Families from across the North East are being given the chance to experiment with a host of traditional skills at a special event this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday (October 15 and 16), Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland, is hosting its first free annual Heritage Skills Festival, offering visitors of all ages the chance to try their hand at crafts dating back thousands of years.

Activities on offer will include everything from traditional carpentry and stone carving to pottery, stained glass, wool art and candle making.

Many of the techniques being demonstrated will have been used at Auckland Castle during the last 900 years, with several also expected to be implemented during the building’s £17m restoration, which is now underway.

The Heritage Skills Festival, which is open on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 4pm, will build on the success of Auckland Castle Trust’s ongoing Heritage Skills programme, which hosts regular workshops in traditional techniques.

Other specific skills being demonstrated throughout the weekend will include heritage brickwork, lime slaking, lime plastering, heritage decorative plaster moulding, masonry, blacksmithing, woodwork, felting, spinning and leatherwork.

Andie Harris, Heritage Skills Coordinator at Auckland Castle Trust, said: “The Heritage Skills Festival is a chance for people of all ages to try their hand at traditional crafts, many of which are now dying out.

“Every one of our stalls will have an activity for children, with many also allowing visitors to create personal keepsakes to take away on the day.”

Auckland Castle Trust’s first ever Heritage Skills Festival forms part of a packed programme of outdoor events being run by the charity ahead of Auckland Castle’s reopening in 2018.

Entry for this specific event, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), is free to attend, though a small charge may be made for materials at each specific stall.

For more information or full listings please visit www.aucklandcastle.org/events

Further details about Auckland Castle’s restoration can also be found atwww.aucklandcastle.org/future-plans