A magnificent 'welcome hall' created at Windsor Castle by George IV has been restored and opened to the public for the first time in 150 years.

The Inner Hall was designed in the 1820s as a space to receive official guests. But Queen Victoria had it closed off in 1866 and it was used as a storeroom for years.

Now layers of paint have been removed to reveal the intricate design of the ceiling decorations. These are the work of Francis Bernasconi, the most fashionable stuccoist of the Regency period, who worked at Windsor during the reigns of both George III and George IV.

The Inner Hall is within an area of the castle that dates back to the mid-14th century, when Edward III turned Windsor from a military fortification into a Gothic palace. Adjacent to the Inner Hall is a new display of architectural fragments, found by the architect Jeffry Wyatville during his renovations at Windsor in the 1820s. The pieces of stone are believed to be remnants of the buildings constructed around 1110 by Henry I, who established the Castle as a royal residence.

The opening of the Inner Hall and the creation of the new route through to the State Entrance hall are part of Future Programme, a series of projects funded by Royal Collection Trust to enhance the visitor experience at Windsor Castle.

Another recent addition to the visitor route is a display telling the story of the Castle’s 1,000-year history. Next year will see the opening of a dedicated Learning Centre and the Castle’s first permanent café in the medieval Undercroft.