Warkworth Castle

Warkworth, Northumberland

Interpretation and visitor experience

New interpretation, visitor experience, wayfinding and narrative based installations. A full service contract from initial interpretive strategy to completion of site install and commissioning.

Studio Wignall & Moore were commissioned by English Heritage to design and deliver a new heritage interpretation and visitor experience for Warkworth Castle. The exhibition reinvigorates the site whilst telling the stories of the people who used the castle during the 14th century.

We invite the visitor to enter the castle for a day of discovery and exploration. Complete a ‘day’ in the life of your character and understand what it was like for them to live in their time and place.

Underlying each character are a suite of core messages and stories, however, they are experienced through a different lens, for example aristocrat or scribe, chaplain or servant. We were conscious that this household was hierarchical and status-driven, but regardless of the status of the assigned identity the visitor will does miss out on any of the experience. The suite of interpretive devices includes graphic text panels and wayfinding, hidden ‘trinket’ hide and seek trail, interpretative sculptures with physical interactivity, explorable site model and audio tour.

The visitor is invited to explore the castle at will. There are no prescribed linear routes, each intervention and information panel stands in its own right, interpreting the space it sits in. In addition to this, the visitor can choose to follow a particular characters ‘journey’ moving through the castle following their chosen character colour. Children can search for hidden ‘trinkets’ whilst adults engage with deeper layer in the hierarchy of interpretation.
Alongside the new narrative panel scheme, we also replaced some of the damaged or incorrect ministry of works cast iron room names and produced a series of ‘neutral panels’ which provided basic information without narrative.

Each of the five character trails ends with a sculpture which acts as both a culmination to the particular characters journey through the site but also as an interpretation of a larger ‘global event’. Our approach to the outdoor interpretation in the castle was to treat each of the end locations as an opportunity for sculptural response. Some sculptures are at human scale, others at a larger architectural scale with the response to narrative and focus on materiality the same throughout. We wanted each sculpting process to be an interesting mix of the historic and modern – basic methods recognisable to the castle’s original medieval craftspeople (such as casting molten iron) combined with modern methods (such as 3D printed sand moulds) to produce the final pieces.


RIBA work stages 0-7 for
a Grade I Listed Building:
• Interpretation strategy
• Narrative response
• Visitor experience design
• Research and text writing
• Concept design
• Graphic design and wayfinding
• Sculptural responses to narrative themes
• Interactive design and procurement
• Discharging of statutory consent duties including scheduled ancient monument consent
• Design of level access accessible route
• Graphic, text and AV production
• Sculpture fabrication
• Site install of all elements
• Principal contractor