On Saturday 29 July, Northumberland National Park Authority officially opened the doors to The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre.

The crowning jewel in the UK National Parks Week celebrations, National Park staff reported that the new £14.8m state-of-the-art visitor centre and world-class youth hostel attracted over 5,000 visitors in its first weekend.

Over the course of the weekend, The Sill, which was partially funded by the National Lottery through a £7.8m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), played host to a range of activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

The opening weekend itinerary included guided tours of the unique Whin Sill Grassland roof and Youth Hostel (YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall), musical entertainment from traditional Northumbrian pipers, bush craft activities with the National Park Rangers, storytelling with Taffy Thomas and vintage country bus rides between The Sill site at Once Brewed on Hadrian’s Wall and Walltown Country Park, which had been transformed for the weekend into a giant children’s playground.

Dr Sarah Glynn, Sill Manager, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to officially welcome the first visitors to The Sill.

“All things considered, the opening weekend ran very smoothly and the feedback we have received from the public has been incredibly positive.

“As the UK’s first dedicated National Landscape Discovery Centre, The Sill is designed to excite, inspire and enable people of all ages to understand and explore the landscapes, history, culture and heritage of Northumberland.

“The opening weekend was just the very first stepping stone towards achieving this vision and we are very much looking forward to welcoming many more visitors in the weeks, months and years to come.”

Boasting a 90-seater café, 86-bed Youth Hostel, gift shop, fixed and temporary exhibition spaces, a rural business hub, learning and event spaces, a national park information point and a fully accessible Whin Sill Grassland roof, The Sill is open daily between 9.30am and 6pm.

For more information, visit https://www.thesill.org.uk/.