IT is five years since one of the region’s most popular attractions opened its doors – and it plans to celebrate its success in spectacular style.

Richmond Station has become one of the area’s foremost arts and heritage centres and its milestone birthday will be marked with a weekend of family activities and partying.

The venue now boasts regular visitor numbers of more than 350,000 a year and everyone is invited to the birthday bash which gets underway today and continues until Sunday.

Manager Laura Hannaway said: “We are using our fifth birthday as an opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has believed in the Station and supported the renovation project from the outset.

“The building has evolved into a unique arts and heritage venue and its undisputed success is largely due to the support of the local community, be it through financial contributions; volunteering to help out, or simply by using the building and enhancing its value as a great community asset.

“The Station is a charitable organisation, and like all charities in today’s difficult economic climate, we can only continue to survive with the ongoing generosity of others.”

The celebrations start at 10am today with demonstrations from some of the food producers at the Station and historical tours with slide shows telling the story of the building’s restoration.

There will also be birthday singing with the Station Singers, arts and craft sessions for all ages and a variety of live music on the Lower Platform – and for the sweet-toothed there will be birthday cakes made by resident food producers Laceys Cheese and The Angel’s Share.

Further highlights include the Station’s first miniature steam train offering rides to all the family, a birthday buffet tomorrow (SAT) evening with two-course hot dinner and live jazz and blues (tickets £12.50; starts 7.45pm).

On Sunday there will be a birthday quiz at 8pm to which everyone is welcome and the Station cinema will also offer two screenings of the classic Brief Encounter to bring a touch of railway nostalgia to the occasion.

For the full birthday programmevisit

The Station is open from 9am until late evening on all three days and many of the celebrations are free.