Taking a peek behind the scenes at Rufford Tourist Information Centre

Staff members Jill and Gail.

Rufford Tourist Information Centre has now closed.

For information on other Tourism Information Centres around the county please visit our dedicated page.

Open around the year, the team at Rufford Tourist Information Centre, run by Newark and Sherwood District Council, deal with a host of visitor enquiries, from where to find the nearest B&B to identifying varieties of leaf found nearby. In our guest blog, centre manager Debbie Hibbert tells us what a typical day might look like.

I thought it would be nice to share a day in the life of the Tourist Information Centre staff who work at Rufford Country Park, so I set about thinking what a typical day entailed, and there I became unstuck. There is no typical day except that we open our doors at 10.30am and try to close at 4.30pm. I say try to close because if the sun is shining visitors do not want to go home and who can blame them? Rufford Abbey Country Park is a beautiful place to visit – and to work although we don’t have much opportunity to actually see the park.

Be inspired by the leaflets and brochures on offer.

Be inspired by the many leaflets and brochures on offer.

We every day except Christmas Day. Yes, that’s right – we are even open Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. If it’s a sunny day we usually have visitors waiting for the doors to open as the park grounds open about 8.30am. Very often our first customers are requesting to hire out the mobility scooters provided by Rufford for visitor use. This involves us giving a brief lesson on the workings of the scooter with strict instructions to avoid driving into the lake – it hasn’t actually ever happened as the scooters are very slow but a couple of people have come close.

We try to make sure we tweet first thing in the morning about any local events or anything of general interest. We check emails and answerphone messages and then after this our day can go in any direction. For example, this morning I have been dealing with a film crew who are coming to Rufford whilst also unpacking a delivery of 11 boxes of brochures and planning a day’s itinerary for a couple staying near by.

We deal with a wide variety of enquiries throughout the day, both in person and over the phone with the odd email thrown in for good measure. A lot of visitors naturally want to know all about the park and the Cistercian Abbey. Our TIC has only been in the park since 2013 and although we knew all about Rufford as a general attraction, we had no detailed knowledge. Suddenly we found ourselves being asked all sorts of questions including some obscure ones about varieties of leaf and what the name of the tree with the broken branch is.

Staff members Jill and Gail.

Other questions usually involve the bird life in the park such as when the swallows arrive. Luckily the park Rangers are often on hand to help out. Other questions about the park may involve types of flower or fungi and we are becoming quite knowledgeable on these subjects.

The TIC is also the lost property collection point and you wouldn’t believe the things people leave behind. We had a car seat handed in that had been left in the car park and we had to wonder how the child had made it home without it! We also get the odd camera, child’s scooter and a variety of clothing.

Many customers are staying at the local holiday parks or B&Bs and they want to take advantage of our knowledge on local attractions, places to eat and even whether or not wellies are needed for walking in certain areas. We can go from giving directions to the nearest farm park to plotting a walking or cycling route. Our other work includes writing articles for local publications and producing a weekly events list which enables visitors and locals to keep up to date with things taking place in the area.

Serving people at the counter and answering two telephones does keep us busy but it usually starts to slow down at around 4pm. After a quick tidy round we re-stock the shelves ready to start all over again the following day.

(Picture credit: Newark and Sherwood District Council)

Posted on 17 June 2015
Featured author: Catherine Allen Marketing Assistant

Arts fan, runner and cyclist who has been living in Nottingham for more than a decade. Loves real ale, craft beer, good food, travelling and sausage dogs.

Comments (0)

Post a comment

Our monthly pick

Matilda, the European Eagle Owl

Birds, herds and beautiful scenery was the focus on my Wildlife Photography Course at Sherwood Hideaway

When I was asked to spend my weekend at Sherwood Hideaway to take part in wildlife activities available there, of course I was only too happy to oblige. It sounded like a wonderful experience and I could think of much worse ways to spend my weekend. Wildlife walks take place each Sunday at Sherwood Hideaway…

Your favourite places

Featured authors

  • Sarah Louise

    A very lucky marketeer in her dream job. Passionate about all things Nottinghamshire and firmly believes if you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen!

  • Kinga

    Addicted to music and learning languages. Loves reading, gardening, travelling and everything new media related.

  • Alistair

    Originally from Preston – but now calling Nottingham home – Alistair’s a St Helens rugby league fan who loves travel and music.

  • Natalie

    Proud to represent the county I grew up in. Travel loving devoted mum of two who carries a torch for the city’s unsung hero, Captain Albert Ball VC.

  • Sophie

    Writer and amateur local historian with an affection for English eccentrics. Returned to Nottingham in 2013, only to fall in love with the creative and cultural goings of the city.

Have a go...

madame parboiled nottingham

Madame Parboiled’s Historical Pub Tour

Nottingham is a city steeped in history and its pubs are a living proof of that, they’re a tangible representation of England’s past, and celebration of life before us. To learn how to grow our appreciation for Nottingham’s historic pubs we ventured into a world of Madame Parboiled – the executioner’s wife who knows Nottingham and…