominent characters in British history.

The Bishop Auckland castle was closed to the public in September 2016 before work began as part of the restoration scheme.

The work was led by The Auckland Project – a charitable organisation using art, faith and heritage to fuel regeneration of the Bishop Auckland area.

Clare Baron, head of interpretation and exhibitions at The Auckland Project, said: “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. Now, thanks to extensive conservation work and research, we will be able to walk in the footsteps of the men who helped shape the country we live in today.”

To celebrate Auckland Castle reopening its doors, The Auckland Project will be hosting a community day to mark the launch on Saturday, November 2, with general admission beginning the following day.

Starting with a ribbon cutting at 10.30am, the event will include live entertainment and activities, as well as an opportunity to be among the first to step inside the newly conserved castle and uncover the stories of faith and power that await inside.

Liz Fisher, director of engagement at The Auckland Project, said: “The opening of Auckland Castle will be an important milestone in our efforts to create ongoing opportunities for Bishop Auckland by sharing what we have here and making beautiful works of art, architecture and experiences accessible to everyone.”

Entry to the castle will be offered at a discounted rate on Saturday, November 2.

Tickets can be booked in person available in person via Auckland Tower.