Lindisfarne Castle hopes winter revamp will attract new visitors

Lindisfarne Castle'Kitchen

Lindisfarne Castle'Kitchen

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The National Trust has spent the winter transforming Lindisfarne Castle, bringing to life the stories of the people who lived and worked there.

Several new-look rooms and lots of new items are now on display, including copies of Gertrude Jekyll’s original garden plans.

Nick Lewis, house steward at Lindisfarne Castle, said: “We brought in Imogen Cloet, a theatre set designer who has previously done some work for the National Trust at Wallington.

“She was tasked with finding period items for the castle, concentrating on the Edwardian period at the beginning of the 20th century when the building was renovated by Sir Edwin Lutyens and occupied by Edward Hudson, the founder of Country Life magazine.

“At that time it was largely a holiday home and we have tried to reflect that, dressing several rooms to that theme.

“We still have the castle’s own historic collection on display but we hope the work we’ve done over the winter will give it a more lived in feel.”

Many of the rooms have been personalised to a character associated with the castle’s history. For example, the master bedroom is based on Lutyens and two other bedrooms are themed around Victorian writer Lytton Strachey and cellist Madame Suggia who were frequent visitors.

The kitchen, which already had fine china, pots and pans, has had a range of more functional items added to it such as cook books, bread bins, flowers and needlework.

“We hope it will add to the visitor experience,” explained Nick. “We’ve got some new literature to accompany the exhibition which will explain a bit about the characters, including the Lilburn family, one of the oldest island families and first employed by Hudson as caretakers in 1902.

“We’ll be adding to the exhibition over the coming months and changing things around from time to time which we hope will also encourage people to make return visits.”

The castle, along with nearby National Trust properties at Cragside and Wallington, opened for the new season on March 1. The Farne Islands will open on April 1.

Joanna Royle, head of marketing and supporter development, said: “2014 is an exciting year for the National Trust. We have more new things to see and do at our places than ever before, not just in spring but throughout the whole year.

“The experience you get at Trust houses and castles has evolved and we’re improving our outdoors offer with more sporting events and nature activities on offer across the north east.”

At Wallington, spend Tuesdays ‘At Home with the Trevelyans’. Discover previously closed rooms, explore hidden cellars and attics and meet the experts.

The barriers have been removed in the Owl Suite at Cragside so you can now see the fantastic views the royal visitors would have had down to the iron bridge. Colourful and original 19th century Japanese prints, gifted to Lord Armstrong, have also been rehung so you can get a better view.

Get fit in stunning surroundings with new weekly 5k park runs around Gibside every Saturday.

Souter Lighthouse has a new talking telescope in the garden. For just 20p you can learn more about the wildlife along The Leas or the lost village of Marsden.

Joanna continued: “At the Trust we’re passionate about great days out and we’re keen for people to come and see the changes we’ve made this year. The places the Trust looks after are for everyone to enjoy so we hope you like what you see.”

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