Making memories at The Trentham Estate - Fifteen favourite highlights across 15 years
Trentham celebrates 15 years of reopening from the 29 May 2019 and there's been countless highlights in that time. Here is our pick of a "Top 15 memories over the last 15 years". Did yours make the list?
Butterflies are set to take flight at the award-winning The Trentham Estate, in Stoke-on-Trent between May 25 and early November.
‘Taking Flight’ is the name given to an inspiring temporary installation made up of 5,000 ceramic butterflies, which will take centre-stage at Trentham Gardens - with each limited-edition butterfly hand-crafted in the heart of the world-famous Potteries.
Together, they will combine to form an inspiring butterfly themed art installation, reflecting Stoke-on-Trent’s rich ceramic and metal industrial heritage; and will not only raise money for charity, but also add to Trentham’s growing reputation as an open-air art gallery.
The Trentham Estate is currently celebrating 15 years of having re-opened to the public following years of neglect and decline.
There have been countless highlights in those 15 years, and Taking Flight is widely expected to be one of them. Fittingly enough, as the butterflies flutter towards Trentham Gardens, here - in no particular order - is our own pick of a “Top 15 memories in 15 years”:
1. Perseus visits The Royal Academy
The massively moving moment, when Trentham’s iconic statue of Perseus, took-up residence at The Royal Academy in the summer of 2012 to take on a leading role in the London gallery’s much-acclaimed exhibition called “Bronze”.
2.Tour of Britain comes to Trentham
Britain's leading cyclists added their names to the roll call of the rich-and-famous who have visited The Trentham Estate, in September 2012 when Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish took part in the Tour of Britain which swept out of The Italian Gardens on a 91-mile route before returning to Stoke-on-Trent.
3. The Gardens play host to the Antiques Roadshow
The true value of The Trentham Estate was clearly on show in 2015 when it hosted BBC TV’s Antiques Roadshow, fronted by the fabulous Fiona Bruce, and a host of antique experts.
4. The Capability Brown Tercentenary
Trentham Gardens took centre stage during the 300th anniversary of the birth of the 18th century gardener Capability Brown in 2015. That’s also when the colourful Capability Brown Meadows took root in the award-winning Staffordshire gardens.
5. The Fairies arrive at Trentham
The fairies first dropped in to Trentham in 2012. They brought with them a considerable sprinkling of fairy dust, which provided visitors with a family friendly trail around the gardens, and world-wide notoriety - especially when they were flagged-up as being one of “20 of the world's most quirky and incredible sculptures” in 2017.
6. Ain't no party like a Trentham summer party
Trentham first hit the right note with a full programme of Hot Summer Saturday Dates in 2010. These outdoor concerts have since welcomed thousands of music enthusiasts and party goers. Summer Saturday nights are also sizzling like never before, thanks to its biggest-ever concert line-up for 2019 - all aimed at celebrating the 15th anniversary of the historic estate re-opening to the party goers to the lakeside.
7. The gardens prepares for the 2015 Rugby World Cup
There was a scrum of visitors at The Trentham Estate in July 2015 when the William Webb Ellis Trophy arrived in the gardens during Rugby World Cup year.
8. The gardens become award-winning
The Trentham Estate has become no stranger to awards and accolades over the past 15 years - striking gold for the third consecutive year in 2018 in recognition of its quality visitor experience, by VisitEngland; becoming BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Garden of the Year in 2015; and being awarded the 2010 European Gardening Award for “Restoration, Enhancement or Development of a Historic Park or Garden”. It was also named “Garden Makeover of the Decade” by the Daily Telegraph in the year it celebrated its 10th anniversary of being reopened to the public.
9. Celebrities drop by to view the gardens
Celebrity visitors pass through the garden gate on a regular occurrence. Some prefer not to be noticed. But others, including Michael Portillo, passing through during one of his TV train journeys, and Alan Titchmarsh are happier to be seen and heard. Titchmarsh, for example, described the gardens as: “one of the UK’s must-see gardens”.
10. Two legends visit in 2008
The legendary Pele and Archbishop Desmond Tutu famously joined England World Cup winner Gordon Banks for dinner at The Trentham Estate following a celebrity charity football match between a Banks X1 and a Pele X1 to mark 'Banks of England - A Celebration of Sport for Peace' on July 12, 2008.
11. Blooming Meadows and the 1st Spring Bulb Festival
Trentham Gardens has never rested on its laurels; and in 2017, the gardening team began the large-scale project to create one of the largest sequence of colourful ‘pictorial meadows’ in any historic landscape in Britain. 2019, meanwhile, saw it stage its first ever Spring Bulb Festival.
12. The Monkeys become honorable Stokies
140 monkeys living in Stoke on Trent? It all began in 1969 when the first Monkey Forest park was opened in France. Due to the success of the park, a second was opened in Rocamadour, in France; and later a third, in Germany in 1976. In 2004, two groups of Barbary macaques from the existing parks were re-homed at The Trentham Estate, and the park opened to the public in July 2005.
Trentham’s bustling Shopping Village has been one of the Estate’s great success stories since it reopened to the public 15 years ago. A £7m expansion in summer 2017 added another 18 units to the 63 shops, cafés and restaurants already there, helping cement the Village’s reputation as one of the UK’s most successful new shopping ‘centres’.
14. Fit for Royalty!
When the Woodland Trust confirmed the sites for all 60 Diamond Woods in the UK, The Trentham Estate’s North Park was deemed to be fit for a Queen! It was the year that Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee; and the first stage of work started in February, 2012, when a coniferous forest of pine - planted about 50 years ago as a commercial crop - were removed to prepare the area for the heathland restoration and the planting of Sessile oaks. Since then, North Park has officially been known as the Trentham Diamond Wood.
15. The day is all began
And finally, who could possibly forget the excitement during the first day of opening on May 29, 2004? It was welcomed back, amongst others, by BBC Radio Stoke - which also posted the following account on its fledgling website: “After years of neglect, one of Staffordshire's most famous leisure attractions - Trentham Gardens - is reopening as part of a £100 million regeneration project to restore it beyond its former glories...” -
It was written at the time that 'Sir Stanley Clarke, chairman of St Modwen Properties PLC, today launched Trentham Leisure’s £100 million project to create one of Europe’s leading visitor destinations within the 750-acre Trentham Estate'. We are proud that 15 years later we are able to say that wishes can come true.
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Notes to editors:
The Trentham Estate, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, offers one of the UK’s most diverse days out with a range of leisure activities for all ages.
It is one of the country’s top leisure destinations, attracting more than 3.2m visitors per year and was awarded a Gold Accolade by VisitEngland in February 2018 in recognition of the quality visitor experience offered. The fabulous restored Trentham Gardens at the heart of the Estate attracted over 730,000 visits in 2018 - making them one of the most visited gardens in the UK. Owned and managed by St. Modwen, the expert developer and regeneration specialist, the 725-acre Estate, which was previously owned for over 400 years by the Dukes of Sutherland, has undergone a massive regeneration programme since 2003. The Estate boasts: The famous Trentham Gardens, including the very important Italianate Gardens designed by Charles Barry in the 1830s that have been lovingly restored using top landscape designers. The gardens feature the UK’s first ‘barefoot’ walk, a great children’s adventure play area and maze and a beautiful walk around the mile-long lake, originally laid out by Lancelot “Capability” Brown in the 18th Century. The Trentham Garden Centre and recently expanded Shopping Village, an eclectic mix of shops and eateries with a 119-bedroom Premier Inn Hotel. Trentham Monkey Forest - a unique opportunity to walk amongst 140 free roaming Barbary macaques, in a natural woodland environment for this endangered species. Extensive woodlands.