Garden centre's £1.25 million transformation under way
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Visitors to a north Norfolk garden centre are in for a "big surprise" when it reopens in two months' time, as the owner is spending more than £1.25 million on a major refurbishment.
Holt Garden Centre, which is part of Kelling Estate, is currently closed for its revamp and is due to reopen on March 1.
Duncan Ross, the estate's managing director, said he was delighted with how the works were going so far.
Mr Ross said the pandemic had influenced the redesign, and there was a focus on making it feel spacious and allowing room to socially distance.
He said: "Customers are going to want to feel safe and distanced, but still engaged with other people.
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"It's going to be light and airy and spacious, all the things you want if you visit a retail or food and drink destination.
"There's a lot of anticipation as to what it will look like and we think people will be pleasantly surprised when they return."
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Mr Ross said one of the highlights would be a new food and drink area called the Garden Terrace, which he could not classify as either a restaurant or a cafe.
There will also be new washrooms, showroom, entrance, outdoor plant area and home and gift room.
Although garden centres are deemed 'essential retailers' and are allowed to open during the current coronavirus lockdown, Mr Ross said they decided to close anyway so they could focus on the refurb and in light of the strong 'stay at home' message.
Kelling Estate - a 2,000 acre (800ha) property between Holt and the north Norfolk coast - took over the garden centre in 2017.
It followed the estate's purchase of the Pheasant Hotel on Coast Road in 2012 and an expansion into tourism, with residential lets and holiday lets close to the north Norfolk coast.
Mr Ross said: “We think the demand for staycations and tourism is going to be very strong for years to come and north Norfolk has positioned itself well as a tourism destination.
"Something like 30pc of revenue in the district is expected to come from tourism in 10 years time, and it’s about 18pc now, there’s quite a big push on it.”