There’s only one week left until Mount Stuart House re-opens for the new season - and some of the radical changes visitors will now be able to experience are being celebrated with an open day this weekend.
On Saturday, March 19, members of the public are being invited to enjoy the new free-flow route through the house, sample some delicious offerings from the catering team, and are welcome to even take photos of the interior - something which until now was not permitted.
The ropes and druggets which previously sectioned off parts of the house have been removed, ultimately opening up rooms which members of the public couldn’t normally view without paying for a private tour, including the fourth-floor balcony, the ‘Yellow’ room, and the indoor swimming pool.
Visitors are being encouraged to engage with their surroundings, and are free to sit on the chairs and sofas, or even lie on the beds if the urge strikes!
Mount Stuart’s ticketing structure has been revolutionised and now boasts a one-year free admission to the House and Gardens (during opening hours only) to visitors who sign up to the new membership scheme.
Becoming a member involves nothing more than supplying your name and contact details - so for £11.50 (the price of an adult ticket) you can visit the House every day for the rest of the season.
Adam Ellis-Jones, the Mount Stuart Trust’s operations director, says: “These new developments are the first steps in reinventing and redefining the way visitors experience Mount Stuart.
“The new route allows visitors into areas of the building that they will never have seen before and gives them the opportunity to explore rather than just be guided.
“It is essential for us and our long term future that we attract a new audience to Bute and to Mount Stuart. As a key attraction on Bute we need to be doing everything we can to raise the profile and build a new future for us and the wider island.
“What is important is that we attract a different market to our traditional visitors and to do this we must change the way we operate.
“Mount Stuart must be fun, engaging and inspiring. It is a house that is a celebration of light colour and design. The experience our visitors have must get must reflect this, and to this end we’re opening up new areas, getting rid of rope barriers and inviting people to really experience and enjoy Mount Stuart.
“The biggest step forward we have taken in the last year is refocusing our energy to deliver our core charitable objectives. The Mount Stuart Trust was established to deliver education and access and this is fundamental to all our future plans.
“We now have an eduction team in place and we are building valuable partnerships with local schools and community groups. It is important that we are adding value and contributing directly to the wider community on Bute beyond just bringing visitors.
“This is not only important for Bute but it is important for our visitors also; the visitor business has changed. People don’t want to just stand behind ropes and look any more; they demand amazing experiences.
“Fundamental to long term success is the creation of unique experiences and building an emotional response to our offer. We need to create memories for our visitors so they both recommend and return. They need to have fun.”
Head along to Mount Stuart this Saturday, March 19, from 12-4pm - and bring your camera or smartphone! - to see what’s on offer right on your very own doorstep.