Castle owners hope to create world-class attraction

Auckland Castle, in Bishop Auckland was built in the 17th Century Credit: ITV

Work is well underway to transform a Bishop's Palace in County Durham into what its new owners hope will be a world-class visitor attraction.

Auckland Castle, in Bishop Auckland, is home to the 17th century Zurbaran paintings of Jacob and his sons and, for centuries, was the residence of the Bishops of Durham.

At one stage, it was feared the castle and artwork could be sold but their future was secured last year after the Church of England accepted a £15m donation from philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer. The millionaire then set up a trust to turn the landmark into a heritage centre and tourist attraction.

Mr Ruffer says it forms part of a wider plan to regenerate the town of Bishop Auckland, where he also plans to open a hotel.