Felixstowe: Lottery cash is key to museum and fort vision

Darrell's Day at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe. Back L-R: Steve Head, Steve Day, front L-R: Mark Fewt

Darrell's Day at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe. Back L-R: Steve Head, Steve Day, front L-R: Mark Fewtrell and Alan Palmer (95th Rifles 3rd Batallion). - Credit: Archant

Preparations are being made for a massive multi-million pound lottery bid which will turn two attractions into one at Felixstowe.

Landguard, Felixstowe.

Landguard, Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

Work on the project is in its very early stages and is part of an ongoing improvements to the Landguard peninsula, which is rapidly becoming the town’s biggest tourist attraction.

The vision outlined by Suffolk Coastal tourism chiefs for Landguard nearly 30 years ago is steadily coming to fruition.

Already the area – which includes the port viewing area, 58-acre coastal nature reserve, historic Landguard Fort, which was the last place England was invaded by a foreign force, Felixstowe Museum and a bird observatory – attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Tourism chiefs and councillors believe it has the potential for a far greater pulling-power.

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Felixstowe events co-ordinator Stephen Rampley said preliminary work had started on putting together a proposal for a bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The main thrust of the scheme will be to combine Felixstowe Museum and Landguard Fort into one big attraction – with one entrance, accessed from the harbour-side of the fort below the gunpoints looking out to Harwich. The current entrance would then be closed.

The key trigger will be the creation of the permanent visitor centre at Landguard, which will be paid for by the Port of Felixstowe when it carries out the next phase of its southward expansion.

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This project – which is not likely for at least five years, possibly longer – will see the viewing area moved south in front of the fort, with new car parks built. The permanent visitor centre would be the new reception and access gateway to the fort and museum.

Mr Rampley said: “It is very much in its early stages and at the moment there are lots of talks and research going on. It would be a lottery bid of several million pounds.”

This summer a new temporary visitor centre, cafe and toilets has been opened at Landguard and is proving hugely popular.

Further work is planned, too, to link up the peninsula with the rest of the seafront to make it easier for people to reach.

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