Ragley Hall cuts opening hours
RAGLEY Hall has confirmed it is to significantly reduce the amount of time it is open to the public.
The chief executive of the historic estate has said the home and gardens will now not open every weekend and will instead only be open to the public on event weekends.
Alan Grainger has said the decision has been made after a review of every aspect of the estate’s business, which also includes farming, a wood mill, farm shop, café and garden centre.
It comes in the year of the 60th anniversary of the home to the Hertford family for nine generations first being opened up to the public.
There are currently ten events planned to take place in the 6,500-acre estate of the Grade I-Listed Palladian mansion throughout 2018.
They include several music concerts, the Game Fair and Battle Proms.
Granger added: “It costs a six-figure sum to upkeep Ragley Hall and as leisure behaviour patterns change we need to move with the times. As a result we are also altering the opening times of the house and grounds, so they run in parallel with the event programme, rather than being open every weekend and will include the guided tours.
“We will also still be taking bookings from tour companies, as the estate is a popular attraction for international and national parties.
“These changes have been more than a year in the making, we have kept our staff informed throughout. We believe it is a very positive step forward and will help ensure the future of what is not only a wonderful ancestral home, but also a national treasure.”
Ragley Hall was completed in 1680 and refurbished between 1956 and 1958, when it became one of the first stately homes opened to the public.
It has twice been threatened with demolition by the Seymour family, amid financial problems.
The current owner is the ninth Marquess of Hertford, Henry Seymour, who is also the 24th High Steward of Stratford-upon-Avon.