The National Trust has defended spending £800,000 on a new indoor play area for children in Lincolnshire. Belton House near Grantham is the first Trust property in the country to create such an attraction.
The Georgian mansion already has an outdoor adventure playground in the grounds, but wants to be able to attract young families in all weathers. The House is also about to open all year round.
General manager, Alec Gordon, today said it was right to invest so much money in the attraction even though the Trust, like all charities, is facing financial constraints. He says the play area would bring more visitors in, generating more money to spend on conservation and maintenance work.
Mr Gordon also denied the Trust was dumbing down and turning an important piece of our heritage into a theme park. He said the new attraction fits in with the ideals of the Brownlow family who used to own the estate. They believed in the value of children's play and built the adventure playground which attracts 120,000 visitors a year.