Auckland Castle and gardens
Auckland Castle and gardens © The Auckland Project
Auckland Castle and gardens © The Auckland Project

Historic England Awards £212,000 Grant for Auckland Castle Gardens Restoration Project

Historic England has awarded a grant of £212,000 towards the restoration of the Grade II* registered gardens of Auckland Castle, in Bishop Auckland. 

The grant will fund essential repairs to parts of the publicly accessible gardens, improving the setting of the 900-year-old castle for local residents and visitors.   

Dating back to the 12th century, Auckland Castle was one of the main residences of the prince bishops of Durham who wielded formidable ecclesiastical and secular power across the North East.    

Auckland Castle and its grounds were bought in 2012 by The Auckland Project, a charitable organisation founded by investment banker Jonathan Ruffer. Following extensive restoration the castle opened as a visitor attraction in November 2019.

The Historic England grant will focus on the parts of the garden around the episcopal palace at the castle that are free to visit and where urgent work is needed to fix historic walls, railings and steps. The repair project will help with the coronavirus recovery in the heritage sector, as the work will be carried out by specialist contractors and craftspeople.   

The repairs within Auckland Castle gardens are a priority for the Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone, a partnership scheme between Historic England and Durham County Council. They help deliver the programme’s main aim, which is to regenerate the town’s historic centre and make it a vibrant place to live and visit.

The Auckland Project is playing a valuable role in supporting the work of the Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone. Its restoration of the castle and grounds, together with its numerous town centre projects, will help transform Bishop Auckland into a heritage tourism destination.

Charles Smith, Deputy Regional Director, North East and Yorkshire Historic England