Jodrell Bank’s newest attraction, the First Light Pavilion, will open its doors to visitors on Saturday, 4th June – and tickets are now on sale.
The pavilion is part of a £21.5m development supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and has been years in the making. The building – “architecturally stunning” according to Jodrell – takes the form of a grass-topped dome that mirrors the shape and scale of the dish of the famous Lovell Telescope.
Lorna Harper, deputy director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Engagement, said: “We’re delighted to have finally reached this moment. It’s yet another major milestone for this project and we’re looking forward to the next one, when we can finally welcome visitors to this beautiful new space.”
Inside, a new permanent exhibition will bring visitors into direct contact with huge sections of the authentic metal dish that has “listened” to the skies since 1957.
The exhibition will tell the story of Jodrell Bank’s pioneering scientists and engineers.
Through a range of innovative digital displays and projections, visitors will be able to see fascinating archive materials brought together for the first time, including audio, film, plans, photos and more.
Every visitor will also have an immersive audio-visual experience in the Space Dome, a state-of-the-art auditorium complete with giant curved screen. The Space Dome will also host traditional planetarium-style shows where visitors can “tour” the stars and planets guided by one of Jodrell Bank’s experts.
Ms Harper said: “The pavilion complements Jodrell Bank’s existing offer and massively enhances the overall visitor experience. From 4th June, visitors will be able to engage not just with the mind-blowing science of the site, but also its internationally significant heritage.”
Tickets are £12 for adults and £8 for children. There are concession rates for over-65s and students, under-fours get in free, and family groups can access discounted rates.
Day tickets are available in person, but any ticket purchased in advance online is now an annual ticket, meaning visitors can return within 12 months of purchase.
There are options to add on extras, too, including planetarium-style shows in the Space Dome.
Founded in 1945, Jodrell Bank’s story includes revolutionary scientific discoveries, feats of engineering, the dawn of the Space Age and the creation of the grade I-listed Lovell Telescope, an icon for British science and engineering.
The site is owned by the University of Manchester and is part of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, a world-leading science research institute, and the Jodrell Bank Centre for Engagement, a multi-award-winning centre for excellence in public participation and engagement with science, culture and heritage.
Jodrell Bank was inscribed by Unesco on the World Heritage Site list in 2019 in recognition of its internationally significance science, heritage and cultural impact.