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Longer opening hours at Bamburgh Castle

Visitors will have longer to explore a 1,400-year-old slice of North East history when Bamburgh Castle reopens seven days a week from February 10.

The famous landmark standing guard over the north Northumberland coast will be unlocking the main house’s sturdy wooden doors from 10am daily – giving the thousands of visitors from across the globe who flock to Bamburgh each year more time to enjoy what is one of Britain’s largest inhabited castles.

It is the first time the castle has opened so early since it first began welcoming visitors in the 1950s.

Will Douglas, Bamburgh Castle’s Visitor Services Manager, says there is a lot for visitors to see at the massive nine-acre historic attraction, which was once the royal capital of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria.

“With centuries of jaw-dropping history, 14 staterooms with thousands of priceless pieces, including archaeological finds, artworks, ceramics, curios and furniture, the Armstrong and Aviation museums, and not forgetting our cracking sea views and a packed programme of events and activities, there’s a lot for our visitors to experience.

“Having that extra hour will allow visitors to really take everything in and make the most of their time with us. Bamburgh Castle offers a great day out no matter what your age and we are delighted to be able to ensure there is plenty of time to explore our fantastic historical surroundings.”

There is an exciting year of activities and events planned at the castle to add an extra dimension to visitors’ day.

Will adds: “There will be new alpaca mini treks around the castle grounds, open-air cinema nights and outdoor performances, family and pet photoshoots, and an Anglo Saxon Week, to name just a few. We also have some other exciting surprises up our sleeve that we’ll be sharing soon.”

Bamburgh Castle can trace its earliest recorded history back to AD547 when Ida the Flamebearer and first of the Anglo Saxon Kings of Bernicia, lay the timbers of a fortified wooden stockade on the towering escarpment 150ft above the North Sea.

The sixth-century kings of Northumbria chose Bamburgh as their royal capital, and it was to play a central role in nearby Lindisfarne and the surrounding area becoming a cradle of early Christianity in England.

Later claims to fame include the castle becoming the first to fall to gunpowder during the Wars of the Roses in 1464.

Visitors will be able to explore new room layouts and interpretations, plan their trip on the castle’s new website and book discounted advance tickets online. There are new family-friendly pursuits, with an updated treasure trail and activities pack, medieval knight costume dressing up and outdoor games.

The castle is canine-friendly, with dogs on leads welcome to explore the grounds and inside the Armstrong and Aviation Museum and Victorian Stables bar.

Open at weekends all year round, Bamburgh Castle will begin its new earlier opening hours from Monday, February 10.

By JHall