CENTURIES-OLD crafts are being brought to life at a family friendly festival in County Durham.

All ages will have the chance to get stuck into stone carving, have a crack at carpentry or take a closer look at candle-making at Auckland Castle’s free Craft Skills Festival on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, between 10 and 4pm.

The free festival will provide an insight into a variety of historic crafts including green woodwork, felting and leatherwork with experts in skills such as blacksmithing also in attendance to give live demonstrations.

Dozens of talented craft artists will fill the grounds of the 900-year-old castle, in Bishop Auckland.

Victoria Conner of the Willow Barn runs willow-work sessions throughout the year with Auckland Castle Trust and will be holding hands-on workshops at the Craft Skills Festival.

She said: “Willow work is one of the oldest skills, it’s lovely to work such a beautiful natural material and it is a very therapeutic craft.

“The Craft Skills Festival is a great way to keep traditional skills such as willow work alive, and making something from scratch with your hands is such a wonderful feeling.”

Festival goers can also browse several craft stalls and a range of tailored children’s activities will be running throughout the weekend.

Other free-drop in sessions will offer the opportunity to get hands on with herbs to create their own herbal tea blend or aromatic bath salt.

Those inspired by the historic crafts on display can step further into Auckland Castle’s history on a Behind the Scenes Tour, running from 10.30am to 3.30pm on Saturday and Sunday while there will also be a floral celebration in St Peter’s Chapel, from 10am to 4pm throughout the weekend.

Head of visitor engagement at Auckland Castle Trust, Hannah Peaden said: “It’s so important to celebrate traditional skills and crafts, many of which have been around for centuries.

“The Craft Skills Festival weekend is a fantastic opportunity to have fun, enjoy the autumnal foliage and maybe even take home a new hobby.”

For more information visit aucklandcastle.org