Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust is a registered charity formed to preserve Hartlebury Castle (home to the Bishops of Worcester for more than a thousand years) for education, the use and enjoyment of everyone, and to preserve the 18th century Hurd Library within the Castle. In October 2014 the Trust was awarded £5M by the Heritage Lottery Fund to purchase the Castle and Estate, with restoration work completed in May 2018.
Our aim is to make the wonderful stories of the Bishops and the Castle, as well as the Hurd Library, the Collections of the Museum and Castle and Gardens into an integrated visitor destination in collaboration with Worcestershire Country Council and Museums Worcestershire. The visitor experience includes tours of the house and gardens, regular events and activities, a café and shop. The site is also to be developed further as a unique private functions venue.
In 2014 after 7 years of campaigning, the Trust was successful in securing funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund of £4.9m to purchase and restore the castle and its estate, so that it could be opened to the public for the first time. The Trust took ownership of the site in March 2015 and since then has taken a focused, proactive and pragmatic approach to restoring the fabric of the building and its grounds, enabling more people and a wider range of people to engage with castle's heritage and historic environment. Following the completion of initial construction work, the site formally opened in May 2018.
The Trust's day to day activities now cover:
- The operation and management of a historic visitor attraction
- The provision of both formal and informal learning opportunities
- Retailing (On site gift shop)
- Catering (On site cafe)
- Special Events
- Weddings and other Private Hires
- Rental property management (3 cottages, 2 farm business tenancies, 1 fishing lake lease)
Having successfully opened the castle and estate to the public, the Trust now faces a significant period of further change, as it takes on the organisational development challenge of transforming
itself from a small campaigning charity into a much larger, income generating organisation, capable of sustaining the heritage asset it is responsible for protecting.