The Official Tourism Website for Herefordshire

ESL Member Experience Day

Earlier this month ESL launched its first Member Experience day, for businesses to meet, network, know what’s in their area and build working relationships.

Focussing on the Ross-on-Wye area 25 people attended as Members Walenty Pytel, Labels Shopping and The Laskett Gardens opened their doors to the local businesses and ESL Members for a complimentary visit/tour with huge success and excellent feedback from both hosts and attendees.

Visitors had the option of which venues to attend or they could choose all three!

First stop for the morning was the secluded and idyllic waterside venue that is the WALENTY PYTEL SCULPTURE GALLERY, near Upton Bishop – Filled with unique pieces for sale and from their own collection curated by Walenty’s wife Mary, the group watched a wonderful video of Walenty detailing the life story of how he became such a renowned artist in his unique way. After initially working with paper sculpture, he moved on to metal and bronze creating birds and beasts from the countryside that surrounded him, creating commissions in prominent locations around the country including Birmingham International Airport, the Houses of Parliament, JCB and many more plus private collections.

A gallery tour and talk, and a peek into his workshop/studio) includes a location map of Walenty’s famous public sculptures around the Herefordshire and the borders for you to visit at your leisure and they welcome pre-booked groups of 4 people minimum. Find out more here.

Watch this space for news on one of Walenty’s latest projects installing a huge woodpecker outside Hereford Cider Museum this Summer.

After a fascinating morning the group moved on to The Gateway Cinema at Labels Shopping, where they had time to shop before meeting host Rebecca Hardy, Creative Director of THE GATEWAY CINEMA. Attendees enjoyed a mouth-watering lunch and the opportunity to sit, relax, eat, drink and network.

The Labels team and Rebecca took the time to speak to everyone individually to find out about the different businesses and how they might be able to help each other to work together for the good of both visitors and tourists in Herefordshire.

After lunch it was time to view the amazing new boutique screening room, The Gateway Cinema. This truly unique space offers comfortable sofas and armchairs as opposed to your run of the mill cinema seats. The venue is spacious and well thought out and also fun for private events. After watching a short film, Rebecca gave details of how the Gateway came about and the ambitious plans for its evolution into a real community space.

Learn more and find the range of films showing here.

Finally, the afternoon visit was at THE LASKETT GARDENS at Much Birch, where you discover the story of Sir Roy Strong’s stunning gardens. The four acre garden celebrates an orchestration of surprise and thrilling vistas. There are some twenty different and contrasting ‘rooms’ including a rose garden, a knot garden, an orchard, a pleached lime avenue, parterres, herbaceous borders and the Colonnade Court. Welcomed by Fiona, Sir Roy’s PA, she showed the group how to use the interactive map and encouraged everyone to wander freely around the different areas. Everyone was enthralled by the magic of these beautiful gardens. The afternoon was topped off with an informal meeting of the man himself Sir Roy Strong.

Following the huge success of this event, ESL will be offering more of these Member Experience days around the county. So, if you are a tourism business or travel journalist, do keep an eye out on all our social media platforms or sign up to our Business Newsletter for further information, and come along for a magical day out which you can then share and suggest visits for your guests and readers.

Here are some of the lovely feedback comments we have received:

“A quick HUGE thanks for the fabulous Ross Members Experience….Wendy and I had the very best day…totally loved every aspect…inspiring locations, interesting people and a great opportunity to network and support each other…..Amanda took such great care of us all …..and such a great welcome from all 3 venues owners and staff…

The biggest thanks…..What can I wonder we love ESL!……Total respect that you’ve created such an excellent organisation…who wouldn’t want to belong”
L Crichton

“Thank you very much for a most inspiring day.  The three visits were very different but each was amazing and really interesting in its own way.  I am not an artistic person but I was blown away by Walenty Pytel’s sculptures and his life story, which was absolutely fascinating.
The lunch at Ross Labels was superb as was the cinema and the visit to the Laskett Garden, that was one couple’s approach to gardening, made it a unique experience and meeting Sir Roy at the end of the afternoon was the icing on the cake!
We received the warmest of welcomes at each venue and also did a lot of networking, which enabled us to  get the brochures for our walks to lots of ‘hard to reach’ locations such as holiday cottages and B & Bs.  So, all in all a most wonderful and worthwhile day – thank you”       W Soilleux