Auckland Academy


About The Auckland Project

The Auckland Project is a world-class heritage, arts and faith destination being created in Bishop Auckland. At its heart is a mission to revitalise the future of the town through employment, training and educational opportunities.

By 2024, Bishop Auckland is predicted to attract  around 750,000 visitors every year. To help prepare for this, more than 8,000 opportunities for training and skills development will be created in the next three years by The Auckland Project, along with 60 apprenticeships including 34 funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

25 additional apprentices are already developing their skils with The Auckland Project, working in areas such as Horticulture, Curatorial, Events, Visitor Services, Engagement and Catering.

The centrepiece of the visitor destination will be 900-year-old Auckland Castle, which will sit alongside a new Faith Museum, Spanish Gallery, Mining Art Gallery,  Walled Garden, Auckland Tower visitor centre, Deer Park, a hotel and a number of restaurants.

The first new attraction to launch was the Mining Art Gallery which opened in Bishop Auckland Market Place in October 2017. It is the UK’s first gallery dedicated to exploring how miners responded to their experiences through art - from the claustrophobia and fear of life underground to the camaraderie and spirit of the communities they returned home to.  The Gallery is a permanent home for more than 400 works from prominent local mining artists including Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish

In July 2018, Auckland Tower will open its doors, offering visitors a warm welcome and a chance to collect information and tickets.

Auckland Castle, the palatial home of the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham will open in December 2018. It is currently undergoing a multi-million pound conservation programme. Once complete, visitors will be able to tour the Castle’s State Rooms, returned to their Georgian Gothic splendour and take in an atmospheric presentation of the history of the Prince Bishops and their lives at Auckland Castle over the centuries.

The Spanish Gallery and Faith Museum will then follow in 2019.

To date, more than £200m has been committed to achieving The Auckland Project’s long term ambition, including £11.4m from HLF.

As part of this mission to boost employment, training and educational opportunities, The Auckland Project is also working closely with a range of local businesses and community groups. Since 2015, it has engaged with more than 6,000 students from 45 different schools as well as children, teenagers and other specialist groups.

Auckland Academy, established in partnership with Bishop Auckland College, offers young people a route into apprenticeships whilst remaining in education.

The Auckland Project is proud to be supported by a range of organisations, charitable trusts  and individuals.  A full list of existing donors and project partners is available at: 


The Auckland Project and Bishop Auckland College have joined forces to create Auckland Academy, a partnership designed to offer young people in Bishop Auckland an opportunity to develop their skills and gain hands on experience while staying in education.

This is the first time an independently-run heritage attraction and further education college have joined forces in this way.

By 2024, 750,000 regional, national and international visitors are expected annually to Bishop Auckland. To help cater for this, we need to start training the workforce now.

Through the new initiative we will nurture and train young people who are interested in being part of this unique tourist destination.

The Heritage Lottery fund is supporting 34 of the apprentices over three years, these young people will gain experience in many areas of the business including, catering, horticulture, business, tourism and customer service.