Parts of castle open to public

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A SPECIAL tour of Lancaster Castle will coincide with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations from June 2 – 5.

The Duchy of Lancaster, in partnership with the Lancashire County Council Museums Service, said the tour will enable visitors to see inside the female penitentiary for the first time.

Built in 1821 by Joseph Gandy, the panopticon prison tower was designed to allow people to observe the inmates, without them knowing they were being watched.

The cells were home to female prisoners for many years, and later used to house male prisoners, until the prison closed in 2011.

Visitors will also be able to see external elements of the castle including the outside of the witches’ tower, and the doorway into the underground dungeons which housed the Lancashire Witches prior to their trial in 1612.

In addition, people will be able to walk around the outside of the keep, a four-storey tower, which is the largest medieval building in the castle, as well as the impressive twin-towered John O’Gaunt Gatehouse.

Paul Clarke, chief executive officer of the Duchy of Lancaster said: “This tour presents another fantastic opportunity to view some of the building’s most intriguing structures in closer detail, as well as to access the inside of a prison cell which hasn’t been opened to the public for more than 60 years.” The new tour is one of a number of events taking place at Lancaster Castle to celebrate the Jubilee.

As part of the Lancaster Unlocked festival, the Freemen of Gwent will be setting up a living history camp and offering displays of medieval crafts, clothing, and armour.

The tour will run on June 2 – 5 and leave every half an hour between 10.30am and 5.30pm, except at 11.30am, 2pm, 4pm and 5pm, which will be slots for the standard tours of the Shire Hall.

Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis, and can be purchased from the Shire Hall complex at Lancaster Castle.

Prices are £9 for adults, £7 for concessions and children and £22 for a family ticket (which includes entry for two standard ticket holders and up to two concessions). Xplorer tickets are not valid for this special tour.

For further details of tours and times, visit {http:// www.lancastercastle.com|www.lancastercastle.com}, or call 01524 64998.