Gold winners from Visit England

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Visit England have recently announced the gold winners from their Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme.


These awards are given to people who, in the eyes of Visit England, have gone the extra mile to provide a high quality day out. This could be through a warm welcome, an engaging story, a delicious lunch or the overall visitor experience.

The awards are broken down by region as follows.

East Midlands – Here there were two gold medal winners. Chatsworth near Bakewell in Derbyshire is the home of the Dukes of Devonshire, a family whose fortune began with Bess of Hardwicke who was probably the richest woman in Elizabethan England other than Queen Elizabeth I. Since then the Spencer family has provided many historical episodes in the life of the country and this is charted in tours of the buildings and gardens. The other winner is the Heights of Abraham in Derbyshire’s Peak District. This area overlooking the Derwent Valley combines cable car tours with underground tours to visit the well-known caverns.

West Midlands – here there are three gold winners and I think all of them will be widely known by readers if not by their names, then by their prominence.  The first is Cadbury World in the Birmingham suburb of Bourneville. The second is The World of Wedgwood at Stoke-on-Trent and the third is the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The latter is the youngest of the trio to open but it is establishing a strong and loyal gathering of people who go for the solitude, and the many memories of our armed services.

Cadbury World

East of England – Here there is just one gold winner. Holkham Hall in Norfolk, is a 25,000 acre estate and home to the Earls of Leicester which is currently closed until at least April 30th due to coronavirus. But when it re-opens, a visit is well worth the time getting to north Norfolk.

South East – with four gold awards in the south east of England this region tops the gold awards list. The four are the Historic Dockyard – Chatham in Kent, Paultons Park at Romsey in Hampshire (closed until further notice) and two properties in Buckinghamshire – Bletchley Park (home of the famed code0breakers in WWII and Waddesdon Manor – the Rothschild home.

aerial view of Waddesdon Manor
Waddesdon Manor. Image © National Trust

South-West – Covering a huge area, the two gold award winners in the south-west of England are at opposite geographical ends of the region. Slimbridge, the wetland area in Gloucestershire founded by the famed naturalist, Sir Peter Scott is one of the winners and the other is Trebah Gardens at Falmouth in Cornwall.

North West. In the north only the north-west of England and Yorkshire have won gold awards. In the north-west the awards go to Chester Zoo and two attractions I have yet to visit, Manchester United Museum and Tour Centre (closed until at least the end of April) and the Lakes Distillery at Setmurthy in Cumbria.

Yorkshire – the final area where gold awards were distributed is Yorkshire where the two winners won gold were the York Art Gallery and, in Wakefield, the very impressive Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is currently still open.

Whilst some of these places have open-air facilities, not all are open due to coronavirus so check if you are planning a visit in the next few weeks.

We will be publishing details of the other awards over the next few days.

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