Tuesday, 28 May 2013

In Pictures: Lancaster Castle opens its gates to the public

Lancaster Castle opened its gates to the public for the first time on a regular basis this weekend and local photographer Alan Phillips was on hand to record the day.

2013 marks the first time the Castle has opened daily top the public, officially marking its transition from former prison to major tourist attraction.

With its 900-year history as an enclave of crime and punishment, Lancaster Castle’s interior has for centuries generally been considered a place for the incarceration of those on the wrong side of the law.

But the formal closure of the HM Prison in March 2011 signalled a new dawn for the castle’s future role in Lancaster life, which will – for the first time in its history - include opening the gates daily to allow people inside.

Once through the gates, visitors can get a glimpse of the castle’s magnificent interior from its large internal courtyard.

Tours run by Lancashire County Council’s museums service at Lancaster Castle start and finish at the cafe and will include the Castle Courtyard as well as parts of the former HM prison.

The gates will remain open from 10.00am to 5.00pm each day and throughout the year there will be a series of new events which will include live music and seasonal fairs.

Though much of the castle will still remain inaccessible for the time being its owner, The Duchy of Lancaster, has already engaged the public in consultation about its future use and is keen to make more of the centuries-old building accessible.

English Heritage has described the Castle as being "not only the North-West's most important historic and archaeological monument but also of international importance".

• Duchy of Lancaster - Lancaster Castle web site: www.lancastercastle.com

All photos in this news item © and courtesy Alan Phillips

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