Whitehouse Farm Centre near Morpeth is celebrating another record-breaking year after generating a turnover in excess of £1 million in 2017.

The family business, which also celebrated its 20th Anniversary last year, has reported a 5% increase in turnover and a 4.5 % increase in visitor numbers compared to its performance in 2016.

The boost in visitors and turnover will enable the family owners and directors, to invest a further £100k in new attractions, activities, facilities and recruitment this year.

Karen Lovatt, Operations Director at Whitehouse Farm Centre, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with our performance in 2017. During the last two years, we’ve made several investments totalling £80,000, which have had a significant impact on the business.

“When we launched twenty years ago the Farm welcomed around 20,000 visitors and now we’re seeing in the region of 100,000 visitors a year. This valuable growth and the income it generates will help us to continue developing our visitor offering and events programme with many more exciting activities and attractions to encourage people to return time and again.”

Recent development work carried out at Whitehouse Farm Centre includes new enclosures in the animal barn and reptile house, several new animal species, a refurbishment of the café, the creation of a dedicated ice cream parlour and new equipment in the outdoor play area.

Karen adds: “These additions are just the tip of the iceberg with work due to start on an exciting new project to extend more facilities within the Farm Park and our 21st Anniversary celebrations.

“All the team at Whitehouse work extremely hard to keep developing our visitor offering to ensure we remain one of the best visitor attractions in the county. We have lots planned for 2018, including the roll-out of a fully digital booking system to make it easier for visitors to plan their day with us in advance. We also intend to host more events mid-week to encourage different age groups and community groups to visit us.

“We are already getting organised for the Easter Holidays and making arrangements for our Super Heroes Weekend in May and our 21st Anniversary weekend in July, which promises to be a huge celebration!”

The team at the Whitehouse Farm may soon have another reason to celebrate after beating strong competition from across the UK in the National Farm Attraction Network Awards 2018. The Farm Centre is a finalist in two categories; ‘Best in Education’ and ‘Farm Attraction of The Year’. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony on Wednesday 31 January 2018 at the International Centre, Telford.

Whitehouse Farm used to be the biggest egg producer in the North East of England until the nationwide salmonella scandal in 1998. With egg sales in rapid decline, the Slater family had to diversify to survive. Founder of the business, Keith Slater, now 81, launched a small farm park in 1997 with a selection of animals, a modest tea shop and a couple of play areas.  His aim was to educate visitors on farming life in a fun and engaging way after researching what visitors to the county enjoy and what was missing for the local community.

The Centre now employs over 50 staff and regularly welcomes pupils from many regional schools and community groups on educational farm visits. It’s home to an impressive collection of snakes and other reptiles, meerkats, skunk, marmoset monkeys, deer, wallabies, llamas, alpacas, ponies, owls and parrots, all living happily alongside the more typical farm animals you would expect to find in the Northumberland countryside.

Providing fun for all ages with a range of indoor and outdoor activities across its 40 acres, visitors to  Whitehouse Farm can get hands-on feeding and grooming the animals, enjoy a tractor trailer ride or get to grips with the go-karts, adventure playground and trampolines. Whatever the weather, there’s always something happening at the Farm.

To find out more go to www.whitehousefarmcentre.co.uk, Facebook: whitehousefarm or Twitter @WhitehouseFarm_.