A NEW era has begun for a historic property in St Osyth.

St Osyth Priory held its first open day as more than 1,000 guests from the community had the chance to see the latest phase of the estate’s regeneration into a luxury wedding venue and visitor destination.

During the event, guests had the opportunity to explore the stunning parkland and observe the incredible restoration of Darcy House, which has become a wedding and events venue.

With parts originating from the 16th century, Darcy House takes its name from the 1st Lord Darcy who was Lord Chamberlain of the household under Edward VI.

Following a careful and painstaking renovation, Darcy House now boasts two function suites, Darcy House Great Hall and Darcy House The Gallery, each with the capacity for 110 seated guests.

Visitors also had the chance to explore The Chapel, which has been restored to preserve its 900-year history, and the newly built South Lodge, which encapsulates the English Heritage styling across the whole estate and will be available to rent as holiday accommodation.

Weddings and other events will be staged within Darcy House from spring, with further plans for the estate to be home to hotel accommodation, country holiday retreats, a farm shop, a pub, a café and a wellbeing centre.

Visited twice by Queen Elizabeth I during her Royal Progresses, St Osyth Priory Estate will offer guests the chance to follow in these royal footsteps, while the sprawling parkland features ancient lakes and breath-taking woodland, providing a unique natural habitat for wildlife and birdlife.

William Grinstead, spokesperson for St Osyth Priory Estate, said: “It’s been extremely rewarding to see visitors’ reactions to walking through the St Osyth Priory Estate.

“The genuine interest in what we’re providing to the local community has been lovely to see and we’ve enjoyed answering questions and showcasing the restorations to Darcy House.

“There feels like a real level of excitement building now we’re able to host our first weddings and events from early spring and obviously with South Lodge now complete as the first accommodation available for our country retreats, we’ll be able to welcome people here again very soon, with bookings open now.

"We will be looking at further Open Days early next year, so people can keep an eye on our website and socials for updates and announcements.”