Shugborough Estate

A photo of Shugborough Hall Bridge and the surrounding lake.

Direct Access was appointed as access consultants by the National Trust for the historic listed Shugborough Estate in Staffordshire.

Constructed in 1693 at the heart of a picturesque locale in the Stafford countryside, this elegant, stately home is the centerpiece of 900 acres of parkland boasting impressive monuments and stunning architecture and is bursting with wildlife.

As consultants for the site, Direct Access reviewed the entirety of the estate for potential accessibility concerns, delivering a report that anticipates adjustments that will allow disabled visitors and tourists of all abilities and backgrounds to be welcomed to the site with their access requirements readily considered.

Our consultants identified many elements typical of historic, classically constructed buildings for improvement, including suggestions such as suitably colour-contrasted handrails, the incorporation of lifts for wheelchair users, and the inclusion of quiet areas for neurodiverse visitors.

As with each Grade listed building, we approach, our audits ensured that the site’s historic significance and grandeur were considered and maintained. We offered realistic and detailed instructions on how the estate can enjoy a significant increase in disabled visitors while protecting its appeal as a place of historic significance.

Direct Access also provided access consultancy for the state’s new visitor centre.

A panoramic shot of the Shugborough Estate grounds in Staffordshire on a cold winter day. In the foreground, a large tree with all of its leaves lost. In the background, visitors approach the estate.

The Shugborough visitor centre project will provide interpretation to enhance the visitor connection and understanding of the magnificent house, gardens, and landscape. The project will consist of several elements including a new visitor centre building and structures for access, picnicking and play within the adjacent quarry.

There are also proposals for a maintenance hub set within a former WWII-era hut as well as refurbishment of the existing plant shop, adjacent to the walled garden.

The project includes much-improved vehicle access and parking removing a dangerous entrance and exit junction and introducing a one-way system of visitors entering through the Lichfield Lodges, arriving at a new car park, and exiting via a new road along the site boundary.

The current visitor offer comprises of the Shugborough Georgian mansion and the surrounding walled garden. The mansion house is surrounded by landscaped gardens and a wider, managed woodland landscape featuring several walks emanating from the visitor car park and welcome building. The grounds feature a working farm and children’s play areas that all add appeal and attraction to make Shugborough a popular visitor attraction.

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