A business in Heacham has announced its “difficult decision” to close one of its most popular tourist attractions.
Norfolk Lavender shared the news that it will be shutting its Animal Gardens, which featured a variety of animals, including donkeys, rabbits, porcupines and more, on its Facebook page yesterday.
The team behind the attraction said it was with a “heavy heart” that they had made the decision – reportedly due to the current economic climate.
“With a mission to provide a safe haven for animals and educate visitors about the importance of conservation, the Animal Gardens has been a cherished destination for families and animal enthusiasts alike,” the social media post said.
“The impact of recent events has been insurmountable, leaving us unable to sustain its operations. We are truly saddened by this outcome, as it means the loss of an attraction we know our visitors love.”
Officials said its team had worked “tirelessly to create a safe and nurturing environment for these beautiful creatures”, before thanking them and the volunteers who cared for the animals – which in previous years was reported to have featured around 125 different species, also including bearded dragons and scorpions.
Additionally, the public has been reassured that during the animal garden closure, the welfare of their animals “remains paramount”, and that in the coming months all staff will be “focused on continuing to ensure they receive the highest standard of care and work toward rehoming them”.
“Please join us in bidding a fond farewell to the Animal Gardens, a place that will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Share your memories and stories and let us come together in celebrating the animals,” the post said.
Norfolk Lavender will keep the rest of its attractions open – the tearooms, restaurant, gift shop, garden centre, farm shop and the collection of lavenders.
The lavender farm has also teased plans for future developments and projects.
“Whilst this chapter comes to a close, we believe that our exciting new developments will provide an opportunity to further enrich our visitor experiences and promote Norfolk Lavender,” they said.
The public expressed their sadness towards the closure on social media.
One person said: “That is so sad. We have fantastic memories of the place. My son loved it. All the staff are so knowledgeable and friendly. We will miss it.”
“Such sad news. We really enjoyed our visit. Both the staff and animals are lovely,” another added.
Reporting by Toma Toricina