Families and people vs institutions

I had an experience today of visiting Bamburgh Castle. It is a historic castle on the Northumberland Coast. Quite spectacular and is like many tourist sites on a sunny half-term holiday. Lots of people having a lovely day out. But what was remarkable was something about the way it was run and how that affected the experience.

It is not run by the National Trust or English Heritage which are large bureaucratic institutions that have an agenda they like to impose on visitors. It is run by a private family who owns the property.

This had such an impact on the experience. All the staff were really friendly and enthusiastic about welcoming visitors. There is no need to book in advance they welcome as many people as the site can hold with Covid restrictions. As a result they were busy but not unduly crowded. I am sure they are more financially successful than English heritage or National Trust or Historic Royal Palaces. But everyone who came joined in and had a nice time. And all respected the need to social distance and queue up where needed to see something.

Also, the exhibits and notices were not lecturing or making a point. They just described what we could see and illustrated the historical context. I felt like I had an insight into the family, their artefacts and the history of the building. No woke, no worthy education. Just for fun and interest.

I wish more places could be run by families and not by institutions.