The award winning Seaton Jurassic centre is the new exciting visitor attraction for East Devon that tells the uniquely powerful story of the geology and marine ecology of the Jurassic Coast, England's first Natural World Heritage Site. Visitors are taken on an interactive journey back 250 million years to when life on the Jurassic Coast looked very different.
Seaton Jurassic has won numerous awards, including the Michelmores Property Award for the best leisure and hospitality project of the year, a silver award for ‘Sustainable Tourism’ in the prestigious Visit Devon Tourism Awards and second place in the ‘Best UK Day-out for Families’ category at the annual Family Traveller Awards. We also appear in the National Geographic Traveller Magazine as one of the top 4 places in the UK to learn about natural history.
Devon Wildlife Trust is managing the centre. The centre is located on The Underfleet in the middle of Seaton, a two minute walk from the seafront, adjacent to the new Tesco store and the Seaton Tramway terminus.
It is contributing to the regeneration of the town by attracting thousands more visitors – in its first year of operation over 50,000 visitors were welcomed. There is also an exciting Discovery Points Trail with sculptures located on multiple sites around Seaton linked to the centre, creating local points of interest for visitors. Seaton Jurassic has put Seaton back on tourist map and has been key to bringing forward wider investment and confidence in local economic opportunities:
- 220 Bovis Homes close to completion on remaining land adjacent to Tesco;
- Recently opened 75 bed Premier Inn, creating 24 FTE jobs;
- Planning approved for 90 home development fronting the Axe;
- Seaton Tramway’s new terminus nearing completion:
- New car park opened in 2016, accommodating new facilities and local shoppers;
- First new gym in Seaton opened in 2017
Seaton Jurassic has secured over £4 million of funding including more than £1.9 million from East Devon District. Other funders include Devon County Council, Seaton Town Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Coastal Communities Fund, Devon Wildlife Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Fine Family Foundation, Blue Marine Foundation and Seaton Visitor Centre Trust.
Since 2001, the community of Seaton, through the Seaton Visitor Centre Trust, has been working with the local authorities (East Devon District, Devon County and Seaton Town councils) and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team to develop the visitor centre for Seaton, to reap the benefits from the town’s unique location as a gateway to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the Axe Estuary.
The local community in Seaton is key to the success of Seaton Jurassic and local people are invited to become involved as volunteers and ambassadors of the centre and encouraged to contribute to the fundraising for a wildlife garden through the Seaton Visitor Centre Trust.
Seaton has fabulous natural assets on its doorstep. In terms of the Jurassic Coast, Seaton is the gateway for the wilderness of Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs Natural Nature Reserve, a unique landslide complex within the World Heritage Site.
In the other direction, the chalk cliffs of Beer are a spectacular landmark for the town and this striking white outcrop makes up an example of the third of the three key geological periods for which the World Heritage Site is famous (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous), all of which can be easily accessed from Seaton, the only location along the Jurassic Coast where this is possible.
Seaton Jurassic tells the story of the Jurassic Coast, and the landscape, geology and geomorphology around Seaton. It's highly engaging and interactive, immersing the visitor with its interpretation of the area's natural and marine heritage. It focuses on the unique aspects of this story, in particular the Undercliffs, the Axe Estuary, and the role of water in shaping this dynamic landscape. It also includes a cafe and a shop for visitors.
Visitor feedback continues to be very encouraging:
“Fabulous, modern museum which looks at the geology of the coast, the creatures which live along it in rock pools and looks to the future ecology of the coast in a subtle, child-friendly manner with interesting interactive exhibits for children and parents. Unlike any other museum we've been to on the Jurassic Coast.”
“Fantastic for a family day out – Loved it!”
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