AN HISTORIC monument given a 21st century facelift will reopen this weekend.

Sandsfoot Castle is opening up as part of the Tudor Fayre on Sunday in the gardens off Old Castle Road, Weymouth.

The castle, which dates back to 1539, was built as a sea defence by King Henry VIII.

The Grade II-listed monument overlooking Portland Harbour is one of the area’s heritage treasures but it has been out of bounds for years because it is structurally unsafe, although it hasn’t stopped some people climbing the ruins.

It has undergone a renovation to make it more accessible thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and support from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Friends of Rodwell Trail and Sandsfoot Castle.

Fencing has been removed, an internal viewing walkway installed and new lighting and interpretation panels added.

The borough’s planning committee gave the go-ahead to the latest phase of the work which involved the walkway last year. Councillors heard the design had been considered with care to lessen impact on the ruin.

The work can be seen during the Tudor Fayre. Events will get underway at 11am with a ribbon cutting at the castle by Beechcroft Primary School pupil Thomas Myers, nine, who won the chance of undertaking the honours after winning a painting competition.

David Carter from the Friends of Rodwell Trail and Sandsfoot Castle said: “By working in partnership, the Friends and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council are proud to be giving back Sandsfoot Castle to the community once again.

“To celebrate we will are holding our fourth Tudor Fayre.

“There will be plenty of fun activities for the whole family, including a 32ft x 8ft painting-by-numbers mural, which proved to be a huge hit with the public last year.

“We hope that members of the community will join us for another fun-packed event.”

Other activities at the fayre, which runs from 11am-4pm, include morris and Tudor dancing, Aunt Sally, skittles, quintain, splat-the rat and much more.

Refreshments are available or people can bring picnics.

This event is part of Weymouth and Portland’s Spirit of the Sea Maritime Festival which runs from June 30 to July 15.