Gretna Green Experience opens – designed by Manchester-based designers

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Interior photography of the Gretna Green Experience

The Gretna Green Experience is a story of romance, rebellion, and unstoppable love since 1754, and is still being written today.

Manchester-based experience makers, Mather & Co, has been responsible for all design, management and production of the exhibition and retail area – including repairs to and restoration of the original Famous Blacksmiths Shop. Mather & Co have more than 25 years’ experience in creating leading visitor experiences.

Kim Kherlopian, Project Director at Mather & Co said: “Working on Gretna Green has been a very unique experience for us because the building itself is one of a kind. Depicting the vast amount of stories and rich history that has passed through the building certainly was a challenge. We had to capture the pure essence of Gretna Green and all the romantic adventures that took place there without relying on objects to tell these stories.”

Gretna Green has been welcoming weddings for over 260 years, following the introduction of the 1754 Marriage Act in England, which meant couples had to be 21 years of age to marry without the consent of their parents – previously no consent was required if you were above the age of 16. In Scotland, a couple over the age of 16 only had to declare their intentions to be husband and wife in the presence of two witnesses, so many young couples fled over the border to be married at the first place they encountered, the blacksmith’s shop in Gretna Green.

The five-star visitor attraction is more than just a wedding venue – whether you come to Gretna Green to be married, dine, stay overnight in one of our hotels and suites, share a wonderful family day out in our museum and courtship maze, or ‘shop ‘til you drop’.

Sarah Clarke, Managing Director at Mather & Co said: “To be part of the redevelopment of a much-loved and historic family business has been a real honour. People who visit this place can now experience that incredible history brought to life for the next generation of elopers and romantics.”

The Gretna Green Experience showcases the extraordinary love stories of those who wed at Gretna Green. Visitors will enter the pages and illustrations of a storybook and watch as it unravels and tells the incredible history of the Famous Blacksmiths Shop. A beautiful, engaging timeline showcases the iconic history of marriage at Gretna Green – dating back to 1200.

In addition to the brand-new experience, visitors will be able to have a wander around the historic rooms of the original Famous Blacksmiths Shop – when weddings aren’t taking place of course.

The Experience allows visitors to get up close to original objects including marriage registers, furniture, and the wedding dress of Dorothy Bell (grandmother of the owner). In the centre of the experience, visitors are immersed in a 360-degree audio-visual film, ‘The Unbreakable Bond’, that brings the history of the site to life around the original anvil. There are thirteen audio-visual experiences in total for visitors at the home of romance.

Isabel Rhodes, Chief Executive at Gretna Green said: “It’s been a pleasure working with the Mather & Co team over the past few years to develop this unique storytelling experience. The senior team at Gretna Green and Mather have put their heart and soul into creating this leading visitor attraction for visitors from across the world.”

Visitors will also receive their own Gretna Green Experience guidebook to take a piece of the romance away with them at the end of the visit. The Gretna Green Experience is now open to the public.

For more information about Mather & Co and its latest projects, visit: www.matherandco.com

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