New £3 million visitor centre officially open

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The new £3 million visitor centre at Pontefract Castle was officially opened at the weekend.

The centre, featuring a café, shop and museum space, opened its doors to the public last month, thanks to support from National Lottery players.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “The old barn has been converted to house these first-class facilities available for visitors to enjoy.

“I hope it will encourage even more people to visit the castle.”

The centre also includes an activity zone for school learning sessions, meetings and craft activities and new facilities including modern toilets and a baby changing.

As part of the Key to the North, it has been made possible thanks to a £3.04m National Lottery grant.

David Renwick, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Yorkshire & the Humber, said: “Pontefract Castle has a long and colourful history, and has frequently found itself at the centre of national events, as a royal residence where Richard II was murdered, under siege during the Civil War, and immortalised twice in Shakespearean verse.”

Coun Peter Box is pictured with Sir Ronald Cook (centre) Heritage Lottery Fund and chairman of the Yorkshire and Humber Committee and Zoe Kemp from Historic England.