Dragon on loose in Alnwick Castle

Brave young knights are being challenged to take up their swords and slay a dragon which has over-run Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

Brave young knights are being challenged to take up their swords and slay a dragon which has over-run Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

The castle - home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland - has unveiled its state-of-the-art Dragon Quest interactive games area, part of a £3m development plan.

Custom-made and using the latest technology, including computer-controlled special effects and animatronics, the £300,000 virtual experience takes younger visitors on a mysterious quest to rid the county of a mythical beast.

But before they can set off on their adventure, children first have to complete their training at the Knights School. Only then will they be strong and brave enough to venture into the dark Caverns of Hulne and Petrified Forest, outwitting goblins and ghouls before facing the dragon and winning their spurs.

The Duke said: "Our younger customers are very sophisticated.

"They are used to computer games and other forms of interactive entertainment, and we realized we needed to engage them the moment they entered the castle walls.

"The vision is to create a fun, scary experience which is also stimulating and brings history to life."

The Choristers of York Minster spent time in the studio recording the children's hymn When a Knight Won His Spurs. David Wood, director of Alnwick Castle Ventures, added: "There are many folk tales surrounding dragons in North-East, including the Lambton Worm and the Laidley Worm at Bamburgh.

"We have brought these folk tales up-to-date with the latest technology from the United States, where companies like Disney have made it their business to entertain children for the last 30 years."

Participation in the exhibition is included in the entrance fee to the castle, and it is open during normal castle opening hours.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer