The Gardens Retail AreaA building at the heart of the North East’s newest visitor attraction is nearing completion following the end of an eight month long building programme.

The visitor centre will be the gateway to The Gardens at Wynyard Hall, a £1.6m garden planted with 3000 roses, within the hotel’s grounds, which is due to open to the public on 4 August.

And the £1m building looks set to become an attraction in its own right after blending contemporary design and building techniques with the original Grade II listed walls of the garden.

The Walled Garden at Wynyard Hall was originally built more than a century ago for Theresa, Lady Londonderry and a section of the Grade II listed walls has been incorporated into the glass and steel design of the new visitor centre.

“The juxtaposition of the old walls and the contemporary visitor centre really works,” said Chris Cant, managing director of Newcastle-based Metnor Construction which was the main contractor for the build.

“The listing and the age of the walls threw up some minor challenges but the result is phenomenal.”

The 36m long visitor centre will be the main approach to The Gardens and will also house a café and farm shop selling locally sourced gifts and produce.

The interior wall which overlooks the garden is almost entirely glazed with French windows, providing panoramic views of the garden itself and work has now begun fitting out the building in preparation for the opening in August.

Tickets have already gone on sale for the official opening on 4 August when Sir John Hall and the UK’s leading rose expert Michael Marriott will cut the ribbon and declare the Walled Garden open.

There will then be a week long programme of family-based entertainment and live music along with the chance to look at excerpts from an album created by Theresa, Lady Londonderry, about the Walled Garden at Wynyard.

The Walled Garden is the second stage in a £5.3m rolling programme of work to create The Gardens at Wynyard Hall – which will eventually cover four acres and be one of the largest rose gardens in the UK.

The first stage, adjacent to the Walled Garden, was the £1.7m installation of the Grand Marquee and Marquee Garden, for weddings and large scale corporate events and further stages will include a £2m investment in the creation of a cookery school, children’s garden and valley walks through the parkland

Tickets for the official opening on 4 August include entrance to The Gardens and afternoon tea with Prosecco and cost £25 each. As numbers are restricted, pre-booking is essential by calling 01740 644 811 option 5 or online at www.wynyardhall.co.uk.

Normal admission prices, of £5 for adults, £2 for children aged between 5 and 12, £14 for a family pass for two adults and three children and £30 for an annual pass for up to eight visits a year, apply on subsequent days.

The Gardens and the Visitor Centre will be open daily between 10am and 5.30pm.