Work goes on behind the scenes at Midland’s top tourist attractions

Hill Close Gardens, Warwick

While businesses and tourist attractions across the region are closed, essential workers are continuing behind the scenes to revamp visitor attractions and shops.

Despite the lockdown, many industries are relying on essential workers to keep companies going and are using this time to boost their offering for when they can reopen.

At Solihull College, essential workers are taking care of the animals onsite including donkeys, pigs, and sheep, while core workers at Stratford Butterfly Farm are busy looking after the butterflies, fish, iguanas, leafcutter ants, and all the creatures that live in Minibeast Metropolis, plants and gardens to maintain the tropical conditions in which they live.

The Butterfly Farm is hosed down with water each morning to maintain 80 per cent humidity and nectar feeders dotted around the farm are topped up with sugar solution to keep the animals alive.

More than 70 birds of prey are being cared for by the team of falconers at Warwick Castle with daily exercise and feeding required for the over 10 different species of bird, while the playful animals at Cotswold Farm Park are being looked after closely by core staff.

Fairytale Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon has created a Go Fund Me page to help keep the farm’s animals fed during this pandemic, which has already reached the £3,500 target, while staff have been repainting the fairytale magical beanstalk and building new attractions for when they can reopen.

Businesses have also been using this time to revamp attractions, with workers at Coombe Abbey Hotel in Coventry continuing to maintain the rooms and grounds, while staff at Mallory Court Hotel and Spa are working on the ten acres of manicured gardens.

The Farm in Stratford has reopened to help feed the community with priority shopping for NHS workers, while Hill Close Gardens in Warwick are taking the time to paint and redecorate the attraction for when it reopens.

The Avonlea Bed and Breakfast in Stratford-upon-Avon is using this time to refurbish their rooms, with new decorations and furniture, whilst also working on new breakfast offerings with healthy banana pancakes with yogurt and berries set to be on the new menu.

The management team at Hotel du Vin in Stratford have been working to touch up the décor in the hotel’s public areas, meeting rooms and bedrooms as well as deep cleaning the hotel and undertaking essential maintenance.

Staff at the Visitor Information Centre in Warwick are working from home, assisting with admin and answering people’s queries while reviewing the website and sharing interesting facts and history on the area to keep people entertained and educated during lock down.

The grounds team at Compton Verney have been working to maintain more than 120 acres of parkland created by famous designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, with work on the Adventure Playground taking place to keep younger visitors happy when it reopens.

Directors of Go Cotswolds tours are using this time to catch up on admin, bookkeeping and vehicle maintenance as well as working to redesign the new website to launch with a new booking system and regular blog posts.

New learning courses are being offered by WCG (Warwickshire College Group) to help workers in the tourism industry in Coventry and Warwickshire to update their skills with free online training during lockdown.

Helen Peters, the CEO of Shakespeare’s England, the destination management organisation for South Warwickshire, has praised its members and the key workers for their hard work during lockdown, and their commitment to rejuvenating their businesses.

She said: “Despite the difficult situation we are facing, there are so many people continuing to work hard to keep things running, and we must thank these essential workers for their continued dedication.

“Without them, these attractions would not be able to reopen and many of the animals would not be looked-after so their work is crucial to businesses at this time.

“We are looking forward to seeing the ‘new look’ that many of the attractions in Warwickshire are working on during lock down once they are safe to reopen.”