© National Trust
The National Trust has opened a new £3.5 million visitor centre at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire.
The new building, which will be officially opened on Monday June 23 2008 by TV gardener and presenter Charlie Dimmock, features light and airy surroundings and fresh interpretation ideas designed to provide an inspiring hub for visitors to the 98 acre gardens and house, which dates back 900 years.
Partly funded by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), the new facilities include a central reception area, a restaurant, shop and plant sales, and a new function room. Car parking facilities have also been revamped, improving access for the less able with traffic free pathways leading to the new building.
“This much needed new building has exceeded our expectations,” said the National Trust’s Regional Director, Peter Griffiths. “It provides a wonderful gateway from which to explore Anglesey. While the house and gardens have always offered a great day out, visitors now have a new dimension to add to that enjoyment.”
© National Trust
The Augustinian priory at Anglesey was built in 1236 and, after Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, it passed into the hands of the Parker family who turned it into a magnificent country home.
In 1848, it was acquired by the Reverand John Hailstone, who is believed to have christened it Anglesey Abbey, and in 1926, it was bought by the first Lord Fairhaven and his brother, Henry Broughton who further developed the house and 98 acre gardens.
Today it is in the care of the National Trust and welcomes over 175,000 visitors every year to both the house and gardens.
As befits a property with sumptuous gardens, the new plant sales area offers the chance to acquire plants from the gardens, whilst the new restaurant uses meat sourced from The National Trust’s sister property at Wimpole Home Farm, together with other local produce.