Bumper year for Tredegar House, as visitor numbers soar
10:32am Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
AN HISTORIC Gwent tourist attraction has seen visitor numbers almost double since a national charity took over from Newport council 18 months ago.
The jewel in Newport's crown, Tredegar House in Duffryn, experienced a bumper six months for tourism this summer, with visitor numbers topping 45,000 between March and September - as much as for the whole of 2012.
The National Trust, which runs the 17th century house and park, is anticipating visitor figures will hit 60,000 by the end of the year.
The charity's 10-year plan to attract 100,000 people to the house would be worth £1.47 million extra to the local economy, and it has pledged to carry out around £4.5 million worth of repairs and improvements as part of its commitment to enhancing access for all.
The latest visitor numbers compare to around 25,000 people who entered the house on average each year when it was run by Newport council, which still owns the building, parts of which date to the 1500s.
Before the National Trust took over in March last year on a 50-year lease, the house was open from Easter to the end of September and tours operated Wednesday to Sunday, with seasonal events such as Christmas and Halloween.
Now the house is open year round, with some parts only open to the public between March and October.
At the handover last year, the then Newport council leader Matthew Evans said he looked forward to "what promises to be a long and fruitful partnership" with the Trust.
Speaking to the Argus yesterday about the figures, he said: "I had every confidence that the National Trust were the organisation to turn around the fortunes of Tredegar House, it has a long history and millions of members and I don't regret taking the decision at all. The long term future of the house is secure."
An open doors event on September 14 and the annual vintage car rally on September 15 are expected to draw thousands of visitors, and a pirate day in May attracted more than 2,000 people, up 25 per cent on the previous year.
Newport residents and visitors have free access to the park, children’s play area and the council-run library.
Kenneth Smith, a spokesman for the National Trust, said this summer's hot weather contributed towards this year's bumper figures.
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