Birling Gap re-opens after big renovation

Birling Gap cafe re-vamp
Birling Gap cafe re-vamp

The National Trust’s Birling Gap has opened new visitor facilities following a makeover.

After months of renovations, Birling Gap now boasts a brand new shop, ice cream parlour, extended café seating area and a landscaped garden.

The new shop, the first ever at Birling Gap, stocks local products in themed beach hut and rowing boat display cabinets, whilst the ice cream parlour serves Sussex Ice Cream.

The café refurbishment includes an additional 60 seats as well as fully accessible toilets and baby change areas.

The garden is home to picnic areas overlooking the sea and South Downs, as well as locally grown plant life representing different habitats such as heathland, grass chalkland and vegetated shingle. The garden changes are thanks to hard work from volunteers and the South Downs National Park Authority.

Much of the renovations have made use of sustainable or existing materials.

The shop has up cycled its old display cabinets into beach huts and a striped rowing boat in-keeping with the seaside location, ephemera collected from the beach is used to display items for sale and elm from nearby Frog Firle Farm has been fashioned into table tops.

Zara Luxford, property operations manager for the National Trust’s Birling Gap, said, “We welcome over 350,000 visitors each year, many coming to enjoy a beautiful walk or a day out on the beach.

“The new developments are an important part of ensuring Birling Gap remains an exciting day out for families, couples and dog walkers.

“We’ve had some amazing visitor feedback and hope that many more people come to see the changes at our beautiful coastal location”.

The next stage of the development of Birling Gap will be a Visitor Centre due to open in March 2014, where visitors can discover the wildlife, people and natural processes that have shaped the local landscape.