Tatton Park plans to enhance visitor experience
A jewel in the crown of Cheshire’s visitor attractions has unveiled plans to offer visitors a better welcome along with improvements to visitor facilities.
The proposals for the historic deer park and visitor attraction near Knutsford will give visitors best value for money and exciting seasonal leisure activities.
Tatton Park, managed by Cheshire East Council, attracts more than 800,000 visitors every year with its neo-classical mansion, award-winning gardens, medieval old hall, working farm, adventure playground, events and stableyard retail and catering facilities – contributing £34m per year to the local economy.
The council is now planning to press ahead with a £2.3m spend on improvements to Tatton’s visitor arrival and stableyard facilities to improve visitor welcome and bring it up to the standards of other national and international attractions.
This will help enhance the business, conservation and management of the estate and improve local facilities and ‘quality of place’ for Cheshire East residents and for the thousands of people who visit from home and abroad.
Following a detailed analysis of options, discussions with the National Trust and other interested parties, such as Historic England and local parish councils, Cheshire East Council has submitted plans for the exciting designs: to create a new visitor information point close to the existing main car park, which will provide all-weather protection, seating and orientation to visitors on arrival.
Landscaping and more-accessible paths to the stableyard are also planned, to assist those visitors with limited mobility. The planned improvements to toilet facilities, along with making more usable space in the existing barn building in the stableyard courtyard, should all help improve the experience for visitors.
A new central stableyard building on the site of the last Lord Egerton’s garage, is planned to provide a much needed outdoor covered seating area for restaurant customers on busy days. It is hoped that part of this structure will also serve as a new display area for some of the last Lord Egerton’s historic vehicle collection and provide a discrete boundary between the two halves of the original courtyard.
These anticipated developments should enable better use of the stableyard courtyard so that regular seasonal entertainment, such as outdoor theatre, markets and art events can take place for the enjoyment of all visitors. It is hoped to have these new improvements completed by 2020.
Councillor Don Stockton, cabinet member with responsibility for cultural services, said: “This is a really exciting phase in the ongoing programme for the development of Tatton Park to ensure it retains its appeal and continues to offer improved facilities to visitors and Cheshire East residents.
“Cheshire East is proud to be managing this attraction on behalf of the National Trust and we are working closely with them and other statutory bodies to deliver best value for money and ensure that the park and its various attractions continue to educate and entertain the visitors, schoolchildren, volunteers, special interest groups and local community organisations that come here every year.
“Cheshire East is blessed with some tremendous visitor attractions and Tatton Park stands out as a jewel in our crown.”
The proposed improvements to Tatton’s visitor arrival and stableyard facilities are an important element of the vision to enable Tatton Park to balance its conservation and preservation obligations with commercial, social and cultural objectives.
The plans will also help to establish a long-term sustainable revenue stream to maintain the status of Tatton Park as a nationally-recognised heritage attraction and a flagship tourism venue for the borough.