ARUNDEL Castle has welcomed visitors back through its historic gates amid the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The building, which had remained closed over winter to carry out essential restoration work, reopened its doors today for the first time this year. Dating back to the 11th century, many of the castle’s original features, including the Norman keep, medieval gatehouse and barbican, remain today.
Like other attractions around Sussex, the castle has been forced to adapt to accommodate social distancing measures.
There is now a modified route that includes the Barons’ Hall, the library and the grand staircase where a recently restored 18th century tapestry can be seen.
Castle manager Stephen Manion said the historic keep will open once the restrictions are fully lifted.
He said: “Arundel Castle is delighted to open its doors to visitors as part of the steps out of lockdown.
“The fabulous rooms, art and furniture are all beautifully displayed within the magnificent castle building, parts of which date back to the 11th century.
“Due to social distancing, there is a modified route which includes the great Barons’ Hall, the amazing library and the grand staircase on which hangs the recently restored 18th century Gobelin tapestry, leading to the bedrooms.
“The historic keep will open later, when the restrictions are lifted, but can be admired from outside.
“The exciting medieval event from 29 May to 31 May will have falconry, the clash of steel and cries of victory from fearsome sword fighting displays.
“Aromas of cooking and the sound of the blacksmith will be accompanied by the pipe and drum of our musicians.
“For the young and young at heart, have-a-go archery will test their skills.”
Over the winter, a helicopter was used to carry materials in and out of the grounds, over the castle’s imposing walls. One highlight currently open to visitors is the Regency library, which contains 10,000 books. The staff remove and clean them individually each year when the castle closes.
The library is 122ft long and entirely fitted in Honduras mahogany and the oldest printed book is the Augsburg Bible, 1477. The grand Barons’ Hall, a view of the grand staircase and the dining room and drawing room are all also open until November 1.