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By Hugh Boag
The much anticipated reopening of Brodick Castle is just a matter of weeks away.
And castle bosses have pledged that the new interactive exhibits will only enhance the visitor experience to what is – and always has been – Brodick Castle.
Operations manager Jared Bowers and his team are hard at work training staff and putting the finishing touches to the castle ready for its grand reopening to the public on Friday April 5, with a special sneak preview for local stakeholders two days earlier.
The first change visitors to the castle will see is a new pay booth at the entrance to the car park. The previous visitor centre has been revamped into the new Woodland Cafe, in the style of a modern coffee shop.
At the castle itself visitors will enter through a spacious entrance hall, created on the site of the former cafe, and there will be a new route through the castle itself.
The castle has been closed for two years to allow extensive fire prevention works and for the design of a new castle visitor experience, both of which are now nearing completion.
All of the artefacts of the collections, many of which had been stored on the mainland, have been returned and while many of the favourites will be back on display visitors can also expect to see some new items, which have long been in storage, and a few surprises.
All castle guides will now be in traditional Victorian costumes, there will be music in some of the rooms and special lighting, all to tell the story of the castle and the people who lived there.
Jared told the Banner: ‘The whole effect is to make the castle feel alive and to transform visitors to another place and another time. While we believe the new interpretations will help tell history of the castle, and its people, we can assure visitors that every essence of Brodick Castle remains.’
There will be a new single admission price to the castle and gardens of £13.50 for adults and £9.50 children/concession which allows access to all areas, including the Isle be Wild playpark, just £1 dearer than the pre-closure price, but there will be no gardens only admission.
Jared said he believed the price was ‘amazing value for money’ and still cheaper than similar attractions on the mainland.
And there is lots happening in the gardens too. A new fairy and legends trail has been created behind the playpark. Aimed at younger children his short woodland walk is a celebration of Arran’s magical folklore, especially it’s close links with the fairy world.
The work around the sundial and the walled garden, as highlighted by the Banner in January, continues apace and in another exciting development the long-closed Plant Hunter’s Walk is nearing completion for reopening.
While the castle is reopening to the public next month the official launch will take place on the weekend of May 4 to 6, as part of the Tales of Brodick event, which will be a fun and interactive family event inside the castle. Featuring special characters on the castle tour, these performers will share some of the more interesting stories about life at Brodick over the centuries, of which there are many.
Before then the castle will stage their ever popular Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt over the Easter weekend from April 19 to 21 which this year will also feature a teddy bears picnic.
A full programme of events has also been drawn up for the rest of the year which will culminate in a special Christmas at Brodick extravaganza which is still in the planning stage.
Operations manager Jared Bowers in the grand entrance hall of the castle which is unchanged. The 87 stags heads here, all but one from Arran, were removed and cleaned while the castle was closed. 01_B11castle01
One of the houses on the new fairy and legends trail. NO_B11castle02