Finchale Priory: Prior’s lodgings

Finchale Priory © David Gill

The prior’s lodgings are at the east end of the complex.

Finchale Priory © David Gill
Finchale Priory © David Gill

A chapel was placed on the south side of the rooms, and a study to the north.

Finchale Priory © David Gill
Finchale Priory © David Gill

Advice for reopening heritage sites

© David Gill

As heritage sites and locations start to reopen after the lockdown there are various factors to consider. Here is a select list of helpful websites:

Leading Visitor Attractions 2019: Historic Environment Scotland

Iona © David Gill

The visitor numbers for Leading Visitor Attractions in 2019 are now available. Properties managed by Historic Environment Scotland attracted over 5 million visitors in 2019. Top of the list is Edinburgh Castle with 2.2 million visitors, followed by Stirling Castle (609,000), Urquhart Castle (547,000) and Glasgow Cathedral (537,000). Skara Brae on Orkney received over 115,000 visitors, no doubt reflecting the presence of cruise ships.

The top six sites attract over 4 million visitors in 2019.

Historic Royal Palaces: pandemic impact

Tower of London © David Gill

The Tower of London is one of the Top Visitor Attractions in the UK with 2.9 million visitors in 2019. With Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace these three properties attracted 4.5 million visitors in 2019. However, due to the pandemic closure, there is a major impact on income for the properties (“Coronavirus: Tower of London Beefeaters face job cuts due to pandemic“, BBC News 20 July 2020).

Data Source: ALVA. Chart © David Gill.

Heritage tourism: Cambridge University Museums

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge © David Gill

Cambridge University Museums play an important part in the visitor economy for Cambridge (1.3 million visitors in 2019). The Fitzwilliam Museum is the most visited, though there has been a steady decrease in recent years from 441,000 in 2016 to 349,000 in 2019. The Cambridge University Botanic Gardens have seen a steady increase to 334,000 in 2019.

The refurbished Kettle’s Yard and the University Museum of Zoology have seen a substantial increase in numbers, 231,000 and 134,000 respectively in 2019.

Heritage sites in England reopening

Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle looking north from the gatehouse. © David Gill

English Heritage has started to reopen a number of its key sites. Further locations are due to reopen in August.

Details are available here.

Heritage site in Wales to reopen

Laugharne Castle © David Gill

Properties in the care of Cadw will be re-opening from August following the COVID-19 lockdown (“Wales’ ancient monuments set to reopen in August“, BBC News 18 July 2020). The first to re-open will be the castle at Laugharne on 4 August 2020.

The properties will include UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the castles and town walls of King Edward in Gwynedd (Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy, and Harlech) and Blaenavon Industrial Landscape.

Quay Place to close

Quay Place, opening 2016 © David Gill

In October 2016 Quay Place opened in Ipswich. It was a partnership between the Churches Conservation Trust and Suffolk Mind, and allowed this fine medieval church to have a new lease of life. The project was presented as a case study in the DCMS Heritage Statement (2017).

It has now been announced that Quay Place is due to close due to the financial squeeze caused by the pandemic (“Coronavirus: Suffolk Mind to close Ipswich’s Quay Place“, BBC News 15 June 2020). The future of the building is unclear.

Lockdown Impact: The Globe

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The Globe Theatre © David Gill

The Globe theatre on the south bank of the Thames is the latest organisation to admit that it is “critically vulnerable and at risk of closure in the wake of Covid-19” (“Shakespeare’s Globe theatre calls for urgent funds to avoid insolvency“, BBC News 18 May 2020). The theatre is not apparently eligible for funding from Arts Council England. Yet organisations like this will be well-placed to attract tourists to London in the post-CV19 world.

Top 10 Heritage Sites for Wiltshire

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Avebury © David Gill

This is a personal list of heritage sites for Wiltshire.

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Avebury © David Gill

Avebury. This must be one of the most impressive prehistoric sites in England. The village of Avebury sits within the Henge. The monument is placed in the middle of a rich archaeological landscape.

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Silbury Hill © David Gill

Silbury Hill. This artificial hill dominates the land around it and forms part of the Avebury landscape.

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Stonehenge © David Gill

Stonehenge. This must be one of the most iconic prehistoric sites in England with the trilithons.

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Old Sarum © David Gill

Old Sarum. The foundations of the original cathedral and the medieval castle sit within an Iron Age hillfort.

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Salisbury Cathedral © David Gill

Salisbury Cathedral. The cathedral dominates the city of Salisbury. The foundation stone was laid in 1220 and it was consecrated in 1258.

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Bemerton © David Gill

Bemerton. The exquisite Bemerton church has associations with the poet George Herbert.

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Wilton House © David Gill

Wilton House. This is one of the most impressive houses in Wiltshire granted to the Pembrokes in 1544.

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Lacock Abbey © David Gill

Lacock Abbey. Parts of the former nunnery can be seen within the later house. Lacock is important for the birth of modern photography (in 1835).

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Bowood © David Gill

Bowood. The orangery (part of the 1768 south front) and the grounds hint at the grandeur of this estate. The main house was destroyed by fire in 1955.

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Stourhead © David Gill

Stourhead. This is one of the top landscapes gardens in Britain. It was originally laid out between 1722 and 1787. Among the buildings is Henry Flitcroft’s Pantheon (1753).