Pontefract Castle new visitor centre

Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire is undergoing a renovation project, and the improvements have been confirmed to open to the public this September.

The castle has been awarded a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and conservation work has begun to improve and preserve the site for future generations.

The money will allow parts of the castle not seen by the public since 1649 to be opened up. This will include the Sally Port, Swillington Tower, restored Victorian paths and two viewing platforms, both of which will be fully accessible.

A new visitor centre

Improvements will include a brand new visitor centre incorporating an exhibition space, a learning zone and a new café that will serve drinks, cakes and other produce.

The new visitor centre is being built inside the castle’s old blacksmith’s workshop. Before that, the building was a 19th century barn building. It’s been through several transformations, and the new visitor centre and its displays will reflect that.

Pontefract Castle will remain open throughout the works – the castle itself is a ruin – and groups will be able to see the conservation project as it happens.

As well as creating the visitor centre, the project will also carefully preserve the ruins of the Medieval castle.

Future highlights

Groups visiting in the future will be able to enjoy Living History Days, enjoy live re-enactments and music, traditional games and watch specialist craftspeople demonstrate the skills needed to build and run a Medieval castle.

There’s also the chance to dig a little deeper into the castle’s history and become an archaeologist for the day.

Groups will be able to examine some of the excavation samples from around the site and discover facts about the castle’s hidden past.

Pontefract Castle history

Known at the Key to the North, this royal castle is said to have been one of the most important fortresses in the country.

Pontefract Castle is now a ruin, but visitors can currently walk around the site where they are treated to views of Pontefract and beyond. Admission is free and groups are welcome.

For further information visit www.wakefield.gov.uk.