Families flock to top attraction during summer

Keith Slater, founder of Whitehouse Farm Centre, is pictured with Nelson, the farm's new mascot.
Keith Slater, founder of Whitehouse Farm Centre, is pictured with Nelson, the farm's new mascot.

It is celebration time for Whi-tehouse Farm Centre after a record-breaking summer.

The family business, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in July, welcomed 14,000 visitors during August – a seven per cent increase on the same time last year – and this helped it to generated more than £180,000 in turnover for the month.

The attraction, near Stannington, is home to an impressive collection of snakes and other reptiles, meerkats, skunks, marmoset monkeys, deer, wallabies, llamas, alpacas, ponies, owls and parrots, all living happily alongside the more typical farm animals you would expect to find in the Northumberland countryside, including sheep, goats, pigs and cattle.

Those who come along can also enjoy a tractor-trailer ride or get to grips with the go-karts, adventure playground and trampolines.

Karen Lovatt, operations director at Whitehouse Farm Centre, said: “In 1997, the farm attracted 20,000 visitors annually and now we see over 100,000 visitors a year.

“This growth and the income it generates enables us to continue developing our visitor offering and events programme with exciting new activities and attractions for people to come back again and enjoy.

“The figures for August are a fantastic tribute to the hard work of all our staff and our many wonderful friends, both old and new, who visited during the summer holidays.”

Founder of the business, Keith Slater, now 81, launched a small farm park 20 years ago with a selection of animals, a modest tea shop and a couple of play areas.

The family has worked extremely hard to develop the business into one of Northumberland’s favourite visitor attractions. It currently employs more than 50 staff and regularly welcomes pupils from many regional schools and community groups on educational farm visits.

Investments to mark the anniversary include a new interactive indoor play area and ice cream parlour and it has introduced Nelson the Pig – its official farm mascot.