The new Visitor Centre at Houghton Hall Park in Houghton Regis has opened its doors.
The centre was made possible by a £2.1m National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund, together with funding from Central Bedfordshire Council and Houghton Regis Town Council.
Sited in the historic 18th century parkland of Houghton Hall, the fully accessible centre is home to two meeting rooms, a discovery and learning corner, as well as a fully equipped café offering a wide range of drinks, light bites and meals.
The centre is free, has free parking (for three hours) and is open all year. It is also fully accessible, including an accessible toilet.
The centre forms part of the wider Houghton Hall Park Renaissance and Renewal Project. The project has also restored the formal garden adjacent to Houghton Hall, reinstated the kitchen garden, provided easy-access paths and installed innovative natural play equipment around the park.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “It has been a real team effort with lots of challenges. It’s down to the hard work, creativity, and the help of some fantastic people that we have this beautiful visitor centre. We are looking forward to holding a large family event in May as a celebration for the full project when the planting is starting to bloom, but we didn’t want to delay the opportunity for the local community to enjoy the visitor facilities as soon as they were ready.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “We’ve been delighted to support the regeneration of Houghton Hall Park. Parks often play a vital role in the life of a community and act as a connection to heritage. We look forward to seeing the benefits of the fantastic new visitor centre.”
The Visitor Centre will be open to the pubic between 10am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5:30pm on Saturday and Sunday until the end of October. Winter opening hours are 10am – 3pm on weekdays, and 9am – 3pm on weekends.
An activity programme of events will be delivered throughout the year. For more information please visit www.facebook.com/houghtonhallpark or visit the Houghton Hall Park website www.houghtonhallpark.org/home.