Conisbrough Castle has scooped a £900,000 lottery windfall to put it in the premier league of Yorkshire tourist attractions.
The Heritage Lottery Fund award will become a key part of a £1.1million project, to be run by Doncaster Council in partnership with English Heritage.
A new visitor centre housing educational and exhibition spaces will be created at the site’s historic Custodian Lodge, offering exciting interactive interpretation for visitors, new educational materials such as ‘Discovery Visit’ workshops for local schools, and training on historical investigation techniques for volunteers to get involved.
A programme of outreach work, learning and events will also be created and the site will benefit from improved access, signage and parking.
The 12th century Grade I listed castle – dating back 1,000 years and made famous by featuring in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe - is one of South Yorkshire’s best surviving examples of medieval military architecture and one of the only surviving examples of its kind in Europe.
Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies said: “I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has supported this exciting project. Doncaster is the only place in Britain that is home to this type of unusually designed castle Keep, with the only similar kind existing in northern France. In its time, the castle was an advanced piece of design and even hosted royal visits, so I’m pleased the new visitor centre will celebrate its history. This investment will help transform the facilities and ensure visitors and our residents gain maximum enjoyment from its rich heritage.”
Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley also showed her support for the project: “This is great news for Conisbrough and for heritage tourism in Doncaster. The £900,000 funding has the potential to transform tourism at the Castle and play a role in the regeneration of Conisbrough town, which has not benefitted as much as it should have from this brilliant asset being on its doorstep”.