Lincoln Castle has been officially reopened after a £22 million project restored it to its former glory, offering visitors the chance to experience new features and enjoy more than 1,000 years of hidden history.
Lincolnshire County Council’s Lincoln Castle Revealed project, which took ten years to complete, was celebrated with a fun-filled opening celebration on April 1, 2015.
Hundreds bought tickets to the grand reopening of the castle, and staff welcomed visitors to features including a new underground vault for the city’s copy of the Magna Carta.
Tourism Development Manager at Lincolnshire County Council Mary Powell has been at the helm of the project over the years, and has overseen plenty of challenges including the discovery of a Saxon Sarcophagus.
Mary said: “It’s slightly surreal because you work for so long towards something and you’re looking at ten years down the line, and then all of a sudden it’s opening day.
“We’ve had hundreds of tickets pre-sold so we knew that there would be plenty of people here today.
“It was frantic here this morning and the team worked until late last night as well. So many people have worked so hard, whether it’s the architects, the engineers, the contractors, castle staff or my team, everyone is very passionate.”
Highlights of the new-look attraction include:
- A new vault for Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest, which is the only place in the world where they can be viewed together
- A Medieval Wall Walk, with accompanying audio guide
- The newly-refurbished Victorian Prison, which has been closed to members of the public for decades
- Archaeology uncovered during the works, including an internationally important Saxon sarcophagus, or stone coffin
- A new castle shop and café, offering souvenirs, gifts and refreshments
Alongside the opening, the county council have launched a new park and ride Lincoln Castle Shuttle Bus, which will ferry visitors from the south of the county to the historic quarter of Lincoln.
Tickets are now on sale via the castle’s new website, where details of the different prices can be found as well as information on the new attractions within the development.
Lincolnshire County Council published the first picture from inside the vault on social media (and reassured concerned visitors that the Magna Carta document was safe and sound on April 1)
All inclusive tickets are available for the Medieval Wall Walk, Victorian Prison and Magna Carta at £31.20 for a family ticket (two adults and three children), £12 for adults and £7.20 for children.
Family tickets for the Medieval Wall Walk are priced at £13, and family tickets for the Victorian Prison and Magna Carta are £26.
Joint tickets are also now available for Lincoln Castle and Cathedral from the attractions’ websites at £16 adults, £13 concession, £10 child (under 5s free), while a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) is £40.
Approximately 150,000 people visit Lincoln Castle every year. An independent assessment concluded that the wider Lincoln Castle Revealed project could lead to a 29-55% increase in the overall value of Lincoln tourism.
This translates to a £36-68 million boost for the local economy and around 600-1,100 new jobs.
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Councillor for Economic Development, Environment, Planning & Tourism at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “It’s a very proud day for everyone at the county council, a proud day for Lincoln and a proud day for Lincolnshire.
“It’s a testament to a lot of hard work and commitment over many years. Tourism is part of our blood and this is going to be a great attraction for people.
“We’re expecting up to 1,100 new jobs to be created on the back of this project and we expect to double the value of tourism.”
Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture and Heritage, added: “We’ve seen a world class tourism facility materialise, which is going to attract people from all over the country and all over the world.
“Of course we also have the Lincoln Cathedral and the city is going to be the destination to be this year.”