Visit England 2021-22 Visitor Attraction Awards

25th October 2022

Five of our cathedrals have been awarded accolades in the Visit England 2021-22 Visitor Attraction Awards.

Lichfield, Salisbury and St Albans Cathedrals have received a VisitEngland 2021-22 Visitor Attraction Accolade for Best Told Story (Midlands, South west and East of England), Coventry was hailed for its Welcome and Liverpool was awarded Gold.

These five cathedrals received their awards alongside 93 other attractions across the country, recognised for the outstanding experiences they provide to visitors in categories that included Welcome, Best Told Story, Quality Food & Drink, Hidden Gem and Gold for overall winners.

The winning attractions have gained the accolades based on scores received following their annual VisitEngland Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme assessments.

In Salisbury, the award follows a major revamp of the Cathedral’s interpretation, undertaken in 2021 during lockdown with support from the Culture Recovery Fund, a fund set up to help the visitor economy recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The Cathedral interpretation project, commissioned in Autumn 2020, was led by Dr Polly Richards, an interpretation and master-planning consultant, and was implemented by staff with support from volunteer guides. The changes focused on the main Cathedral Floor experience, ensuring the Cathedral and Christian stories were shared engagingly and inclusively. New objects and archive materials were introduced, and new signage including videos accessed by QR codes, was commissioned.

Visit Salisbury - Good to Go

Jane Morgan, Director of External Relations and Visitor Experience said:

“We are thrilled that the work undertaken by Polly and our team has been recognised by Visit England. 

“Heritage buildings like the Cathedral are an important part of our region’s history, in particular here in Salisbury, where it is woven into the city’s story and has its roots in Old Sarum. 

“The hardest thing is moulding that rich seam of information into interpretation that is concise and accessible. It has certainly been well received by our visitors.”

A second project to review and update the Magna Carta exhibition is already underway and should be completed in early 2023.

Coventry Cathedral is celebrating after receiving its accolade for its welcome.

Coventry Cathedral - Remembering Prince Philip

Carla Crawley, Head of Tourism and Engagement at the Cathedral said

‘We are absolutely thrilled with this award which celebrates the hard work of not only our Welcome Team but the wider Cathedral staff and volunteer team. Hospitality is one of our core values and the way in which we most obviously demonstrate this is through a consistently warm and genuine welcome, and I’m delighted that this has been recognised with this award’. 

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said:

“It’s so exciting to see our brilliant attractions providing outstanding experiences for visitors and to recognise and showcase the variety and quality across the country. 

“England has unmissable visitor attractions and experiences that deliver world-class customer service. They also provide the warmest of welcomes and unforgettable storytelling that connects the whole experience, including retail and food and drink offers that exceed expectations.”

Introduced in 2014, the accolades are available to VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme participants across a wide range of tourism experiences in England from museums and galleries, farm attractions, historic houses and gardens to churches, cathedrals and country parks.

Participating attractions are supported by a network of highly trained and experienced assessors who advise them on improving and promoting the quality, accessibility and sustainability of their offer.”

Link to official VisitEngland press release.

Cathedrals with TripAdvisor awards can be found here.