Data shows Garden visitors heading into town centre

A view of The Alnwick Garden
Picture by Jane Coltman
A view of The Alnwick Garden Picture by Jane Coltman

More than 378,000 visitors were registered heading between The Alnwick Garden and town centre last year, new figures reveal.

In total, more than 600,000 people were recorded at the attraction, with ticketed visitors at around 340,000 in 2016.

Footfall is up by 14 per cent in the last financial year and with plans in the pipeline to build a themed 13-hole adventure golf course at The Garden, director Mark Brassell is buoyed by the figures and excited by future developments.

He believes the latest visitor data shows that The Garden is helping to bolster the town centre’s fortunes.

He said: “When I arrived in 2015, one of the things I heard was that some people were questioning the value that the Garden brought to the town, so I installed people counters.

“This showed that last year, 378,000 visitors triggered the sensor placed at the Greenwell Road entrance leading directly into Alnwick town centre and the Alnwick Garden. That is a good number and I think it is important that the Garden works to promote the town, because we are a community project and the Duchess wants the Garden to be a key player in the community.”

Last year’s autumn/winter edition of the Garden’s Friends’ magazine – distributed to 14,000 people – included a four-page feature on Alnwick and all the town has to offer.

Mark believes this has helped increase the visitor numbers to the Garden, alongside the attraction’s ‘fantastic staff’ and busy and varied events programme.

He said: “I am very happy with the number of visitors we have had and a big chunk of these are going into the town.

“We had some great events last year and people can expect new and interesting events very regularly.”

Mark is determined to build on this success, with a focus on a ‘bigger and better’ festive offering, with plans for a larger Christmas market and the return of the grand lantern parade, featuring Spark!

The successful Garden of Fairy Tales will be revamped for July and the aim is to open the adventure golf course – to be located by the Elderberries drop-in centre – in time for the school-summer holidays, subject to planning approval.

The Garden has been in the headlines recently after a proposed £8.5million county-council loan to help plans for a ground-breaking play village was put on hold for review.