The Alnwick Garden toasts one of its best-ever years13 January 2020
The Alnwick Garden has toasted one of its best-ever years after good summer weather attracted record numbers of visitors.
A busy events calendar throughout the seasons and our catering expertise helped to boost income from admissions to £2.545m, up from £2.506m, at the gardens, which have now been open for 18 years.
More than 7,000 tickets were sold for its Christmas light show and 1,700 for its first-ever Halloween evening show.
Highlights for the year included the official opening of the Elderberries drop-in centre by HRH The Prince of Wales, as well as a big award win when it scooped the North East tourism large attraction accolade.
During this time, we also took over the Treehouse Restaurant and Pavilion Cafe and also opened a bakery.
Accounts published by the trust show how income from admissions, including friends and gift aid takings, have increased by 23% in the last three years, with the group’s reserves also increasing to £13.8m.
Total incoming resources rose to £5.179m from £5.099m, while total resources expended dropped to £6.193m from £6.213m.
In the trustees’ report by chairman Jonathan Blackie, he reveals that recent research calculated that the Alnwick Garden has contributed £282m to the local economy since its inception, £120m of which has been spent on local suppliers.
The report by Mr Blackie continues: “This year was one of the best ever. We welcomed a significant increase in visitors during the long, hot summer. We also attracted a record number to our Christmas and Halloween events, and in both summer and winter, The Garden never looked better. Jane, Duchess of Northumberland, continues to inspire us to extend and complete The Garden. We are grateful for support from Northumberland County Council, both in gaining planning permission for the new play area Lilidorei, and helping is to be included in the new Borderlands Growth Deal. We have agreed with Northumberland Estates to extend our lease to 2047 and we are considering how we will improve our infrastructure for visitors across the site. As always we appreciate the advice and backing from the Duke of Northumberland and Northumberland Estates and the town and traders of Alnwick.”
Following the publication of the accounts, director Mark Brassell said: “It has been a fantastic year for The Alnwick Garden, and the team and I are very happy with what we’ve achieved. Our commercial success this year has allowed us to significantly expand our social impact across the Region through increasing our resources within the Community and Education team who deliver on our charitable vision. This has included expanding existing services to reach more people than ever before who benefit from our provision, as well as implementing new programmes, one of these being our Drugs Education prevention project, working with children and young people across the county.”
Inside the Treehouse restaurant at The Alnwick Garden (Image: Jamie Penfold)