Special visitors top treat at Bodnant
On 19 October a very special guest was greeted at the gates by Bodnant Garden staff and volunteers bearing bubbly, cake and a painting of the garden to mark the landmark of reaching 200,000 visitors at Bodnant Garden in 2015.
The horticultural gem near Conwy in North Wales reached its milestone in a blaze of autumn colour. It’s the first time in the garden’s140-year history that visitor numbers have reached this level.
First ever visit
The lucky guests were Samantha and Simon Hardman from Sheffield, and their little daughter Emily, who is only eight-months-old, for whom it was their first visit (pictured).
They said: ‘We came here to Bodnant Garden on a relative’s recommendation. We were expecting a beautiful garden, but we were definitely not anticipating the shower of confetti, the huge cake, the bubbly and the crowd of staff, volunteers and visitors that greeted our arrival!’
" This was our first ever visit to Bodnant Garden, but it won’t be our last – the garden is absolutely magnificent, and the autumn colours are stunning. We will be back, and we’ll be recommending it to all our friends."
Bodnant’s success on visitor numbers has been shared across many of our special places in Wales, with reports of record numbers throughout the months.
Bodnant Garden was founded in 1874 by Victorian industrial chemist and entrepreneur Henry Pochin. It has since been developed by five generations of his family, and its running was taken over by the National Trust in 1949.
The garden has attracted around 180,000 visitors per year for some years – regularly welcoming around 50,000 in May alone who flock to see the famous Laburnum Arch, the UK’s oldest and longest pergola walkway.
Visitor numbers have been steadily rising since 2013 with the opening of new areas – the Winter Garden, Old Park meadow, Yew Dell and Far End lakeside garden.
William Greenwood, General Manager at Bodnant Garden, says: ‘200,000 visitors has been a bit like our own four-minute mile. We’ve knocked on the door before but never gone through. Now we’ve sprinted across the line. And I’m convinced that we’re going to see more visitors as the garden gets better and bigger year by year.'
‘This is an absolutely amazing achievement and a stunning tribute to the hard work and dedication in all weathers from our hardworking staff and volunteer team.'
" To grasp just how many visitors 200,000 really is, apparently we’d have to empty the Millennium Stadium two and a half times over, and then we’d need 3,175 double decker buses just to bring them all here."