New figures reveal success of new Ad Gefrin whisky distillery and Anglo-Saxon museum in Wooler

There are high spirits in Wooler as the team at Ad Gefrin reveal they have smashed their visitor number target in the first year of opening.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The landmark Anglo-Saxon museum and whisky distillery has welcomed more than 64,000 people since opening last March, vastly outperforming its 35,000 ambition.

The £16m attraction, which received £4m through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, is supporting 60 full-time jobs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Its unique museum has brought to life the largely untold story of the 7th Century Anglo-Saxon Royal court of Northumbria which has its palace at nearby Yeavering.

The Anglo-Saxon museum Ad Gefrin in Wooler.The Anglo-Saxon museum Ad Gefrin in Wooler.
The Anglo-Saxon museum Ad Gefrin in Wooler.

The distillery has had a busy 12 months, getting through 216 tonnes of malt and producing 135,000 litres of spirit – enough to fill 618 barrels.

The signature whisky, Tácnbora, even featured on ITV’s Saturday Morning with James Martin, in an episode which saw the chef using the spirit to make a steamed sponge with whisky custard.

Ad Gefrin also launched a gin, Thirlings.

And it’s not just spirits selling well – more than 43,000 cups of coffee were served in year one in the bistro.

The Ad Gefrin whisky distillery.The Ad Gefrin whisky distillery.
The Ad Gefrin whisky distillery.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Eileen Ferguson, co-founder of Ad Gefrin, said: “We have surpassed all expectations in our first year – that’s after having set ourselves a high bar – but there is plenty more we want to achieve.

“Our team began with a derelict haulage yard and transformed it into a high-end, multi-purpose attraction that is proving popular with visitors young and old.

“I love the buzz around Wooler since Ad Gefrin opened and I hope it continues to bring new people to this wonderful part of Northumberland.”

Cllr Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council and Borderlands Partnership Board Member, said: “Ad Gefrin has been a fantastic success story for both Wooler and Northumberland and we’re delighted to see these figures.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The creation of this wonderful distillery and visitor centre has helped boost this rural economy, sparking a number of other improvements in the town.

“It’s a great example of how funding from both the county council and the Borderlands Growth Deal can help regenerate an area, creating jobs and opportunities for our residents and bringing thousands of new visitors to the town.”

The venue also has a series of events lined up for spring.

Its new programme begins with a special Anglo-Saxon Easter event, including activities, open-air encampments, and museum explorations on March 31 and April 1.

More themed activities have been organised throughout the Easter school holidays from April 2-14.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Its new spring lecture series will take place every Saturday throughout April, with a host of experts leading talks and workshops on a range of subjects.

It begins on April 6 when Margaret Watchorn will lead a 90-minute singing workshop.

On April 13 Dr Alan Rutherford OBE will share insights from his career in the whisky industry.

Renowned author Max Adams will take the stage to discuss his latest book, 'The Museum of the Wood Age' on April 20.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Archaeologist Roger Miket will reflect on his excavation of Thirlings and its significance in understanding the wider Anglo-Saxon landscape on April 27.

Tickets for all are £20 per person and can be booked at

Wendy and Stuart Findley, the creative force behind Acle Early Medieval Re-enactment Society, will be holding a hands-on Anglo-Saxon embroidery workshop on April 18. Tickets £30.

Related topics: