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Ushaw, an independent charity, operates a multi-discplinary estate which operates a heritage visitor attraction together with a wide range of commercial activities. A Roman Catholic seminary from 1808 until 2011 the site consists of an outstanding collection of 12 individually listed C19 buildings, five of which are Grade 1&2* and are considered of national historic and architectural importance.
The College began opening to the public as a cultural and heritage attraction late in 2014 for special events including a programme of music concerts and events including performances by the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Kathryn Tickell as well as local music. Public opening to the main house and Chapel complex began in Spring 2015 alongside a series of lectures, guided tours and a changing programme of temporary exhibitions from the collections and the history of Ushaw as well as exhibitions of contemporary art. Learning activities are organised for local schoolchildren linked to the collections, buildings and temporary exhibitions as well as weekend and holiday activities for families.
As it is the first time in 200 years that Ushaw College has been open to the public most are discovering it for the first time with visitor feedback commenting on the surprise and pleasure people have found when visiting. Visitor figures have grown significantly over the last 4 years, demonstrating a growing interest and public demand.