Northumberland Estates has taken on more seasonal staff than ever before to work at Alnwick Castle this year.
This is partly in anticipation of a busy season in the wake of the valuable publicity for the town and the county through the likes of Downton Abbey, More Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green and the popular ITV detective series Vera.
One of the larger employers in the area, the 2015 season will see staffing levels at Northumberland Estates increase by an extra 105 ahead of the Castle opening today.
Around 200 people applied for the various posts on offer this year. The Castle’s seasonal staff re-apply year on year with around two-thirds being familiar faces returning and the remaining third new to their roles.
Among other things, the extra placements will boost the number of guides in the Staterooms and expand the archery team – an increasingly popular activity for visitors.
Staff training is well underway following an induction day earlier this month.
This is followed by various training sessions in subjects such as fire, first aid and health and safety issues, in addition to departmental training.
Last season, around 500,000 people visited Alnwick Castle and the Alnwick Garden.
This year, group bookings are already looking particularly strong so the team is optimistic about beating this target, which is great news for the town and will hopefully translate into a boost for local businesses.
Visitors in 2015 will also be able to see the new Downton exhibition which includes photos from the filming of the 2014 Christmas special.