This weekend the King Richard III Visitor Centre is officially one year old, and since opening on 26th July 2014, has welcomed 81,627 visitors, with a further 3,000 visitors attending corporate events.
Visitors have come from as far away as Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and The Bahamas.
Visitor Centre Director, Iain Gordon said: “We have been thrilled with the response to the Centre over the past year.
“We tell an incredible story at the Visitor Centre and the team have really enjoyed sharing that story with so many people from all over the world, as well as many local residents. It is due largely to the efforts of the team that we have received so much positive feedback.
“As well as tourists and local visitors, we are gaining momentum as an attraction and developing a good reputation within the schools and groups market, who generally plan visits well in advance and are now visiting in increasing numbers.
“The Centre has won a number of national and international awards in both tourism and architecture sectors, with Lonely Planet naming us one of the world’s hottest new experiences in 2015.”
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “When this stunning building was first purchased, we didn’t yet know for sure if the remains discovered nearby were indeed those of King Richard.
“The subsequent transformation from derelict grammar school to cutting edge visitor centre was astonishing, and it is now a real landmark in the city’s cathedral quarter.
“I’m delighted that it has proven to be so successful, which is a credit to the trust which run it, and the staff who help ensure the tens of thousands of visitors who have passed through its doors have had a truly memorable experience.”
Martin Traynor, Chairman of the King Richard III Visitor Centre Board of Trustees commented: “The Board are very pleased with the results from the Visitor Centre during its first year of operation.
“Visitor numbers are a key business measure but it is equally as important to recognise and acknowledge the Centre’s other achievements. The Visitor Centre is essentially a start-up business and to be profitable within the first eight months of operation is outstanding. This can be attributed to its immediate popularity and the unparalleled coverage in the media, particularly during reinterment however, the good retail offering has also played a big part in this. Also contributing is the development of the Centre as a venue for corporate entertainment and conferences.
“As a Board, we are very optimistic about the future development of the Centre.”
Within a month of opening the Visitor Centre welcomed over 10,000 visitors and by the end of 2014, that number stood at 30,000.
During the period of reinterment, in March, the Visitor Centre welcomed over 8,000 people, including those who visited as part of the Leicester Glows event. In addition, approximately 2,000 people visited the Centre shop to make purchases, without visiting the exhibition.
Nearly 1650 school children and students have visit the Centre since opening, in 65 separate visits. This includes organised groups of home educated children and university students.
The overall majority of schools visiting are from Leicester and Leicestershire. The groups visiting from further afield tend to be from secondary schools, who take the opportunity to visit other attractions in the area, including Bosworth Battlefield.
The Visitor Centre shop currently stocks nearly 160 products and since opening has sold
nearly 57,000 souvenirs.
The Visitor Centre has hosted 75 events, welcoming over 3,000 guests.
The Visitor Centre has recruited over 50 volunteers, who have contributed 2,600 hours to the Visitor Centre.