Nottinghamshire hosts national Mayflower 400 event
Nottinghamshire’s significant part in the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims has been showcased at an event in North Nottinghamshire last week, hosted by the national Mayflower 400 project (17 & 18 September).
The national event, delivered in partnership with the Mayflower 400 project led by Destination Plymouth, and Visit Nottinghamshire, brought together 11 Mayflower destinations from around the country with tour operator members of UK Inbound who bring international visitors to Britain.
Nottinghamshire was chosen as the host destination for the event, to give tour operators an opportunity to discover the roots of the Pilgrims, including the villages, churches and homes where leaders William Brewster and William Bradford lived and worshipped before embarking on their perilous journey to the new world.
The UK Inbound tour operators visited key Mayflower Pilgrim sites in Lincolnshire on Sunday 17 September, including the Boston Guildhall and St Botolph’s Church’s famous “Stump”. On Sunday night, Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Spa near Retford, North Nottinghamshire, hosted a dinner for key partners and tour operators, giving an opportunity to inspire operators on the Mayflower 400 project, which will commemorate 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower ship to the US in 1620.
Brendan Moffett, Chief Executive of Visit Nottinghamshire, spoke at the event on Sunday night, and said it was an important opportunity to lay the groundwork for this major tourism project for Nottinghamshire:
“As the original home of the religious Separatists who voyaged to America, North Nottinghamshire is a significant part of the Mayflower 400 story. This event has given us an opportunity to tell the stories of these religious renegades, who started their journey here in Nottinghamshire.”
Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Spa, a former 17th Century coaching inn in Barnby Moor near Retford, was the focus point for the event, where tour operators were hosted for their overnight stay in Nottinghamshire. With the addition of a multi-million-pound spa which opened in June 2017, extensive event spaces and 59 stylish rooms, the hotel is set to be a popular choice with overseas groups visiting Mayflower country.
On Monday, the tour operators and tourism suppliers from across the country took part in a series of one-to-one meetings, for tour operators to be briefed on the array of Mayflower product available across the country, with a particular focus on product in North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire including tour guides, hotels, pubs and attractions.
In the afternoon tour operators continued on a coach tour of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Mayflower highlights, including Scrooby, Babworth, Austerfield and Gainsborough, hosted by tour guide and historian Sue Allan of Mayflower Pilgrim Tours.
2020 will mark the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts. Emma Tatlow, National Visitor Project Manager for Mayflower 400, said:
“2020 will be a unique opportunity to commemorate the legacy of the passengers and crew who undertook the journey, and to highlight their stories and heritage. Now is an important time for us to lay the foundations to ensure we maximise this opportunity to bring international visitors to the UK in 2020, and Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire look set to benefit from this international event.”
The Mayflower 400 programme has been created to leverage this opportunity, aligning 11 core destinations in England with wider local, national and international partners and over 20 million US citizens descended from the Mayflower. It will deliver a world-class series of events, public art and wider content that will commemorate this exceptional voyage and provide a major ongoing impact across the partnership, knitting together communities, inspiring creativity and culture, driving economic growth, and promoting understanding and education.
Find out more at: http://www.mayflower400uk.org