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Case Studies > The Castle and Gardens of Mey

Caithness


Case Study The Castle and Gardens of Mey Caithness www.helpingithappen.co.uk
Case Study The Castle and Gardens of Mey Having acquired the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland in 1952, Her Majesty The Queen Mother restored it and created the beautiful gardens which are present today at The Castle and Gardens of Mey.

The Castle and Gardens have been owned and run by The Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust which is a registered Scottish Charity since 1996. The trust has management objectives which focus on the community, education and farming Aberdeen Angus and North Country Cheviots; preservation of historical buildings and financial assistance to other charities concerned with the Scottish heritage.

With education as one of its objectives, the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust recognises the need to be accessible to students. With this in mind, every year educational groups such as school parties, nurseries etc are allowed in free of charge to experience all the Castle and Gardens have to offer.

The Castle and Gardens of Mey are open to public in the summer months and hold VisitScotland's highest award of a 5 star grading. Their annual assessments include all aspects of the castle, gardens, animal centre, gift shop and tearoom. The business has also recently been awarded the Gold award for Green Tourism.

In an area with few employment opportunities, the Castle and Gardens employ nine local people all year with forty one additional staff employed over the busy summer season. They are also very lucky to have some volunteers who help both in the garden and as guides. All staff have undertaken training as World Hosts and the Castle and Gardens of Mey is now recognised as a World Host destination.

Following on from what the Queen Mother began, for three days each year the Gardens of Mey are open in support of Scotland’s Garden Scheme with 40% of the donations going to local charities and 60% to Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.

The Castle and Gardens attract around 20,500 visitors each year. Foreign visitors are made to feel welcome with information sheets available in a number of languages. Despite being a historical building the staff do all that is possible to ensure access for visitors.

The Animal Centre was opened in 2007 making use of the redundant granary building and pig sty. The centre allows hands on contact with a multitude of different animals providing an enjoyable and educational visit. There are also demonstrations of wool spinning and if visitors are lucky they might find themselves feeding the pet lambs!

The estate’s shop and tearoom allow guests to make a day of their visit to the castle. Initiatives such as a Christmas Shopping weekend help to retain local custom. Fruit and vegetables from the Gardens are used in the Tearoom whenever possible and flowers are used traditionally in the Castle.

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