A NORTH-EAST cultural attraction is to build on the momentum of record-breaking attendances by opening on Sundays.

Ushaw Historic House and Gardens attracted more than 53,000 visitors in 2019 – a 20 per cent increase on the previous year – and it is appealing for more volunteers to help it cope with the increased demand.

The historic estate, which dates back more than 200 years, will be open to the public on Sundays from April 5.

Ushaw, on the outskirts of Durham, has enjoyed steady growth in visitor numbers since it re-opened as a tourist attraction, events venue, business centre and creative hub eight years ago.

Peter Seed, Ushaw’s Director of Operations, said: “We are thrilled by the way the popularity of Ushaw has grown year on year, so it seems a natural progression to now open on Sundays.

“Visitors have been asking when we would start to open on Sundays, so we know the demand is there.”

Opening hours, seven days a week, will be 10am-5pm with last orders in the cafe 30 mins before closing.

As well as touring the estate and viewing the latest exhibitions, visitors will also be able to enjoy high quality Sunday lunches and afternoon teas in the Divines Refectory, which is reminiscent of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books.

Ushaw has around 90 regular volunteers but opening on Sundays, alongside a growing education programme, means there is a need for more.

“Our wonderful volunteers are the lifeblood of the place, representing a huge resource for us,” said Mr Seed. “As we push forward, we need to find as many willing and able volunteers as we can.”

The importance of volunteering at Ushaw is reflected in the recent appointment of Pam Lovell as Volunteer Co-ordinator.

She said: “We are looking for people with all sorts of skills, including gardeners, receptionists, tour guides, shop assistants, researchers and archivists.

“Our volunteers are already doing so much and opening on an extra day inevitably means we need more helping hands. Ushaw is an amazing, friendly and inspiring place to work, and there are lots of opportunities to become part of it, with all kinds of training available.”