An augmented reality experience, a castle undergoing a transformation, and the opening of a reconstructed 1950s town; what’s not to be excited about in County Durham this year?

Auckland Castle

The castle at Bishop Auckland is undergoing a restoration process and will re-open in December 2018. Existing walls and floors in the castle are being peeled back or re-finished to reveal their former glories; the Medieval kitchen will be uncovered; St Peter’s Chapel will be refreshed; and the extraordinary art collection re-hung.

Additionally, a new extension to Auckland Castle’s Scotland Wing will create a new Museum of Faith, said to be the first in England to explore the history of faith in the British Isles, from pre-history to the present day.

Auckland Castle
Pictured: Auckland Castle. (Photo credit; VisitEngland and Diana Jarvis).

Beamish Museum

This open air museum is celebrating a £10.9million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Remaking Beamish project over the next four years. The funding will help the museum create a range of new ways for people to experience the heritage of the North East.

The centrepiece will be a reconstructed 1950s Town – meaning that alongside existing attractions depicting life in the early 19th and 20th centuries, the museum will once again include a period within living memory. Group rates are available.

Beamish Museum
Pictured: Beamish Museum.

Durham Cathedral

The launch of an augmented reality (AR) project at the cathedral will see the heritage of the building brought to life in a new way. Groups can use the Durham Cathedral mobile app to discover the earliest stirrings of recorded English history.

The AR experience consists of an app and videos that will transport the user back in time to unveil the hidden lives of some of history’s most fascinating characters, including the Benedictine monks who lived there.

Durham Cathedral
Pictured: Inside Durham Cathedral.

Two future events to look out for:

Lumiere Durham, November 2019: This light event will return next year over four magical evenings, illuminating Durham City for the sixth time. Artists from around the world will illuminate the area in delightful and unexpected ways, with a series of light installations to explore.

Kynren – an epic tale of England, 30th June to 15th September: This live-action show takes the visitor on a whistle stop tour of 2,000 years of history, myth and legend. Taking place in the landscaped stage at Bishop Auckland, shows take place at dusk and run through the summer.

Lead image: Durham Cathedral. (Photo credit: VisitEngland and Visit County Durham).