British Heritage Awards - Best Large Historic Visitor Attraction 2010

Posted: 2010-12-15

British Heritage Awards - Best Large Historic Visitor Attraction 2010

We kicked off the inaugural British Heritage Awards with the award for Best Small Historic Visitor Attraction 2010, won by Burton Agnes Hall, Yorkshire. Now that we've dealt with small visitor attractions, let's step up a gear and hand out the award for the Best Large Historic Visitor Attraction for 2010.

Once again let me remind you that this award is not for the 'Best' attraction per se, but the one that does the best job of combining historic interest with promoting heritage in an exceptional way. That can be simply a case of providing terrific guided tours, producing printed booklets or guides that do a great job of bringing history to life, or doing a great job with visitor signage that helps explain the history and heritage of a location.

Attractions that fall into the 'Large' category face a unique set of challenges, perhaps the biggest being the task of dealing with so many visitors on a continual basis, and minimising the impact of those visitors on the sometimes fragile historic remains of a site while still providing a great visitor experience.

The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Castle Howard, York, Yorkshire
  2. Kingston Lacy, Dorset
  3. Ightham Mote, Ivy Hatch, Kent
  4. Leeds Castle, Maidenhead, Kent
  5. Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland
  6. Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent
  7. Erddig House, Wrexham, Clwyd
  8. Kensington Palace, London
  9. Lincoln Castle, Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  10. Mount Stuart, Rothesay, Bute
  11. Osborne House, East Cowes, Isle of Wight
  12. Powis Castle, Welshpool, Clwyd

And the winner of the Best Large Historic Visitor Attraction for 2010 is ...

Powis Castle
A fabulous garden surrounds this authentic castle that has been transformed over centuries into a sumptuous stately home. There is a wealth of history on show, from the fascinating Clive of India museum to the elegantly furnished state rooms. Each area has very well written printed guides, and knowledgeable visitor guides are stationed throughout. You could easily spend all day at Powis.

Honourable mention:

Erddig House
Take one of the optional behind-the-scenes tours before the house opens to regular visitors. The friendly guides really bring the house alive. Kudos also for the display of family memorabilia, including poems to centuries of servants by family members.

Mount Stuart
As with Erddig House above, Mount Stuart excels with wonderful guided tours of the house interiors - and what interiors they are!

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