A NEW season of activities will give people the chance to learn skills and discover more about the history, artworks and horticulture of County Durham.

As part of this year’s nationwide Heritage Open Days festival, The Auckland Project regeneration charity in Bishop Auckland will hold three special activities.

There will be guided tours of St Peter’s Chapel at Auckland Castle from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, September 15 and Sunday, 22 September. On Saturday, 14 and Saturday, September 21 there will be guided walks of Auckland Castle’s historic Deer Park, at 11am, 12.30pm and 3pm. And Reasons to Dig workshops at 10am, 11.30am and 2pm on Saturday, September 14 and Saturday, September 21, will combine archaeology and horticulture.

The charity will also continue to run its monthly Young Archaeologists’ Club, adding sessions for 11 to 16-year-olds to existing sessions for seven to 11-year-olds. The club meets on 14 September, 12 October, 9 November and 14 December 2019, and runs 10am to 12pm for 7 to 11-year-olds and 1pm to 3pm for 11 to 16-year-olds. Booking is essential, with places costing £2 per child.

The Talks in the Tower series, at Auckland Tower, will include a presentation hosted by Durham University archaeologists about recent excavations at the castle's North Terrace on Thursday, 19 September, from 6.30pm to 8pm.

On Thursday, October 24 there will be an introduction to painter, Francisco de Zurbarán and on Thursday, November 21, National Gallery curator Dr Francesca Whitlum-Cooper will talk about Nicholas Poussin’s masterpiece The Triumph of Pan which forms the centrepiece of the next exhibition at the Bishop Trevor Gallery, which opens in Bishop Auckland on Saturday, October 5.

Art lovers can also drop in to the Black and White Exhibition by local artists at No.42, Bishop Auckland Market Place. Or people can create their own work of art at a Printing Press Workshop on Thursday, September 19, booking is essential and costs £10 per person.

During the October half-term holiday, visitors will also be invited to take part in a creative session at Auckland Tower as part of the national Big Draw festival. Art activities will be running Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm, based on the theme of ‘Taking Flight,’ which was chosen by the community.

For details and to book places on events and activities visit aucklandproject.org/whats-on, call 01388-743797 or visit Auckland Tower.