Copeland MP Trudy Harrison visited Muncaster for English Tourism Week, and met the Hawk & Owl Centre staff as well as touring the ground source heating system being installed under the Castle, before enjoying the Sky Hunters bird of prey display. Read more below:

Trudy Harrison meets the bird handlers
trudy and keith harrison at sky hunters display

To mark English Tourism Week (30th March to 7th April) many attractions around the country have invited their local MP to see what they do & explain how tourism plays a central & important role in the whole UK economy. Tourism  provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, attracts millions of visitors and their cash  from overseas to the UK and provides great experiences and fun to local, national & international visitors alike. Many attractions like Muncaster also contribute greatly to education and conservation projects, such as Muncaster’s mission to highlight the plight of vultures around the world, many of which are now critically endangered with some heading towards extinction.

Local Copeland  MP Trudy Harrison,  accompanied by husband Keith, spent over 4 hours at Muncaster on Saturday the 30 March 2019.  They were enthralled by what they saw as Peter, Iona & Isla Frost-Pennington  showed them key aspects of Muncaster Castle’s attractions including  seeing behind the scenes and discussion of the exciting new initiatives at Muncaster and the future plans of the Pennington family, who have been living at the Castle for over 800 years.

Muncaster Castle has been a focus and a rallying point for the local community for centuries and the Pennington family are passionately committed to supporting the local community as much as they can as part of their stewardship of Muncaster. One key element of this is that well over 100 local people of all ages are employed in this otherwise isolated rural setting in the Western Lake District at Muncaster Castle and its associated businesses including Pennington Hotels.

Peter Frost Pennington said :

“The highlight of the visit for me was seeing Trudy and Keith mesmerised by our daily 2pm “Sky Hunters” display with its amazing finale with African  vultures and kites swooping low over the heads of Trudy, Keith and our other visitors. It was also great to be able to explain to our local MP some of the issues we face in operating  complex tourism focussed  businesses in such an isolated rural location. Despite being a born & bred local who already knows us well I think Trudy was truly astonished by the depth and diversity of what we can offer at Muncaster and how we could achieve so much more with appreciation and support at the highest levels of what tourist attractions in general and privately owned historic houses in particular can do for the national as well as their more local economies. I very much hope Trudy will take many of  these important messages back with her to Westminster”.

Trudy Harrison MP said:

“I’ve visited Muncaster Castle all my life, I’m sure all my birthdays involved a most enjoyable trip with family and friends.  But my visit last Saturday absolutely blew me away (quite literally as the vulture’s wing tips brushed past my hair).  Their ‘Sky Hunters Bird Show’ needs to be experienced, as hawks, eagles, vultures and owls took to the sky in awe-inspiring flights of fancy, perfectly choreographed to music.  I was brought to tears, it was so good.

“During English Tourism week it was humbling to see first-hand, the hard work and talent that goes on behind the scenes at one of our most iconic and popular days out.  We enjoyed Roman historic finds, a look in the cellar at the state-of-the-art new geo-thermal heating system in construction, a tour of the Castle’s most incredible tapestries and the newly restored Library complete with gilded constellation ceiling – all in a family residence, home to the Pennington’s for centuries and that for me, makes Muncaster so special.

“It’s real, historic, iconic and inspiring – but most of all, a brilliant day out.  Peter, Iona, their daughter Isla and their team devote their lives to opening up our most famous castle, creatively thinking of new ways to excite and inspire, always making the most of the incredible surroundings.”