MAJOR York tourist attraction Clifford’s Tower will reopen to the public in August - at least a month after most other English Heritage sites in the area throw open their doors again.

English Heritage says six of its staffed historic sites in North Yorkshire, including Pickering Castle, Whitby Abbey, Scarborough Castle and Mount Grace Priory, will reopen from the coronavirus lockdown on July 4.

“Our staff and volunteers have been working hard to adapt these sites for reopening, putting new social distancing measures in place as well as reinforcing our high hygiene standards,” said Andrea Selley, Historic Properties Director in the North.

“This phase of reopening focuses on larger sites with outdoor spaces, for instance castles and abbeys with extensive grounds, sites with large historic gardens where there is plenty of room for people to roam.”

She said that in York, staff had been having to deal with challenges posed by the tower’s design when trying to open safely within social distancing rules.

She said: “We are of course keen to open as many of our staffed sites as possible - and Clifford’s Tower is a key priority – but we have to put the wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers first by ensuring each site can open safely within Government guidelines.

“Our teams are working hard at Clifford’s to address some challenges caused by the unique design of the historic building, with its one entrance and exit and narrow spaces up to and around the wall walk.

“However, we’re pleased to announce that we will be in a position to reopen in August.”

She added that English Heritage understood the importance of its historic sites to tourism in the area and had been working with Make It York, City of York Council and other local attractions to help support tourism recovery.

Earlier this month, as reported in the Press, plans for Clifford's Tower - including the installation of internal walkways and a roof deck - were approved. The proposals will see the stairs to the tower adapted - with extra handrails and three resting places.