Historic hall reports busiest July on record thanks to local visitors

Kiplin Hall and Gardens.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens has reported its busiest July on record after reopening following the lockdown.  

The charity which runs the attraction near Scorton says they have still suffered significant losses due to the pandemic, but have been encouraged by the number of visitors over the last month. 

The venue welcomed 2,833 visitors in July, generating £12,718 in admissions income, despite only being open for 14 days during the month. 

This was a 23 per cent increase on the previous busiest July.

Director James Etherington said there had been a shift in audience type that quickly became apparent once the gardens reopened.  

“Our core audience is largely retired couples.

“However, following lockdown we saw a huge rise in the number of families with young children visiting.

“We think largely due to advise for the over 70s to isolate when possible and the need for small children to run off steam after being indoors for weeks. These families are also coming from very local locations — 63 per cent from DL postcodes and 25% from the surrounding postcodes, only 12% from further afield.

“We had to pivot our working style to continue to reach these new visitors, for example, working harder on social media and changing our marketing approach, working even more closely with local papers and contacting grass roots community-based newsletters to best reach the local population.”  

He added: “A key draw for families has also been the provision of pizza picnics, especially while our tea room remains closed.

“Mark Craggs normally works as a waiter for us during the week, but is now running his own business, Proper Pizzas, at the weekends.

“His wood fired pizza oven is housed in a converted horse box with a serving hatch.

“This quirky set up is normally found catering at weddings and festivals, all of which were cancelled.”

Curator Sarah Mayhew Craddock added:  “As a passionate horse rider, an industrious individual and having nursed soldiers on the Austro-Italian border in WWII Bridget Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, credited with saving it for the nation, would have thoroughly approved of a horse-trailer pizza company on her drive.”