Work in progress
Work in progress

Pontefract Castle Key to the North Project

What does the project involve?

The Key to the North Project is a £3.5 million project at Pontefract Castle which includes conservation work to the monument, a new visitor centre, café, gift shop and museum, and site developments that will allow parts of the castle not seen by the public since 1649 to be opened up.

The project also funds a programme of events and activities including living history events, workshops, talks, tours and family activity days which help to attract more visitors to the castle.

People can get involved in the project as the funding has allowed us to employ a Volunteer Coordinator and set up a volunteer scheme to support the work at the castle.

This project is possible thanks to the following supporters: Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, Wakefield Council, The Wolfson Foundation, Epac and the Friends of Pontefract Castle.


Project Update

Machinery is currently being used to dig out the ground around the Sally Port, under the careful watch of our archaeologists, conservation architect and Historic England. However work has now slowed due to the discovery of some exciting new archaeology!

New stonework including walls and a paved floor has been unearthed meaning that our architects are redesigning the work so that visitors will be able to come and view the floor once conservation works are completed!

Civil Wars Door - The Piper Tower

Work is also taking place on the walls of the keep to stabilise the stonework and remove loose cement. Several areas have been found to be at risk of falling so quite a bit of masonry work is taking place under the curtain of scaffolding.

Replacement of failing cement with lime mortar around the site continues and new paths are being laid around the site to improve access, including one around the Royal Apartments.

Our Volunteer Scheme now has over 50 people involved in supporting the work at the castle. They are all doing a fantastic job and have given over 2400 hours of their time since the project started. Volunteers have been busy helping with events, dungeon tours, site maintenance and will soon help with school visits now that our activity zone is open. If you are interested in becoming one of our volunteers please look at our Volunteer with Us page.

Please note that due to the project taking place some areas of the castle are currently closed.


New Visitor Centre at Pontefract Castle