Staff and volunteers at Landguard Fort have thanked visitors from East Anglia and beyond for their support in making 2022 another successful year for the Felixstowe attraction.
A visit from Santa rounded off a bumper 2022, which saw more than 22,000 visitors pass through the gates of one of Suffolk's top visitor attractions – taking them on a journey through over 400 years of military, social and geopolitical history.
Staff and volunteers are constantly working hard to provide new exhibits and facilities for visitors, and some of the 2022 highlights include the introduction of a multimedia tour app for smartphones and tablets, provision of additional ramps for wheelchair users, collaboration with Felixstowe Museum to offer money saving joint-tickets for visitors to both attractions, reintroduction of the spooky 'ghost tours', installation of two replica 17th century cannons, the development of a new Victorian officers’ quarters exhibit and the complete revision of all interpretation signage.
Landguard Fort has established itself as an events venue as well as a visitor attraction. The fort was chosen as the 2022 venue for an episode of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, The Suffolk Youth Orchestra (pictured), the display of an art installation called ‘Journey with a Container', The Pantaloons’ open-air theatre production of The Wind In The Willows, the Festival of the Sea, the lighting of the Felixstowe beacon and events to commemorate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, and The Little Fort Of Horrors halloween scare-night events.
Lots of re-enactment groups also stayed at the fort for a weekend during the year – allowing visitors to see how soldiers lived during the centuries – including The Suffolk Regiment, The Sheppey Pirates, The 95th Rifles, and The Home Guard.
Themed trails continue to be a favourite, with younger visitors challenged to find a number of themed objects placed around the fort in order to receive a goody-bag on completion. The last year featured Easter, the Queen's corgis, pirates, soldiers and Halloween pumpkins as trail themes.
‘Felixstowe's Big Festive Family Treat event provided the season finale, and biggest feature of 2022, when more than 1,500 people visited the fort between 17 and 19 December. Children obtained a special passport stamped in each of the seven unique Christmas themed rooms before visiting Santa in his grotto. Everyone had the chance to enjoy the hot chocolate, mulled wine, mince pies and seasonal music provided to get into the Christmas spirit. Mother nature didn't provide any real snow, so the fort provided some of its own to complete the winter wonderland.
Entry prices for the event were purposefully kept the same as the previous year to ensure that as many people as possible could visit and enjoy some seasonal cheer without entry being cost prohibitive. Here's what some visitors had to say:
"This was the best grotto we have been to in five years, really well set out and such friendly volunteers. Well done everyone."
“Have been telling everyone about the wonderful time we had on Sunday….Everyone we came across was so joyful and kept the magic alive.”
“We loved it. Thank you for making it so special. The whole experience was great, and it was clear that a lot of time and effort was put into the event.”
Landguard Fort is now closed until February half term, when it will be open every day from Saturday 11 to Sunday 19February. Find out more about Landguard Fort by visiting the website.