The results of a major £1.2 million visitor improvement and conservation project at Framlingham Castle will be unveiled today.
The refurbishments at the castle, implemented by English Heritage over several months, has seen the addition of a new café and retail space to the workhouse, and a new exhibition space which tells the stories of the historic site and its former residents.
Conservation work years in the making has also been completed, with stonework repairs and repointing carried out on a number of the castle’s walls.
Heather Redmond, English Heritage’s area manager for the East of England, said the project came about to meet their priorities for maintaining Framlingham Castle for future generations.
“The key, first and foremost, was to preserve the site,” she told the Diss Express.
“At the same time, what we found in our visitor research is that people liked coming here, but they wanted a full day out, so we took that on board.
“We have made sure to stay sympathetic to the site. It looks fantastic, but also still really fits the look.”
The new facilities include a retail unit which is designed to look like one of the castle’s famous Tudor chimneys, while the café features Tudor-era dishes on its menu, as well as produce from local vendors like Maynards Juices, the Marybelle Dairy in Halesworth and St Peter’s Brewery.
Up on the newly reinstated mezzanine level, the exhibition area outlines the castle’s history, including a walkthrough of its owners through time, from the famous Howard family to Mary Tudor, who was proclaimed Queen of England at the castle in 1553.
The exhibition space also has interactive games and a dress-up section aimed at younger visitors.
English Heritage has announced that its popular Time Tunnel slide attraction will be remaining in place until October.
Ms Redmond added: “This has been a fantastic opportunity. I think people will really love it.
“We are really excited to get people through the door. If people have been here before, they will get a completely different experience. If it’s their first time, they can enjoy a full day out.”
Following the completion of this first phase, fundraising is now under way for the second stage of improvements, which includes plans for a 360-degree wall walk.