Dunham Visitor Centre
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Our new visitor centre is finally open! Within it there's a visitor reception area, larger shop, a dedicated plant sales area, a café with indoor and outdoor seating, plus an ice cream kiosk, toilet facilities and an interpretation and display area.
The internal café design takes references from the garden, whereas the shop interior decoration is largely based on features from the house. Manifestations on the glass throughout the visitor centre reflect various aspects of the house, garden and park. All our staff have been involved in shaping the design of the interior - we hope it’s a true reflection of all that’s on offer at Dunham.
Fitting in with the landscape
Designed by architects Brownhill Hayward Brown, the visitor centre is situated next to the car park. The building is at a lower level to the car park to reduce the visual impact and it is screened by existing mature trees and significant new planting. Specifically designed to sit comfortably within the landscape, the building is of contemporary design and structure, but utilises traditional estate materials such as brickwork, timber and pitched slate roofs. The construction references a number of design details found in other estate buildings.
The three key spaces - visitor reception, shop and café - are linked by a central courtyard terrace and colonnade. Once through the building, visitors are offered a variety of routes to the house, park and garden, including paths through a newly created glade garden.
A sustainable building
With sustainability in mind - the building makes extensive use of natural daylight, it has low energy light fittings, an energy management system, and uses renewable energy taken from equipment submerged in our moat as a source of heat. Rainwater is also harvested to flush the toilets.
The existing facilities at Dunham were designed in the early 1980s for visitor numbers of 250,000 per year, however our current visitor figures are double this. We hope that our new visitor centre will relieve pressure on the older facilities, reduce queues and give us increased opportunities to engage with our visitors.
Work on the external areas around the building is still continuing, so please bear with us for a little longer until all is finally completed.