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Auckland Castle offers a wide programme of February Half Term activities

The Bishop Auckland attraction is involved in the three week arts festival Febfest, which has lots of events on offer

Auckland Castle's head curator Dr Chris Ferguson with 17th century pieta on loan from Durham's Ushaw College
Auckland Castle's head curator Dr Chris Ferguson with 17th century pieta on loan from Durham's Ushaw College

Half term visitors to Auckland Castle will find much to fall in love with this February.

The former palace home of England’s only Prince Bishop will be taking off the dust sheets for its 2015 season and has organised a number of events as part of the popular Febfest programme.

A three-week hooplah of arts activity running across Bishop Auckland until February 28, Febfest features an exciting mix of exhibitions from schools and adult community groups, workshops, public performances and lectures.

Visitors can join in two special workshops in Auckland Castle’s Pavilion.

Wool Drawings takes place on February 18 between 1.30pm and 4pm, offering the chance to create a bespoke picture for display by working fibres together to make a unique piece of felt.

A scene from Febfest's the Rebellious North showing King Harold, that will be screened across the wall of Auckland Castle's Scotland Wing
A scene from Febfest's the Rebellious North showing King Harold, that will be screened across the wall of Auckland Castle's Scotland Wing

On February 19, Encaustic Art runs between 10am-12.30pm, will be another opportunity to produce a distinctive picture using pigmented wax and a heated iron. Both workshops cost £4.

These are in addition to the attraction’s already popular activity programme offered free with admission every weekend and during school holidays that proved a hit with the thousands of visitors who discovered the stunning medieval palace for the first time in 2014.

Highlights include Boaring Trails to hunt down the castle’s mascot, Bosley Boar, both inside the state rooms or further afield across the parkland where there is a monster sculpture of the medieval porker waiting to be discovered.

Wool drawing is one of the Febfest events taking place at Auckland Castle over half-term
Wool drawing is one of the Febfest events taking place at Auckland Castle over half-term

There’s also drawing and the chance to dress-up as either a bishop or one of Jacob’s 12 sons, as depicted in Auckland Castle’s internationally famous cycle of paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán that hang in the Long Dining Room.

Febfest continues with a free evening of music, poetry and performance in St Peter’s Chapel on February 24.

This year’s festival will end with a three-night spectacular on February 26, 27 and 28. The Rebellious North, an atmospheric animated film, will be screened across the side of Auckland Castle’s Scotland Wing.

A piece full of Romans, Vikings, clashing knights, dragons and familiar landmarks, the free to watch film has been created especially for Febfest.

Dr Chris Ferguson, curatorial director for Auckland Castle, said: “From events to activities and exhibitions there’s loads to keep visitors of all ages entertained right through until the end of this year.

Auckland Castle reopening Feb 14 - Feb Fest
Auckland Castle reopening Feb 14 - Feb Fest

“Over the winter the curatorial team has been working hard to create a full and engaging series of events and exhibitions, and preparing what is the North East’s newest and most exciting heritage attraction for its second full visitor season.

“Whether you are interested in creative activities, art, music, sport, exploring or the more explosive side to this nation’s past, we’ve plenty of family-friendly fun to look forward to that’s guaranteed to inspire, amaze, captivate and educate.”

For details of the Febfest activities and wider Auckland Castle programme, visit www.aucklandcastle.org

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