City attractions set for longer opening hours
NOTTINGHAM City Council is extending summer opening times at three major tourist attractions.
After monitoring footfall at the destinations the authority has decided to open them for longer.
But one of the three attractions will also be closed for more days during the winter.
Nottingham Castle will open an extra day from April to October – starting on Easter Monday, April 1 – meaning it will open seven days a week instead of six.
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Wollaton Hall will also open for longer from the start of April until the end of October, opening an extra hour a day, from 10am to 5pm instead of 4pm.
And the historic Newstead Abbey is following suit.
From the Easter weekend the house will open on Saturdays as well as Sundays – and this new Saturday opening will be in effect all year round.
Two years ago Miranda Rijks – whose grandfather, Sir Julien Cahn, owned Newstead Abbey – hit out at the city council's decision to reduce the opening hours at the site.
She wrote to the authority urging it to consider other options, including giving the abbey, once home to Lord Byron, to another organisation to run.
But while the increased opening at the Abbey will be in place all year round, at the two other attractions winter opening will be cut.
Both Nottingham Castle and Wollaton Hall will be closed for two days a week from November to February.
The castle – which is currently only closed on Tuesdays – will remain closed on Mondays as well. Wollaton Hall will continue to be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The opening times of the park, café, shop and gardens at Wollaton Park will not change.
The council says these changes will enable staff to do important conservation works to the buildings and their collections.
Councillor Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure, culture and tourism at the city council, said: "Visitor figures show that during the 14 weeks over the winter period, November-February, we experience a 50 per cent dip in the number of people visiting the Castle and Wollaton Hall.
"It also makes a huge amount of sense for us to make effective use of the down time to care for and conserve these important heritage sites and their precious collections – much like a number of National Trust properties do during the winter.
"The decision to open for longer during the peak summer season will be a great boost for these visitor attractions and allow city residents and visitors to Nottingham to enjoy these sites for even longer, at times when they really want to visit."