HISTORY, art, music, family fun and panoramic views will feature in a day of celebration to herald the opening of the region's newest landmark.

Auckland Tower, the latest attraction from The Auckland Project, in Bishop Auckland, will launch on Saturday, October 20 with a host of live music, art and tours.

Visitors can read about the history of the local landscape, from the Roman era to the present day, on engraved panels lining the outside of the tower.

The building itself was designed by architects Niall McLaughlin to reflect the town's history and, inside, a first-floor display offers insight into the power and status of the medieval Prince Bishops of Durham and Auckland Castle.

How the Welcome Building and Observation Tower between Bishop Auckland market place and Auckland Castle will look How the Welcome Building and Observation Tower between Bishop Auckland market place and Auckland Castle will look

Next Saturday's ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10am, followed by a performance by seven-piece band Back Chat Brass.

Throughout the day, visitors will be able to see inside the completed building for the first time, including the ticket hall and first floor archaeology display, and climb up to the 15m high viewing platform for panoramic views of Auckland Castle, the town and surrounding countryside.

From 10.15am artist and illustrator Laura Brenchley will run drop-in sessions as part of The Big Draw Festival 2018, encouraging visitors to dress up in costumes and create self-portraits. They will be used to create a large landscape jigsaw for the 900-year-old Auckland Castle, which reopens to the public in 2019 following a multi-million pound conservation project.

Tours of Auckland Tower will include a family-focussed talk on the history of the Prince Bishops of Durham.

Behind the Scenes tours, behind 10.30am and 3pm, will include tales of the Prince Bishops and their former private palace Auckland Castle, and a look at the work underway to return it to its Georgian Gothic splendour.

Past and Future Tours, a 45-minute guided walk around the Market Place, will take place hourly from 10am to 2pm. And tours of the scenic Deer Park will set off from The Clock Tower at 12noon and 2pm.

Staffed by volunteers, the Auckland Tower will sell tickets to all elements of The Auckland Project including the Mining Art Gallery, which celebrates its first anniversary on Sunday, October 21, as well as Auckland Castle, Spanish Gallery Walled Garden and Faith Museum which will open in stages over the next two years.

For more information visit aucklandproject.org/auckland-tower/