- Sector: Leisure
- Region: East Midlands
Back to the future
Historically, the Welbeck Estate in rural Nottinghamshire was a traditional landed estate business that carried out all the activities you might expect, from farming and forestry to the letting of residential and commercial property. But these days it is in the midst of a transformation.
“We are now part of the way through a 20-year project to reinvigorate the heart of the estate and bring together rural and creative industries, education and the arts,” says William Parente, Principal of the Welbeck Estates Company. “As part of this, we welcome visitors who come to enjoy great food, art and shopping within a beautiful rural setting.”
“We are part-way through a 20-year project to bring together rural and creative industries, education and the arts”
The attractions include the Welbeck Farm Shop – which sells game, cheese, bread and beer from the Welbeck Estates Company and other local producers – and the Harley Gallery, which is home to the internationally significant Portland Collection of fine and decorative art. Another draw for more discerning palates is the School of Artisan Food, which runs food courses ranging from half-day ‘taster’ sessions to a year-long diploma in artisan baking – the first of its kind in the UK.
The ability of the company to develop its offering was significantly enhanced by the decision from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2005 to leave the estate. The MoD had used Welbeck Abbey and other buildings as a college since 1954, but its departure allowed the Welbeck Estates Company to redevelop a substantial area of previously under-used buildings and assets.
The Welbeck Estates Company’s continued investment in a wide and diverse range of property assets, and businesses have been another major factor in its continued growth, adds William, as has its ongoing commitment to embracing change. “The business needs to constantly explore technological and managerial change and innovation,” William says. “This is obviously both a challenge and an opportunity, which runs right through the organisation.”
- 15,000 - The number of acres that the Welbeck Estate covers
It’s clear that although the Welbeck Estates Company remains true to its historic past, it’s continually looking to the future.