Kiplin Hall and Gardens has reported record-breaking visitor figures after reopening following the lockdown.
During July, August, and September this year, Kiplin welcomed a total of 8,556 visitors compared to 6,154 in same three months in 2019 — an increase of 39 per cent.
Director James Etherington said the safety of staff, volunteers and visitors had been key during the reopening.
“From June we altered our foot path routes creating one-way systems, put in place extra toilets, and clear signage. Visitor facing staff and volunteers have been wearing face coverings since June. And we put in place contract tracing methods from day one.
“We have not relaxed any of these measures, but have maintained and adapted them when needed. Feedback from visitors has been great. They feel safe and confident we are taking things seriously.”
“We are delighted to be able to offer a safe place for people to escape to. We’d like to thank all of our visitors, firstly for coming to us, and secondly for adhering to our measures so carefully.
“Although we are experiencing financial losses in some parts of our business, we are delighted to see our visitor figures increase. It leaves us feeling very hopeful about the future of the charity.”
Mr Etherington said the venue would be freezing our ticket prices for 2021 at the 2020 rates.
“All tickets will remain valid for 12 months and there will be no price increase in 2021, helping people’s money go further during these tough times.”
Kiplin Hall and Gardens will open on Wednesday in addition to its scheduled opening days during October.
Staff from the tea room are returning to work from furlough, operating a new service under canvas while the visitor route inside the historic house is diverted through what is normally the tea room to allow for social distancing.
Food will be served to visitors under canvas at seating in a new marque with heating.
A smaller seasonal menu of soups, scones, sandwiches and cakes will be available.
Thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund Kiplin has been able to invest in additional marquees, heating, and other resources to make the venue both safe and financially viable in the autumn and beyond.
The funding was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund.
Kiplin will hold spooky Crowe’s Wood Halloween Trail during October half term.
Playful displays of scarecrows and skeletons will pop up in the walled garden, with spookier, more frightening ghouls emerging in the woodland.
Visit www.kiplinhall.co.uk for opening times and more information.