An historic town hall will reopen to the public this week after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Durham Town Hall will also be extending its opening hours from one day a week to four days a week.
The venue, in the city’s Market Place, had been open every Saturday until being forced to close in March due to government restrictions.
However, Durham County Council, which runs the venue, has introduced measures to enable the town hall to reopen. As well as a one-way system to support social distancing, additional cleaning is taking place.
Opening hours over the summer have also been extended to include Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Admission is free and there is no need to book.
Cllr Joy Allen, Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “We understand that after weeks of lockdown, people are keen to get out and about. We also know that many families will be looking for ways to entertain their children during the school holidays.
“By reopening the town hall, we’re able to offer them a fascinating place to visit where they can also feel confident that everything possible has been done to keep them safe.
“Furthermore, we hope the reopening of the town hall will offer another reason for people to spend time in our beautiful city at a time when the visitor economy is crucial to the county’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The town hall began opening to the public in November 2018 and welcomed more than 11,000 visitors in just a year.
Visitors can learn about the powerful Prince Bishops who ruled the county from the 11th Century, the evolution of local government, and how the town hall developed from the first timber structure of 1356 to the building it is today.
They can also find out about the role of the Mayor and the Mayor’s Bodyguard, who have been based at the site since 1602, and the ancient trade guilds and freemen of the city, who for centuries held political and economic power in the city and who continue to meet in the building’s Guildhall.
The town hall is open from Wednesday to Saturday during the summer holidays, from 10am to 3pm. No booking is required. For more information call 03000 267 955 or email DurhamTownHall@durham.gov.uk