HARTLEBURY Castle will reopen its doors to visitors this weekend, despite being "well short" of its fundraising goal.

A campaign was launched by trustees in May to save the historic building after weeks of lost income left the future of the castle under threat.

Now, as government lockdown restrictions are eased on Saturday, July 4, Hartlebury Castle is set to open its doors to members of the public for the first time since March, while trustees attempt to raise another £5,000 to secure its future.

Chair of Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust, Paul West, said: "The castle has an amazing history which belongs to us all.

"It is a beautiful, peaceful place which is enjoyed by people of all ages and hosts a wide range of events with something for everyone.

"It would be tragic if this were lost to the people of Worcestershire and beyond."

Due to the loss of income during the lockdown, which saw numerous events cancelled, the castle will only be reopening the Bishop's House on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

To help Hartlebury Castle reach its £10,000 fundraising goal before the deadline on Wednesday (July 8), go to crowdfunder.co.uk/help-hartlebury-castle-survive-coronavirus-1.

This weekend will be the first time museums, including the County Museum at Hartlebury Castle, can open their doors since the country went into lockdown.

The museum is following government safety advice with a number of measures in place to keep visitors and staff safe.

These include queueing and one-way routes to help manage social distancing, enhanced cleaning schedules and hand sanitiser stations.

The site will be asking for card payments rather than cash for admissions and shop purchases.

Head of Museums Worcestershire, Philippa Tinsley, said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to welcome visitors to the County Museum at Hartlebury Castle once again.

"Providing a safe and healthy visit is our top priority. We hope visitors will be looking forward to enjoying the historic site and its wonderful displays and collections once more.”

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member with responsibility for communities, added: “Being able to welcome people back to our museums is an exciting time. The Museums Worcestershire team has been working extremely hard to ensure that visitors and staff are safe and social distancing is possible.”

At the County Museum at Hartlebury Castle, visitors can enjoy favourite museum collections including toys and games and gypsy caravans and explore the Fashioning Peace exhibition featuring a display of fabulous fashions showcasing the glitz and glamour of the 1920s.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays visitors will be able to access the County Museum only, and reduced admission prices on those days will reflect this.