The top visitor attractions in England have been revealed by VisitEngland as part of its 2018 Attractions Accolades.
In total, 76 attractions including museums, galleries, farm attractions, and churches, have been highlighted following an in-depth annual assessment by expert judges.
From an aquarium in Southend-on-Sea putting on a warm welcome to a ruined abbey in Norfolk offering delicious homemade cake, scroll down to see the best sights in the land…
In the East of England six tourist attractions were honoured by VisitEngland. Above, the King Richard III Visitor Centre, which was recognised for ‘unique storytelling’
In the east of England, six tourist attractions were honoured by VisitEngland.
Among the winners was the D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum in Nottingham, which was applauded for offering visitors a ‘warm welcome’. The authentically restored miner’s cottage, where the author was born, includes a gift shop and museum with exhibits on the surrounding countryside, which inspired his work.
Meanwhile, the King Richard III Visitor Centre and the National Space Centre, both in Leicester, were recognised for the ‘unique’ ways they communicate stories through exhibitions and displays.
East of England
The ruins of Creake Abbey in Fakenham got the thumbs up for its food and drink offering
In the east of England, 12 attractions were recognised by the VisitEngland judges.
Chilford Hall Vineyard in Cambridge – one of the oldest established vineyards in England – was praised for the way it details its wine-making story.
Meanwhile, the ruins of Creake Abbey in Fakenham, Norfolk, got the thumbs up for its food and drink offering and the Sea Life Adventure aquarium in Southend-on-Sea was praised for giving guests a ‘warm welcome’.
There’s lots to see in London but after much debate, the VisitEngland judges selected three of the city’s must-see sights. The Tower of London (pictured) got a gold award for offering visitors an all-round top notch experience
There’s lots to see in London but after much debate, the VisitEngland judges selected three of the city’s must-see sights.
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge Exhibition both got ‘gold’ awards for offering visitors an all-round top notch experience.
Meanwhile, the Infrastructure Learning Hub launched by the Institution of Civil Engineers was honoured for the ‘best told story’. The centre is described as being ‘for anyone who wants to explore engineering projects that have changed the world and innovations that will shape our future’.
The Adventure Valley family adventure park (pictured) and Hall Hill Farm, both in Durham, were praised for offering visitors a warm welcome
In North East England eight attractions were honoured.
The Adventure Valley family adventure park and Hall Hill Farm, both in Durham, were praised for offering visitors of all ages a ‘warm welcome’.
The Head of Steam, formerly known as the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum, was also highlighted for the same reason. The attraction, which is located in North Road Station on the 1825 route of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, was the world’s first steam-worked public railway.
Chester Zoo bagged a coveted gold award, with it offering educational fun for all the family
Six spots on the map received gongs in England’s North West.
Chester Zoo bagged a coveted ‘gold’ award, with it offering educational fun for all the family. It is home to all kinds of animals, from penguins to gorillas to painted dogs.
Burrowing underground, the Mersey Tunnel Tours in Liverpool got an award for its insightful tour, while the RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserve received top marks for its ‘warm welcome’.
The La Hougue Bie Museum in Grouville, Jersey, which was one of three spots on the Channel Islands to be recognised by VisitEngland
There were three spots on the Channel Islands that caught the judges’ attention.
Hamptonne Country Life Museum in St Lawrence won the ‘hidden gem’ award, with the quaint attraction offering an ‘insight into the rural life carried on in Jersey for centuries’.
La Hougue Bie Museum, Grouville, Jersey, which is one of the oldest buildings in the world, was honoured in the same category, while the Jersey Museum & Art Gallery in St Helier, which charts the history of Jersey, won a ‘gold’ award.
A Mini is assembled on the production line at the Mini plant in Oxford, which won an award for best told story
A total of 12 tourist attractions in the South East of England won praise from the VisitEngland judges.
One of them was the Mini plant in Oxford, which won an award for best told story. The attraction takes visitors behind the scenes at the factory where the iconic cars are assembled.
The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre in Great Missenden, which honours the children’s author, and Waddesdon Manor, a vast country house in Aylesbury, both won gold awards.
One of the picturesque gardens on the Highgrove estate, which was named as having won a gold award by VisitEngland
In the South West region, seven different attractions were recognised across a series of categories.
Highgrove Gardens in Tetbury, which is owned by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, was named as having won a ‘gold’ award.
Other winners were the Plymouth Gin Distillery, which offers tours of its facility and was honoured for ‘quality food and drink’, and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, which won a ‘best told story’ gong.
Cadbury World in Birmingham satisfied the judges’ appetite for all-round fun, and scored a gold award
In the West Midlands, 16 attractions won awards, revealing that this region is a top spot to hit if you’re looking for something to do.
The 17th century Aston Hall mansion in Birmingham won a ‘best told story’ award along with the Emma Bridgewater pottery factory in Stoke-on-Trent.
Meanwhile, Cadbury World in Birmingham satisfied the judges’ appetite for all-round fun, with factory tours and chocolate tastings on offer, and scored a ‘gold’ award.
The Emmerdale Village Tour in Leeds was lauded for its story-telling capability, leading visitors in the footsteps of Yorkshire’s best loved soap-stars
In Yorkshire, three attractions took home awards.
The Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby, which is housed within a 17th century building where the young James Cook lodged as apprentice, sailed home with a ‘gold’ gong.
Meanwhile, the RSPB Blacktoft Sands Nature Reserve flew on to the leader board with judges deeming it a ‘hidden gem’ and the Emmerdale Village Tour in Leeds was lauded for its story-telling capability, leading visitors in the footsteps of Yorkshire’s best loved soap-stars.
VisitEngland Visitor Attraction Accolade Winners 2018
Designed to celebrate excellence within the visitor attraction sector, VisitEngland’s Accolades showcase businesses that ‘go the extra mile to provide a high quality day out’. Accolades were given for the following categories: Welcome, Best Told Story, Quality Food & Drink, Hidden Gem and Gold.
D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, Nottingham – Welcome
King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester – Best Told Story
Lincoln Guildhall – Best Told Story
National Space Centre, Leicester – Best Told Story
Rufford Abbey Country Park, Ollerton – Welcome
The Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath – Gold
East of England
Chilford Hall Vineyard, Cambridge – Best Told Story
Colchester Castle – Welcome
Creake Abbey, Fakenham – Quality Food & Drink
Ferry Meadows Country Park, Peterborough – Welcome
Jordans Mill, Biggleswade – Quality Food & Drink
Redwings Aylsham Visitor Centre – Welcome
RSPB Lakenheath Fen – Welcome
RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve, Saxmundham – Welcome
RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve, Purfleet – Welcome
RSPB Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve, Norwich – Welcome
RSPB The Lodge Nature Reserve, Sandy – Welcome
Sea Life Adventure, Southend-on-Sea – Welcome
HM Tower of London – Gold
ICE Infrastructure Learning Hub – Best Told Story
Tower Bridge Exhibition – Gold
Adventure Valley, Durham – Welcome
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead – Gold
Hall Hill Farm, Durham – Welcome
Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum – Welcome
mima, Middlesbrough – Welcome
Saltburn Cliff Tramway – Welcome
The Alnwick Garden – Welcome
The Gardens at Wynyard Hall, Billingham – Welcome
Abbot Hall Art Gallery & Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Kendal – Quality Food & Drink
Chester Zoo – Gold
Kirklinton Hall & Gardens, Carlisle – Welcome
Mersey Tunnel Tours, Liverpool – Best Told Story
RSPB Dee Estuary – Burton Mere Wetlands, Neston – Welcome
The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite Lake – Gold
Hamptonne Country Life Museum, St Lawrence – Hidden Gem
Jersey Museum & Art Gallery, St Helier – Gold
La Hougue Bie, Grouville – Hidden Gem
Chawton House Library, Alton – Hidden Gem
Farley’s House & Gallery, Chiddingly – Hidden Gem
Historic Dockyard, Chatham – Gold
Hook Norton Brewery, Banbury – Hidden Gem
Hush Heath Winery, Tonbridge – Gold
MINI Plant, Oxford – Best Told Story
Monkey Haven, Newport – Best Told Story
Oxford Official Walking Tours, Oxford – Best Told Story
Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden – Gold
Royal Engineers Museum, Library & Archive, Gillingham – Hidden Gem
Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury – Gold
West Dean Gardens, Chichester – Quality Food & Drink
Aerospace Bristol, Bristol – Quality Food & Drink
Highgrove Gardens, Tetbury – Gold
Plymouth Gin, Plymouth – Quality Food & Drink
REME Museum, Chippenham – Hidden Gem
Seaton Tramway, Seaton – Welcome
Victoria Art Gallery, Bath – Best Told Story
Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre, Devizes – Hidden Gem
Aston Hall, Birmingham – Best Told Story
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery – Quality Food & Drink
British Motor Museum, Gaydon – Welcome
Cadbury World, Birmingham – Gold
Dudley Canal Tunnel & Limestone Mines – Best Told Story
Eastnor Castle, Ledbury – Best Told Story
Emma Bridgewater Factory, Stoke-on-Trent – Best Told Story
Hartlebury Castle – Hidden Gem
National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas – Gold
RSPB Coombes Valley, Leek – Hidden Gem
Sarehole Mill, Birmingham – Welcome
The Coffin Works, Birmingham – Best Told Story
The Cotswold Distillery, Shipston-on-Stour – Hidden Gem
Thinktank, Birmingham – Welcome
Winterbourne House & Garden, Birmingham – Welcome
World of Wedgwood, Stoke-on-Trent – Gold
Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby – Gold
RSPB Blacktoft Sands Nature Reserve, Goole – Hidden Gem
The Emmerdale Village Tour, Leeds – Best Told Story