New visitor centre in Northumberland town to focus on Anglo-Saxon heritage

A new £10.4m visitor centre and whisky distillery in Wooler will champion Northumberland’s Golden Age when it opens next autumn.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 10:47 am
A re-enactment group working on embroidery for the Ad Gefrin Experience.

Ad Gefrin will celebrate the county's Anglo-Saxon heritage, bringing to life the hidden history of the 7th century Royal court of Northumbria, discovered at Yeavering only four miles away.

This was the royal summer palace of the Northumbrian Kings and Queens: a story largely untold.

Kings were celebrated for their generosity; women could own property and were equal in the eyes of the law, diversity was embraced and there was the expectation that new friends and visitors would give, not take away.

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The Great Hall of the Royal Court was a destination for international trade and cultural exchange with connections to people from across Europe and as far as north Africa.

Standing in front of the hearth in the recreated Great Hall, visitors to Ad Gefrin will be swept up in the rich stories of the time, through cutting-edge immersive AV technology that will bring this period of history to life through spoken word, art, music and dance.

A series of projected films will illuminate the lives of the many people that lived and worked in the royal court. Displayed alongside will be a number of archaeologically-important artefacts both found at the original site, and borrowed from leading international museums and collections.

The Great Hall is the stepping-off point for Ad Gefrin’s wider offering: a bistro bar, gift shop and of course the distillery.

Eileen Ferguson, co-founder in the enterprise with her husband, Alan, says: “Ad Gefrin is a destination like no other, and we cannot wait to welcome visitors from both near and far.

"This project is very close to my heart and something that the whole Ferguson family feels passionate about. Our collective ambition is to put something wonderful back into an area that has given us so much.

"In embracing all that the Golden Age stood for in terms of connectedness, cultural exchange and innovation, we hope that Ad Gefrin brings people together and instils a sense of belonging and hope. We are so looking forward to sharing this with the world when our doors open next year.”