Pontefract Castle’s visitor centre is opened

Pontefract Castle.
Pontefract Castle.
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The new £3 million visitor centre at Pontefract Castle was officially opened at the weekend.

The centre, featuring a café, shop and museum space, opened its doors to the public last month, thanks to support from National Lottery players.

It attracted almost 2,000 visitors in the first four days after opening its doors.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “The old barn has been converted to house these first-class facilities available for visitors to enjoy.

“I hope it will encourage even more people to visit the castle.”

The centre also includes an activity zone for school learning sessions, meetings and craft activities and new facilities including modern toilets and a baby changing.

The project has been made possible thanks to a £3.04m National Lottery grant.

David Renwick, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Yorkshire & the Humber, said: “Pontefract Castle has a long and colourful history, and has frequently found itself at the centre of national events, as a royal residence where Richard II was murdered, under siege during the Civil War, and immortalised twice in Shakespearean verse.”

The centre is part of the £3.5 million Key to the North project and its opening is an important milestone in the developments that will see the site transformed by the end of the year. The Key to the North Project has also received funding from Historic England, Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and EPaC, a landfill charity.

Artefacts in the museum include siege coins and a carriage wheel which have been unearthed in the town. Conservation work is ongoing to improve access to parts not seen by the public for many years.

For more information please visit www.pontefractcastle.co.uk.