The new Visitor Centre at Bradgate Park has been successfully completed and was officially opened by Sir David Attenborough on Thursday, 22nd September 2016. The scheme has been funded by the Rotary Club of Leicester to mark the Club’s centenary year.
The fully accessible centre, located at the heart of the park, is a key feature and enhances visitors’ experiences by bringing together all aspects of the park’s history.
Won in a design competition by GSSArchitecture, the development has doubled the size of the exhibition space and has created a series of innovative displays which tell the story of the park’s natural and human history from 560 million years ago to the present day. Within these exhibits some of earth’s oldest plant life fossils sit close to a model of the Tudor mansion, once home to the nine day Queen of England, Lady Jane Grey.
The Visitor Centre is the first phase of redevelopment works at Bradgate Park, with the second phase design comprising the re-organisation of the adjacent café area to facilitate more visitors.
Sir David Attenborough said, “The centre is just what I expected having seen the plans and it is so nice to see it so perfectly executed. It is important to have a centre like this at Bradgate, as when you visit a place like this you need information provided to you as there’s no other means of getting it. Now when you visit, you can discover the significance of the ruins and look at the rocks and discover that they are ancient volcanoes, there are so many things to be learnt.”
Peter Tyldesley, Director of the Bradgate Park Trust, said “We were delighted to welcome Sir David Attenborough to open our new Visitor Centre, which has been successful beyond our expectations, welcoming 25,000 visitors since it opened on 1st July. This is the first phase of an ambitious redevelopment of the Deer Barn complex of buildings which has been masterplanned for us by GSSArchitecture and we are now looking forward to the next phase which will be a redevelopment of our successful Deer Barn Tearoom that will see it increase in size and capacity. Following the success of our partnership with the Rotary Club of Leicester, we will be looking for new partners to support us in bringing our plans to fruition.”
William Assheton, Partner of GSSArchitecture, said “We enjoy being involved in projects which both benefit and educate local communities, such as this development at Bradgate Park, and for museums in other parts of the country.”