One of Bristol’s oldest and best-loved cultural centres, the New Room in Broadmead – also known as John Wesley’s Chapel – is reopening its state-of-the-art museum on 11 August, providing local people with an additional family-friendly destination to visit in the city centre.
The world’s oldest Methodist chapel – a Grade 1 listed 18th century building – was successfully reopened in July, together with the New Room’s award-winning café, which now offers both socially distanced table service or takeaway food and drink.
The whole venue has been awarded the We’re Good To Go Industry Standard by Visit England and the New Room has a variety of safety precautions in place to ensure people have a relaxing and enjoyable visit.
These include a ‘timed entry slot’ system, introduced to manage social distancing around the museum, with online pre-booking available and entry tickets being paid for on arrival.
The New Room’s usual policy of allowing visitors unlimited free return visits for a full 12 months after buying their ticket still applies.
New Room director, David Worthington, said: “There is such a lot to see in the museum that local people tend to get really good value for money from being able to return for free.
“It’s especially popular with parents or carers of young children, who often prefer to make shorter but more frequent visits.
“And there’s a great deal to interest adult visitors as well.
“Visitors can arrive on the day without a booking, but priority will be given to those who have reserved a time slot via our website.”
Other onsite facilities now open to visitors include the gift shop and the second-hand book section in the chapel
The cafe offers drinks, cakes and a selection of light lunches that can cater for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets, which can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors in the New Room’s Broadmead courtyard garden.
As always, the chapel remains open as a place for private prayer and reflection, and weekly Emmaus Services (reflective spoken word-only service) are planned, starting on 11 August and running from 1-1.30pm each Tuesday. This is an alternative to the New Room’s Friday lunchtime communion service which remains postponed presently.
New safety measures include enhanced cleaning regimes, one way systems, hand sanitiser stations, social distancing markers and contactless pay points at all tills. In the interests of everyone’s safety, staff and volunteers are wearing face coverings on site, and visitors are requested to do the same.
In order to help reduce the risk of a local outbreak of coronavirus, the New Room is working with the NHS Test and Trace service. This means that contact details will be requested from visitors to the site, and the timing of their visits noted, so that these can be shared with the Test and Trace service should this be necessary.
The revised opening hours for the New Room chapel, museum, café and shop are Tuesday – Saturday from 11am-3pm. For further details see www.newroombristol.org.uk