New castle visitor centre attracts thousands in first few days

Coun Jacquie Speight at the centre.
Coun Jacquie Speight at the centre.

A NEW visitor centre at Pontefract Castle welcomed almost 2,000 visitors in the first four days after opening.

The centre opened its doors last Thursday, as a £3.5m project to regenerate the historic site nears completion.

It has been developed from an old arts and crafts barn and features a cafe, shop, and museum showing artefacts including siege coins and a carriage wheel which have been unearthed in the town.

Coun Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “We’ve had a great response to the opening of the new visitor centre, and I am so pleased there’s already been so much interest.

“Since opening on Thursday and up to and including Sunday we welcomed 1,970 visitors, which shows many people are keen to get involved in this fantastic new community resource.”

The new centre has been constructed as part of a £3.5m Key to the North project to restore the castle.

Conservation work is ongoing to improve access to parts not seen by the public for many years, including the Sally Port.

The project has been funded with a £3.04m National Lottery grant with other contributions from Historic England, Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and landfill charity EPaC.