The wait was over for fans of iconic coastal fortress Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland which has opened its doors to visitors once again.
Village postman Vince Knox pushed open the castle’s 15-foot gates while a Northumbrian piper played and the castle, which was closed for over 100 days during the lockdown, welcomed visitors over its ramparts once again.
Castle owner Francis Watson Armstrong along with members of the Armstrong family lined up to clap visitors through the gatehouse.
Said Francis: “It was an extraordinary moment and very emotional. I almost burst into tears. Not only do we depend on people visiting the castle to help us preserve the building and its contents for future generations of people to enjoy, visitors bring the castle to life. It has been wonderful seeing the castle living and breathing once again. It’s a day that will go down in Bamburgh’s history books.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support and for visiting Bamburgh Castle. It’s tremendous to be open again.”
Bamburgh Castle has reopened as a Covid-Secure attraction and is VisitEngland and VisitBritain ‘We’re Good To Go’ quality assured, the industry standard that shows a tourism organisation has completed Covid-19 reopening risk assessments and has measures in place to look after visitors and staff.
Will Douglas is Bamburgh Castle’s visitor services manager. He said: “The beauty of Bamburgh is that it is such a vast site covering nine acres with plenty of open spaces which makes it easier for people to social distance.
“External health and safety consultants have been working alongside us to make sure we have systems in place that allow people to visit us with confidence while still enjoying what really is one of the finest castles in Britain.
“These include a preferred one-way route, social distancing markers, being a cash-free site and bringing in additional WCs. We’ve opened with restricted visitor numbers with pre bookable advance tickets. While we’re still taking in walk in admissions on the day, we’re monitoring these closely.”
He added: “Naturally we are following Government guidelines carefully and the safety and wellbeing of our visitors and staff is our absolute priority at all times.
“But standing here today and being able to welcome people and our team back to Bamburgh Castle again after more than 100 days is fantastic.”