Castle hopes winter revamp will attract new visitors

Lindisfarne Castle'Kitchen
Lindisfarne Castle'Kitchen

The National Trust has spent the winter transforming Lindisfarne Castle, bringing to life the stories of the people who lived and worked there.

Several new-look rooms and lots of new items are now on display, including copies of Gertrude Jekyll’s original garden plans.

Lindisfarne Castle'Stracheys Desk

Lindisfarne Castle'Stracheys Desk

Nick Lewis, house steward at the castle, said: “We brought in Imogen Cloet, a theatre-set designer who has previously done some work for the National Trust at Wallington.

“She was tasked with finding period items for the castle, concentrating on the Edwardian period at the beginning of the 20th century when the building was renovated by Sir Edwin Lutyens and occupied by Edward Hudson, the founder of Country Life magazine.

“At that time it was largely a holiday home and we have tried to reflect that, dressing several rooms to that theme.

“We still have the castle’s own historic collection on display, but we hope the work we’ve done over the winter will give it a more lived-in feel.”

Many of the rooms have been personalised to a character associated with the castle’s history. For example, the master bedroom is based on Lutyens and two other bedrooms are themed around Victorian writer Lytton Strachey and cellist Madame Suggia who were frequent visitors.

The kitchen, which already had fine china, pots and pans, has had a range of more functional items added to it such as cook-books, bread bins, flowers and needlework.

“We hope it will add to the visitor experience,” explained Nick. “We’ve got some new literature to accompany the exhibition which will explain a bit about the characters, including the Lilburn family, one of the oldest island families and first employed by Hudson as caretakers in 1902.

“We’ll be adding to the exhibition over the coming months and changing things around from time to time which we hope will also encourage people to make return visits.”

The castle, along with nearby National Trust properties at Cragside and Wallington, opened for the new season on Saturday. The Farne Islands will open on April 1.