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Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010
Lindisfarne Castle goes live on Google Street View

Lindisfarne Castle
You can now take a vitual tour of Lindisfarne Castle on Google Street View

It normally involves a very well planned trip across a causeway - but now there's a much easier way to see Lindisfarne Castle up close. It's going on Google Street View.

From Thursday 21 January you can get a 360 degree ground level tour of the outside of the castle on the map-based website.

You'll be able to see the 16th-Century stonework and the famous walled garden in detail without leaving your home.

Nick Lewis, the house steward, said the monument could now reach a worldwide audience.

Special trike

Nick said: "Lindisfarne Castle is one of the iconic images of the North East and to improve access, albeit virtually, is a massive boost."

Lindisfarne Castle on Google Street View
You can click on the arrows to see right round the castle

Getting the castle on the site wasn't an easy process.

The photographs were taken last summer using an 18 stone (114.3kg) Google Trike - a three-wheeled bike with a mounted camera designed to reach places inaccessible by car.

Since then, the images have been stitched together to create a 360 degree view of the castle on a special route designed with the help of the National Trust.

Eiffel Tower

It is not just Lindisfarne Castle that's getting the Google treatment. Several other National Trust attractions are being added to Street View at the same time.

They include Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal near Ripon and Yorkshire's Malham Tarn Estate.

They're joining other world monuments such as the Eiffel Tower on the website.

If anything I think it's going to bring in even more people
Nick Lewis, house steward

But if people can get great views of these monuments on the web will they be less likely to visit them in person?

Nick didn't think so. He said that while people may get a great view of castle's exterior they won't get to see its interior decoration - designed by former owner Edwin Lutyens in the early 1900s:

"It's never going to be the same - a virtual visit. People are going to see how fantastic the castle is in greater detail. If anything I think it's going to bring in even more people."

Record numbers

Nick said the castle had seen unprecedented visitor figures during the 2009 season, due in part to people holidaying at home.

"When we've been predicting numbers to drop because of the recession, they've actually gone up by 15%," Nick said.

"We've just passed the 100,000 mark for the first time."

Lindisfarne Castle is currently closed for the winter and will officially open for the 2010 season on 13 March. However, it will also be open several weekends in January and February.

For more details visit the National Trust website.

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