Elior to create flagship garden-to-plate attraction with £18m contract win

Leading UK contract caterer, Elior, has won the 10-year contract to manage the newly refurbished historic attraction, Kirkleatham Walled Garden.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council awarded the £18m contract based on Elior’s plans to upskill locals while delivering an attraction that brings the garden-to-plate connection to life. These include a catering and horticultural academy, which will provide 160 traineeships and apprenticeships for the local community.

The Grade II-listed Kirkleatham Walled Garden has reopened to the public after an extensive six-year refurbishment. Featuring formal gardens, a science garden, glasshouse, activities areas, café, shop and a 350-seat events pavilion, it is expected to boost the economy in Redcar and Cleveland, attracting more than 30,000 visitors a year.

As well as gathering inspiration from the gardens, visitors will be able to attend horticultural and crafts workshops, with activities for all ages. Alongside, there will be a garden shop with seasonal product and plants, local crafts, and specialist gardening equipment and books.

Produce from the garden will be available in the café, which will serve a tempting array of home-baked favourites, hot meals, and hot and cold beverages. Catering will also be available to suit any occasion or dietary need in the 350-seat Turner Pavilion: from silver service and canapes, through to casual dining and buffet lunches.

As well as the retail outlets, Elior will manage the attraction – from ticketing to admissions. And with the catering and horticultural academy located onsite, apprentices and trainees will be able to gain valuable experience and skills working in the gardens, café and events.

Cllr Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said, “Kirkleatham Walled Garden has been lovingly restored to create an true heritage asset. We’re excited about its potential, not just as a tourist attraction, but also as an opportunity to create job opportunities and apprenticeships.

'We chose Elior because of their strong track record, delivering catering and events for prestigious tourist attractions such as Osborne House, St Alban’s Cathedral, SS Great Britain, plus numerous large stadium contracts.

'We’re delighted to have them on board, and we’re looking forward to seeing them transform this stunning heritage property into a thriving tourist attraction.”

Kenny Finlayson, Managing Director at Elior said, “This is a fantastic contract win for Elior, showcasing our passion for food, sustainability and education.

'We’re looking forward to creating a venue that will boost the economy in the region: inspiring and exciting visitors while providing valuable skills and experience for local learners. And we’ve created an exciting business model that will drive the site forward and deliver against these outputs.”