Norwich Castle prepares to reopen - and ticket prices to be slashed

Norwich Castle. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Castle. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Museum bosses hope Norwich Castle could be able to welcome its first paying visitors since coronavirus lockdown from next month - and ticket prices are likely to be cut.

A visualisation of the recreated Great Hall on the prinicpal floor of the keep of Norwich Castle. Pi

A visualisation of the recreated Great Hall on the prinicpal floor of the keep of Norwich Castle. Pic: Haley Sharpe Design. - Credit: Archant

The castle, along with other council-run museums across the county, shut in March when pandemic restrictions were initially introduced.

Work on an ambitious £13.5m project to transform Norwich Castle Keep back to its origins as a Norman royal palace has begun, which was hailed as a “cause for optimism” in difficult times.

But that work, coupled with the need for new arrangements due to Covid-19 regulations, has created challenges when it comes to welcoming visitors back to the museum.

To test out the way the visits would work, the castle reopened to museum pass holders and Friends of Norwich Museums at the end of August.

They have been able to pre-book timed tickets and the limited opening has enabled museum bosses to evaluate the Covid-19 arrangements and make changes where required.

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Only one level of the museum is available to access at the moment, although bosses are keen to make more galleries accessible where possible, although the keep will be off limits due to the revamp work.

Museum bosses hope it will reopen to the general public from next month, but are aware that, with some of the museum inaccessible, they will have to reduce the price of tickets.

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At a meeting of the Norwich Area Museums Committee, museum bosses said the price of tickets could be cut by as much as 40pc when the museum does reopen.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “The Castle Museum and Art Gallery is currently open to passholders and Friends who can pre-book online.

“Our visitor capacity is temporarily restricted as we begin construction on the Castle Keep project and ensure that proper social distancing can be maintained throughout the museum.

“We will welcome back the general public as soon as possible when the ongoing construction work allows, which we anticipate will be in October.”

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse and the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth have already opened their doors and planning is under way over reopening of others.

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