A HISTORIC castle is reopening its gates to visitors this weekend as it gradually responds to the Government’s easing of lockdown restrictions.

Raby Castle, near Staindrop, will reopen today and will then be open to the public from 11am Wednesday to Sunday.

The deer park and historic walled gardens have been welcoming visitors to enjoy socially distanced walks outdoors for several weeks.

Two tranquil after-hours openings in June gave access to the extensive grounds in the evening and will be repeated on selected dates during July and August as weather allows.

Claire Jones, head of leisure and tourism at Raby Estates said: “We are delighted to be welcoming visitors back to the castle as part of our careful and phased reopening, which prioritises the safety of our staff and visitors.

“We have introduced measures right across the site to meet government and industry Covid-19 guidelines and we are pleased that these have led to us being awarded good to go status by Visit England.“Those who have visited us before will notice that things are a bit different, but we are working hard to make sure their experience with us is both safe and enjoyable and we have plenty of information on our website to help people plan their visit.

“Above all, we want visitors to feel confident about visiting Raby and we are working on exciting plans to help people experience our spaces in new and engaging ways.”

Visitors are being asked to book in advance to help the venue manage the number of visitors on site, and to limit contact with staff.

Tickets are available to buy online via the Raby Castle website raby.co.uk/raby-castle