Multi-million pound Chester House Estate draws in 24,000 visitors in first month
It's a 'positive start', say the council
Thousands of visitors have passed through the gates of North Northamptonshire Council's free-to-enter £14.5m heritage and tourist attraction since it opened, new figures have revealed.
Numbers have been bolstered by guests to the Archaeological Research Centre (ARC) and customers at the Halloween pumpkin patch, and a winter wonderland and grotto.
The council says it has brought in 20 per cent more income than the budget had set.
A spokesman for North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) said: "After opening its doors to the public in October 2021, The Chester House Estate has exceeded all expectations by welcoming thousands of visitors and hosting a sold-out Christmas event.
"Since opening its doors to the public on October 23, The Chester House Estate has enjoyed an incredibly successful two months that surpassed even its dedicated team’s expectations.
"Between launch day and November 30, 2021, over 24,000 visitors came to explore the national heritage venue and its offering, generating an income that exceeded the initial budget plans by 20 per cent."
Over the course of ten months the 17th Century Grade II-listed farmhouse and its grounds were remodelled, restored and updated using funding from North Northamptonshire Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The project also saw the addition of an on-site restaurant, a two-bedroom bed and breakfast unit and a shopping village.
Boosting the total were 600 visitors who toured the on-site ARC in its opening week and three seasonal events hosted between October and the end of December. The Halloween Pumpkin Patch saw more than 4,000 lanterns being carved. The site's Father Christmas experience sold out every weekend, as did the inaugural Christmas Fair that welcomed 2,000 people each day.
Chester House Estate manager Jack Pishhorn thanked the 200 volunteers working across the site for supporting the project.
He said: “A huge thank you has to go to our fantastic volunteers, who help to support the whole operation and make it sustainable. They have been doing everything from manning the café to playing a Christmas elf, supporting our learning programmes and keeping the site well presented. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Looking towards 2022, there are many more plans in the pipeline waiting to be activated over the coming months. They include the opening of the 'Farmhouse Apartment Bed & Breakfast' facilities and introducing The Chester House Estate as a wedding venue from February 1, 2022, onwards.
Cllr Helen Howell, deputy leader of North Northamptonshire Council and executive member for sport, leisure, culture and tourism, said: “We are thrilled with how warmly everyone has embraced the Chester House Estate and all it has to offer.
"This is only the beginning, we have had a very positive start, and now we are looking forward to 2022 when we will be offering an even bigger range of facilities and events.
"Chester House Estate really is an amazing venue so if you have not already visited, put a date in your diary for 2022. We have a fantastic team waiting to welcome you."
Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of NNC, added: “As we come to the end of 2021 and look towards 2022, we would like to thank all of our visitors for their support, feedback and generous donations. It really has been an excellent start to the next chapter of the Chester House Estate.”
For more information and to find out what’s on at The Chester House Estate visit www.chesterhouseestate.org
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