Alnwick Castle and Bamburgh Castle put plans in place to welcome visitors back safely this spring

Two of Northumberland’s biggest visitor attractions are planning for a busy summer after the Government’s roadmap to reopening was revealed.

By Ian Smith
Thursday, 25th February 2021, 9:03 am

Day trippers and holidaymakers are expected to descend on Alnwick Castle and Bamburgh Castle in their thousands when lockdown restrictions are eased in the spring.

The team at Alnwick Castle, who would expect to welcome around 300,000 visitors in a ‘normal’ year, have already put a lot of thought into reopening safely.

Andrew Robson, castle agent, said: “The team at Alnwick Castle are very excited to be welcoming back visitors.

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Visitors will be welcomed back to Bamburgh Castle and Alnwick Castle this spring.

"We agree that for the safety and health of everyone, our approach to re-opening must be extremely cautious and tested at every stage.

"Plans are now underway to open our grounds and some outdoor activities as soon as Government guidelines permit. Based on recent guidance we very much hope this will be from April 12 (or even sooner if this is permitted), with interior displays and fun attractions like Dragon Quest and the splendid State Rooms being opened from May 17 at the earliest.

"Strict social distancing will be required at all times and entrance numbers will be capped to avoid crowding.

“Alnwick Castle is a key part of the tourism industry of Northumberland and we are keen to see it opening as soon as possible, helping to support the rebuilding of so many local businesses which have struggled over the past year.”

Broomstick training at Alnwick Castle. Picture: Alan Mason

Bamburgh Castle, which would expect some 150,000 visitors in a ‘normal’ year, is also putting its reopening plans together.

Owner Francis Watson-Armstrong said: “We are currently working through the Government’s latest lockdown roadmap announcement and putting together plans to reopen Bamburgh Castle safely for our visitors and staff.

"We will be releasing these details soon with our planned reopening schedule while continuing to monitor Government guidelines and updates closely.”

The roadmap to reopening provisionally allows campsites and other self-contained accommodation where indoor facilities aren't shared with other households to welcome visitors from April 12, with hotels and B&Bs following from May 17.

Francis Watson-Armstrong, owner of Bamburgh Castle.

Harvest Harris-Jones, owner of Laverock Law Holiday Cottages, near Lowick, said: “From our perspective it would have been great to open for Easter but we see the logic in the cautious approach and actually having some good guideline dates does at least allow us and our guests to have a bit more certainty with our plans.”

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