Stump Cross Caverns: Profits have doubled for Yorkshire Dales tourist attraction and visitor numbers have risen by 15% since appearing on Channel 5 show The Hotel Inspector

Owner of Yorkshire Dales tourist attraction Stump Cross Caverns says that profits of her business have doubled and visitor numbers have increased with the help of The Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi.

Stump Cross Caverns, Pateley Bridge, has been open to the public since the 19th century and was bought by Lisa Bowerman in 2003.

For years the cave attraction became a huge success with Yorkshire locals and visitors alike. However, following financial struggles resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis, Ms Bowerman almost lost all hope until she spotted an advert on Facebook for The Hotel Inspector.

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She applied to the show and was accepted and since she began working with Alex Polizzi on ways to improve the business, she has seen a huge improvement.

The Owners of Stump Cross Caverns, Lisa Bowerman and her partner Nick Markham. (Pic credit: James Hardisty)The Owners of Stump Cross Caverns, Lisa Bowerman and her partner Nick Markham. (Pic credit: James Hardisty)
The Owners of Stump Cross Caverns, Lisa Bowerman and her partner Nick Markham. (Pic credit: James Hardisty)

The episode aired on October 24 and the business has seen a wealth of growth. Visitor numbers have increased by 10-15%, the shop visitor numbers have risen by 50% and profits have doubled at the shop.

“Since we have had the expert guidance and support of Alex Polizzi and her amazing team our business has gone from strength to strength,” Ms Bowerman told The Yorkshire Post.

“Customer satisfaction is key! Customers love the new bundles on offer which gives them more for their money.

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“[They are] also loving the information boards which adds to the customer journey, increases awareness [filled] with lots of positive messages saying that they can’t wait to visit since they have seen it on TV.

Fright Night event at Stump Cross Caverns. (Pic credit: Lisa Bowerman)Fright Night event at Stump Cross Caverns. (Pic credit: Lisa Bowerman)
Fright Night event at Stump Cross Caverns. (Pic credit: Lisa Bowerman)

“Alex Polizzi certainly knows what she is doing, I’m forever grateful.”

Stump Cross Caverns, which hosted a Halloween event Fright Night on October 27 and 28, 2023, has been praised since its appearance on the show, with many fans sending messages of support.

“Since our program went out on The Hotel Inspector, we have all been overwhelmed with the response,” she said.

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“Hundreds, perhaps thousands of messages of support, increased footfall with people coming from all over the British Isles to say hello and well done and how much they loved the programme.

“We’ve even had hand written letters, what a treat and how kind of someone to take the time to write a letter.

“The Facebook posts went viral; they all love Alex Polizzi, as we do. They all love the changes made and have come for the shop too. Alex was right, less is more.”

Along with praise, she has also been criticised for spending £3,000 on a cavewoman costume that she has bought with her own money.

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“I wanted to look the part, to be appealing to children and their families and approachable so I could take Cavewoman into schools, which I have done for free last year, teaching [pupils] about this incredible subterranean world.

“I didn’t want to look like a night out on a Friday night in Leeds. I didn’t want to be copied. To replace me as a mascot would cost £200 per day.

“I am a true modern Cavewoman, it’s me who owns the caves and my responsibility as caretaker to look after them.

“It’s not just a case of dressing up, the mascot is an avenue to teach and engage with people.

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“Thé Cavewoman costume means the world to me; it enables me to protect and preserve the beauty that lies beneath your feet at Stump Cross Caverns Showcaves.

“As owner and custodian this is the main priority. We need to hand it over to the next generation in the best condition possible.

“[During] lockdown I did back to back meetings working ‘on the business’. Everyone kept saying you need a mascot.

“So after careful consideration I decided to create the The Cavewoman mascot which has now become a vital part of Stump Cross Caverns.I paid for the outfit myself.”

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The changes made to the business were extensive which are set to attract more visitors, particularly during the festive season.

“On Alex Polizzi’s advice we will be offering more adult packages in our shoulder periods,” Ms Bowerman said.

“Olly, Nick and myself will be offering private tours of the Caves and relaxing with a food offering and drink afterwards.

“So we will be there to guide you on this stunning attraction and answer any questions. This could be for up to 40 people if you wanted to bring a group.

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“Alex advised to think of the business as one, so an offering from each department Caves/shop/Time Cafe and maybe the Cinema.

“We are offering mammoth cream teas above and below ground now. You can enjoy a tour around the caves and see the ancient wonders and then relax in the most beautiful pod overlooking the Yorkshire Dales National Park with a Yorkshire tea and a mammoth scone.

“You can choose from Fruit scones, cherry and Almond scones or Cheese and this is £20 per person. We will be doing lots of dark skies events over winter too.”

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