Auckland Castle

Auckland Castle

Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland is one of the best-preserved and most important medieval bishops’ palaces in Europe. For more than 900 years it served as a private residence and hunting ground for the Prince Bishops of Durham, before being opened to the public by North East charity, The Auckland Castle Trust, in 2012.

Now, with a £70m investment, the Trust is transforming Auckland Castle into a heritage, arts and faith destination of international significance, helping to reinvigorate Bishop Auckland and stimulate economic regeneration.

Where is it...

Auckland Castle is situated in the town of Bishop Auckland which has excellent transport links from Durham City and Darlington.

What to see...

The ambitious project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), includes restoration of the historic Castle, as well as the creation of a new, 10 gallery Faith Museum and re-imagined 17th Century Walled Garden, in the castle grounds.

In the nearby Market Place, there will be a new Welcome Building and Mining Art Gallery, as well as a Spanish Gallery and Research Centre, inspired by the iconic paintings of Jacob and his twelve sons by Franciso de Zurbarán, which have hung in Auckland Castle for more than 260 years.

The first attraction to open will be the Mining Art Gallery, designed to explore the history of mining in County Durham and the impact it had on the local community.  It will provide a permanent home for the Gemini Collection of Mining Art, including more than 300 works by prominent local artists such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish and is due to launch in 2017.


How to get there...

In order to preserve the historic landscape with its picturesque views, there is no on-site parking.  Please follow signs to North Bondgate Car Park, just 300 yards from the Castle gates. The terrain is flat and you will be able to enjoy some of the town as you make your way to Auckland Castle itself. Charges are 60p for the first two hours and 50p per hour thereafter. Charges apply between 8am and 6pm. 

A Shuttle Bus is available for those with accessibility needs operating to coincide with special events. Please see for details.

When to visit...

Auckland Castle is now closed for restoration and redevelopment . Throughout 2017 there will be a programme of outdoor activities and events, as well as guided tours of the building work and the deer park remains open and free to access. The Castle will reopen in May 2018. To follow the redevelopment please see


Don’t miss...

Auckland Park, created over 800 years ago by the Prince Bishops primarily as an estate for hunting. It was one of the reasons why the Bishops chose to live at Auckland Castle rather than in Durham City. 

The Walled Garden restored to its former glory has a planned 2018 opening.

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