Jodrell Bank’s newest attraction, the First Light Pavilion, created to bring the UNESCO World Heritage site’s story to life, has opened its doors to visitors for the first time.
Years in the making, the Cheshire attraction was created to tell the inspirational stories of Jodrell Bank’s contribution to science, heritage and culture, costing more than £21 million.
It finally opened to visitors over the Jubilee weekend with more than 1,000 exploring the building and what it has to offer.
The grass-topped dome of the First Light Pavilion mirrors the shape and scale of the dish of the famous Lovell Telescope. It also contains a meridian line, referencing the age-old tradition of building structures that align with the skies, much like other World Heritage Sites such as Stonehenge.
Inside the TARDIS-like building is a new permanent exhibition, which brings visitors into direct contact with huge sections of the authentic metal dish of the Lovell Telescope that has ‘listened’ to the skies since 1957.
The exhibition tells the story of Jodrell Bank’s pioneering scientists and engineers. Through a range of fully interactive digital displays and projections, visitors can uncover archive materials brought together for the first time, including audio, film, plans, photographs and more.
There’s also a custom built Space Dome which offers an immersive experience with a short film about the story of Jodrell Bank. Visitors can also add on a 30-minute session taking in the night sky.
Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Engagement, said: “It was a huge moment, finally, to welcome visitors to the First Light Pavilion and see all our hard work pay off. I’m delighted to have reached this milestone and grateful to everyone who supported us on this journey.”
Other highlights of a visit to Jodrell
There are four Pavilions to explore at the attraction. In addition to the new First Light Pavilion, which houses the Space Dome and First Light Café, there’s the Space Pavilion, complete with a science exhibition, the Star Pavilion and the Planet Pavilion.
Visitors can also get up close to the giant Lovell Telescope, the world’s third largest steerable radio telescope, opt for a Telescope Talk and explore the 35 acres of grounds.
The Observatory, which is owned by the University of Manchester, was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019.
There are a number of benefits for groups visiting Jodrell Bank including discounted rates, free coaching parking and a personal welcome from the visitor services team.
For more information visit www.jodrellbank.net