First look at The Alnwick Gardens' £15.5 million Lilidorei development
It is being billed as the largest play structure of its type in the world – and here’s a sneak peek of the mythical magic in store at Lilidorei.
A major new development at The Alnwick Garden, the £15.5 million children’s adventure attraction, is starting to take shape, with the first of the structures in place.
Themed around a magical village of elves, dwarves and goblins, the new addition aims to attract 280,000 visitors to Northumberland.
The Duchess of Northumberland’s vision for the land, just behind the Treehouse restaurant, is being brought to life by a dedicated team who are also being filmed for a TV series about the development, due to be aired on Channel 4 next year.
Director of Lilidorei, Richard Evans, said it was exciting to see the first structure, an elf house, be put in place, but that the finished article is being very much kept under wraps.
"This project has been in the pipeline for a decade, so it’s very exciting to reveal the first structure,” he said.
“We’ll be revealing the buildings little by little over the months, but the full development won’t be revealed until it opens. No one will have seen anything like it before.”
The team is working with Bristol-based Cod Steaks on the buildings, which include structures such as an elf house, a goblin house and fairy house.
The firm has previously worked with the likes of Warner Brothers on its Harry Potter experience.
Meanwhile, specialist Danish firm Monstrum is creating a huge play structure which will be shipped over and installed in the autumn.
The site will also feature an immersive soundscape, with more than 500 new trees also being planted at the attraction, which spans several acres.
Speaking about the concept behind Lilidorei, Richard said: “The idea is one that’s particularly relevant at the moment: it’s about children putting down their mobile phones and exploring their imaginations with their friends and family.
"What’s also great is that it will be an attraction all year round, particularly around Christmas, so it’s a great economic story.”
As part of The Alnwick Garden charity, once open, Lilidorei has committed to offering Free Fridays during term time, allowing schoolchildren in Northumberland and the surrounding areas to visit the attraction for free during their primary education.
The much-anticipated whimsical wonderland is set to welcome its first visitors from spring 2023.
Richard said: “These things take time and a lot of love and attention, particularly from the Duchess. It’s very much an extension of what the charity does already.
"The Alnwick Garden is already very successful and the castle has its Harry Potter link and we hope this will bring a while different group of visitors all year round.”
He added: “It’s completely designed for children. Of course, adults will enjoy it too. It’s been very tricky for children over the past couple of years, particularly for the early years who haven’t had the opportunities to socialise and take risks and slide down big slides.
"Lilidorei won’t have a set story, it will be a little bit mysterious - it will be about children exploring and creating their own narrative and story.”