Project Aims and Phases

The Vision

Built over three floors, the gatehouse will accommodate learning spaces, café, exhibition and flexible community spaces for meetings and events, to act as a heritage hub at the heart of the local community, breathing new life in to this much loved, iconic histoic building.  The project has a focus on engaging young people, with opportunities to develop skills and work experience, to learn about local heritage, and to take part in governance, decision making and planning.  Hylton Castle is overseen by Hylton Castle Trust,  an independent registered charity, and events, exhibitions and activities will be co-curated by the local community, stakeholders, volunteers and others who have an interest in the castle.  

Plans include:

  • Three floors inserted within the existing structure with access to the roof
  • New stairs and a lift
  • Spaces to house a broad range of events and activities
  • A café
  • Interpretation telling the story of the history and heritage of the castle, dene and wider city
  • Learning spaces for use by schools, colleges, universities and the community

As an educational, community and visitor attraction the castle will enable current and future generations to discover the fascinating stories and rich heritage of the castle, dene and city of Sunderland whilst providing opportunities for volunteering and training.  

To get a sneak preview of the plans for the castle, click here

When will Hylton Castle be opening it's doors?

Specialist contractors William Birch and Sons Ltd began work on Hylton Castle in Autumn 2017.  Their team and sub-contractors are working hard alongside Beaumont Brown Architects on conservation of the existing historic fabric and on the installation of the new steel and concrete structure that will sit inside the castle . The castle will be opening soon.  

  • Summer 2016 – Secrets Revealed - We completed a series of archaeological investigations and revealed some more of the lost history of the castle.  Local volunteers and school children worked alongside professional archaeologists to uncover the remains of long destroyed buildings and artefacts. 

  • Summer 2017 - Getting Ready to Build - Having finalised our detailed designs we obtained the necessary permissions and appointed William Birch and Sons of York as our main contractor.

  • Autumn 2017 - Work began on site.  We recruited trainees and apprentices to work on the construtction element of the project. 

  • Throughout 2018 - The castle remained out of sight behind its scaffolding for most of the year as work to repair the external masonry took place. Meanwhile inside, the structural steel and concrete were inserted to create new floors, pre-cast stairs were lifted in to place over the top of the building, and internal masonry was repaired.  

  • 2019 - Work continues on site to complete the transformation, including underfloor heating system installation, lift, internal walls and ceilings.  Interpretive media such as graphic panels and projections are created ready to install. 

  • Whilst work continues on site, the staff and volunteer team are working with Castle in the Community and others to develop events, learning activities and volunteering opportunities.  If you are interested in getting involved and shaping the project, please contact us.


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