We saw the doors swing proudly open for the first time to the public on Saturday 17th March following a busy press opening on the Friday.
Sarah Beeny the widely known property renovation screen star marked the occasion by cutting the ceremonial ribbon. The slicing of which, signified the start of a new chapter in the Abbey’s story. From that moment the stage was set, an opportunity for all the trustees, volunteers and hardworking members of the project teams to take in all the blood, sweat and tears that had been poured into the building up until this point. It was a day full of happy exchanges between different contributors, all beaming with pride regarding the beautifully restored Abbey.
Following the press day, it was time to welcome the public to site. With weather warnings looming over us and the ‘mini beast’ from the east nipping at our heels, we were unsure how it would pan out. In line with true British grit, the weather did not get in the way. We saw hundreds of people arrive at the Abbey to enjoy in the festivities, explore the building and be a part of our big day.
The weekend played host to a variety of characters, from jousting knights to elegant eagles, there were many personas of the past roaming through the Abbey and interacting with our guests. The Tudor kitchen was brimming with life as it once would have been and the fire was roaring, aiding the preparation of tasty traditional dishes after probably 200 years leave of absence.
To see all the elements of this historic building being used again by the public was a special moment in Delapré Abbey’s modern history. We now expect to see the public here enjoying the lovingly restored Abbey for many years to come. The opening weekend has paved the way for future events, weddings and educational excursions and now with the Abbey being open daily, except Thursdays, it is finally ready to be utilised as it always should have been.