Continuum Attractions, the York-based attractions group, has bought GreenWood Forest Park, a family activity centre based in North Wales.
The acquisition, which was completed in July, sees the attractions group move into the outdoor family attractions sector for the first time.
The company says it bought GreenWood Forest Park, which is located at Y Felinheli, midway between Bangor and Caernarvon, “because it is a successful and award-winning family adventure park business and a wonderful opportunity for Continuum to expand into the family, outdoor attraction market”.
Commenting on the acquisition, Juliana Delaney, chief executive of Continuum Attractions says: “We are thrilled to have added GreenWood Forest Park to the Continuum Attractions family. North Wales is a place very dear to my heart. I have relatives living nearby and have been visiting the area since I was two years-old. It is a region that has a fantastic future for tourism. The park is already such a great day out for guests with a passionate team dedicated to providing the very best experience for everyone.”
The former owners of the park, Steve and Andrea Bristow, who set up the business 25 years ago, made the decision to retire to enjoy more time to travel and spend with family. It is understood that they sold to Continuum Attractions because they wanted the project to be put into safe hands.
Kevin Smith, Continuum Attractions’ group attractions director, says: “We are delighted to have added GreenWood Forest Park to our portfolio of outstanding UK visitor attractions. Continuum Attractions has been keen to expand into outdoor, family experiences and GreenWood will offer a fantastic opportunity for us to do so.
“The park’s focus on sustainability is also really important across our business. North Wales is a fantastic place to visit and has important cultural traditions such as the use of the Welsh language. We are absolutely committed to continuing this tradition and the bi-lingual heritage of GreenWood Forest Park.”
GreenWood Forest Park is a TripAdvisor UK Top 10 Attraction and a North Wales Tourist Board Green and Innovation Award-winner.
York-based Continuum Attractions owns, operates and manages eight other attractions across the UK: The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh; The Canterbury Tales, Canterbury; Oxford Castle Unlocked, Oxford; York’s Chocolate Story, York; Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth; The Emmerdale Studio Tour, Leeds; The Emmerdale Village Tour, near Leeds; and The Royal Mint Experience, Cardiff (management contract).
From Saturday 3 September, Leeds will have a new visitor attraction when the ‘Emmerdale Studio Experience’ opens its doors for the first time.
Situated in the programme’s former studio on Burley Road in Leeds, a short distance from the city centre, the brand new experience will take groups on a journey to show how Emmerdale’s characters and stories are brought to life so sensationally for the screen. The attraction says the ‘Emmerdale Studio Experience’ “will give groups the opportunity to become part of the drama and discover the magic that lies at the heart of ITV’s iconic television series”.
Fully guided tours will shine a light on the production process and reveal how everything fits together. With full-scale set reconstructions, preserved props and costumes, to the secrets behind stunts and special effects, this is a rare chance to step behind the camera and into the exciting world of telly.
Groups will experience the much-loved surroundings of the Dingles, Bernice’s Salon, Smithy Cottage and The Woolpack sets, hear fascinating facts on some of the soap’s biggest storylines, and get the gossip and stories from the studio floor as a guide takes them on a unique tour.
A spectacularly crafted quarter-size replica ‘model’ village’ sits at the heart of the attraction where sculpted rows of ‘stone clad’ cottages, Bob’s café, David’s shop and The Woolpack nestle together illustrating the warmth of village life. Plus, groups have the chance to tread the boards behind The Woolpack bar for a photograph – the ultimate souvenir for any Emmerdale fan.
The visitor experience is being operated by Continuum Attractions in partnership with ITV, a relationship that generated unprecedented demand for the seasonal Emmerdale village tours to the exterior filming set north of Leeds, and the success of ‘Coronation Street The Tour’ in Manchester before it closed at the end of last year.
The Emmerdale Studio Experience tours will run seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. Rates for groups of 15 or more are £18.75 for adults, and £17.75 for concessions and children.
It’s understood that a typical visit will last between one and a half and two hours.
‘Coronation Street On Tour’ opens at the SECC in Glasgow on 27 August and runs until 1 January. It is then due to transfer to Belfast, subject to planning permission. Visitors will be able to see a purpose-built inflatable show dome featuring authentic sets and preserved memorabilia in what Continuum Attractions describes as “a compelling and extraordinary environment”.
Continuum Attractions owns, operates and manages the following cultural attractions across the UK:
What are people saying about the British Airways i360 in Brighton?
The world’s tallest moving observation tower, the British Airways i360, opened in Brighton on Thursday 4 August. Here’s an early snapshot of opinion.
Teresa Machan, writing in The Telegraph, says:
“At three times the height of Nelson’s column, many who look up at the i360 from the seafront promenade comment that it is too high to contemplate riding in. “I must admit I had the jitters,” said one rider, today. “But because the glass curves away you really don’t notice how high you are.”
Or that you’re moving. Our launch was so smooth that it is was only once the beach began dropping away that I realised the pod (an oblate ellipsoid to give it its technical name) was in motion and that our gentle, gradual ascent had begun. This was not a thrill ride – even in today’s inclement gusts. The tower’s cantilever design, we were told, is designed to withstand typical Brighton wind conditions.
First at our feet is Hove’s promenade with its grand, sea-facing Regency squares, the 1884 seafront bandstand and the rectangular expanse of Hove Lawns, where Victorian ladies would parade in bouffant skirts. Brighton’s rooftops trip cheek-by-jowl up the city’s gently sloping landscape towards the great iron canopy of the railway station.
The relatively low-rise domed turrets of Brighton Royal Pavilion are just about visible, and I was pleased to spot unmistakable red-pink façade of the Lion and Lobster pub – another popular Brighton institution.
At around 50 metres the rolling hinterland of the South Downs National Park begins to unfold. I could see as far as Worthing Pier to the west, and east, to Beachy Head. At 162 metres the chalky cliff is exactly the same height as the i360.
On a good day you can apparently see St Boniface Down on the Isle of Wight. “And there’s a white building in the distance that we think is Butlin’s Bognor Regis,” said someone from the i360 team. Binoculars may come in handy.”
“From the top – on a clear day – you can apparently see the tip of the Isle of Wight, 40 miles away. No such luck on my visit. On the hazy afternoon of my 20-minute “flight”, the sparkling white cliffs of the Seven Sisters were a dull grey smudge in the distance, while the rolling Sussex Downs dissolved into a blur. But even on a dull day, the city unfolds beneath you in surprising ways. Brighton’s steeply sloping topography becomes ever more apparent as you glide upwards, as does the pattern of buttery Regency terraces, framing squares that open on to the waterfront to capitalise on views of the sea. The merry hotchpotch of the seafront’s bandstands, paddling pools and beach volleyball courts then slowly flattens out into a train-set landscape, until the Palace Pier is reduced to nothing but a spindly finger of twinkling lights.
The experience is similar to a tethered hot-air balloon ride, the kind that used to entertain Victorian crowds at the nearby St Ann’s Well Gardens in Hove – except you’re trapped inside a glass capsule, cut off from the sounds and smells of the seaside. With the view partly distorted by ripples and reflections in the double-curved glazing (which might prove more of an issue at night, when the accompanying cocktail bar glows into action), it can make you wish for the simpler age of balloons and baskets, and for a gulp of fresh air. To opponents, it may still be the iSore, a Chernobyl chimney despoiling the beach. It could have been designed to feel less like a corporate entertainment lounge on a stick. But by night, when it glows like a sword plunging down from the heavens, it is hard to resist.”
Martin Slater, National Sales Manager with Greatdays Travel Group, says:
I felt privileged to be invited to the pre-launch of the British Airways i360 on Tuesday 3 August. This is simply a combination of exceptional engineering technology and architectural design. Located on Brighton beach, where the once famous Victorian pier stood, it was then said you can experience walking on water. With the British Airways i360 you have the opportunity to experience walking on air! The pod will elevate up to 200 people to a height of 138 metres (453 feet), while simultaneously providing an observation platform giving passengers unimpeded views and the freedom to stroll around or sit whilst taking in the unfolding views. The attraction is ideal for the leisure, incentive or educational market.
The British Airways i360 in Brighton is understood to be on track to open in time for the school summer holidays in July.
The passenger ‘pod’ is now in place and testing it up and down the tower will begin in the next few weeks.
The British Airways i360, which has attracted considerable interest from coach tour operators and group travel organisers, was due to start testing in March. However, it is understood that the delay has been caused by what the attraction says has been a re-ordering of the schedule of activity on the site.
Talking to The Argus newspaper, Eleanor Harris, the i360’s chief executive, says: “British Airways i360 is on track to open this summer, in time for the school summer holidays. Tickets will go on sale next month when we announce our exact opening date. Over the next month we will also see the pod start to move and the lights will be switched on, which we are very excited about.”
English Heritage is to increase the number of coach parking spaces at Stonehenge.
The move follows concerns over a lack of space at peak times and congestion caused by coaches having to double park. The plans, which have yet to be approved, will see the number of permanent coach parking spaces increase to 53. The plans also include the provision of a new toilet at the coach welcome centre, and parking for 26 motorhomes.
English Heritage says 60% of the 1.3 million people who visit the site each year now arrive by coach, a figure far higher than originally planned.
The increase in demand has also brought the end of the fleet of land trains as they were unable to cope. A shuttle bus now provides the visitor transport between the visitor centre and the Stones. A new turning facility is to be built at the visitor centre.
Commenting on the development, Stonehenge general manager Kate Davies says: “Our own experience since we opened our new facilities at Stonehenge in December 2013, together with feedback from industry colleagues and visitors and extensive research have all shown that these key improvements could make a massive difference in the future, whilst maintaining the integrity of the World Heritage Site. This is about English Heritage being able to provide the best possible welcome for coaches visiting Stonehenge.”
Beamish Museum is to build a 1950s town and a Georgian coaching inn as part of a major £17m expansion that looks set to attract an additional 100,000 visitors to the region each year. Construction of what the attraction describes as the single largest project ever undertaken, is due to start at the end of this year and will include a replica Weardale farm.
Richard Evans, Beamish Museum Director, says: “We’re really delighted with the news that our exciting development plans for Beamish over the next four years now have planning approval. It is a real milestone in the 45-year history of the region’s living museum. This is the single largest project ever undertaken at Beamish. It will enable us to create a range of new exhibits for visitors to enjoy across the museum site, offering people new ways to experience the history of the North East.
“We will continue to focus on what makes Beamish the special place that it is, using our collections to tell the story of everyday life in our region through time. The new development will demonstrate a time of huge change for the people of the North East and will ensure Beamish tells the story of a period still in living memory, just as was the case when the living museum was first founded back in the 1970s.
“By 2020 we hope to welcome some 750,000 people every year, including nearly 400,000 tourists from outside the region, which will have a huge impact on the economy in many communities. We will also create around 95 new jobs and 50 apprentices at the museum, meaning we should be employing around 500 people by the end of this decade.”
Beamish is working with communities across north east England and has received initial support for a £10.75m Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The 1950s town plans include a cinema, houses, a cafe and aged miners’ homes. The 1820s expansion will feature a coaching inn, where Beamish’s nationally-significant Georgian collections will be displayed, a windmill that was shipped from Sweden to Blyth, and a replica of the home of Joe the Quilter.
Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, brings history to life, with the unforgettable sights, sounds, and delicious tastes of the past at 1820s Pockerley, 1900s Town and Pit Village and 1940s Farm. Visitors to the 350 acre open air museum discover fascinating stories, meet costumed folk and explore homes, shops and other buildings – many of which were moved to the museum from across the region.