Combining historical accuracy and high adventure at Bamburgh Castle

PLB was the perfect choice when Bamburgh Castle needed to create a truly immersive visitor experience.

Nestled on the northeast coast of England, Bamburgh Castle serves up more than 3,000 years of extraordinary history to visitors. Spanning nine acres of land on a rocky plateau, it is one of the largest inhabited castles in the country.

Such an exhilarating location called for something very special. And that’s why we were called in. We knew exactly what to do.

Bringing the story to life

We used our creative and technical talents to transform Bamburgh Castle’s relationship with visitors, using a combination of traditional displays and cutting-edge technology. This new take on interpretation offers an educational experience that is both engaging and entertaining.

Our works included:

  • Interpretive planning, as the seat of modern England, the castle’s history is conveyed through the current owner and custodian, who provides a digital warm welcome to every visitor
  • Exhibition design, from Anglo Saxon fortress Bebbanburg, to a modern family home, the interpretive design was blended into the settings to provide immersive experiences at every turn
  • Accessibility and inclusion, to recognise that the castle was going to provide difficulties for a less mobile audience, and to ensure all visitors had as close to the same experience, key interpretation was placed at the most accessible places

An essential addition was a range of installations that introduce the Armstrong family, led by visionary inventor, industrialist and philanthropist William George Armstrong. William bought the castle in 1894 and set about transforming it into his vision of the archetypal stronghold.

Alongside this, we created a virtual castle custodian, who invites visitors to discover different aspects of the past. Now people can explore the fortress and see historic treasures laid out across an intuitive journey. They can roam through history, discovering fantastic tales of The Last Kingdom, Vikings, knights and dragons.

The new Castle offer has been recognised by the North East Tourism Awards best of category Gold Award for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year before even being completed. “I know it is a work in progress but what you have done has been extraordinary,” said Claire Watson-Armstrong, Project Sponsor. “To have this recognition is fantastic.”

Preserving historical accuracy

To ensure education and learning go hand-in-hand with engagement and adventure, our interpretation team went to great lengths to guarantee historical accuracy. And the end result demonstrates that they achieved what they set out to do.

We sought out the knowledge of historians and experts in the field, along with representatives of the Armstrong family. Every tiny detail has been taken into account, ensuring a day at Bamburgh Castle transports visitors back to the past and lets them fall in love with legends.

Perhaps you should go along and see for yourself, with the Bamburgh Castle site open to visitors seven days a week, only closed briefly in January for key conservation to take place.

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