The prestigious awards ceremony was held at the Bath Assembly Rooms on 23 April 2018 where the Arboretum triumphed over impressive competition from the other finalists; Blenheim Palace and Moors Valley Country Park and Forest.
Sarah Montgomery, Managing Director of the Arboretum, said: “It is fantastic to be recognised for our work in creating an amazing place for hundreds of thousands of people to visit each year. Being named Large Visitor Attraction of the Year is a testament to the impressive work of the whole team of staff and volunteers at the Arboretum and the tremendous progress we have made in recent years. This didn’t happen by accident, but through every single person’s hard work and enthusiasm.
“We look forward to welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Arboretum this year to explore the site, learn about the wide range of memorials and the extraordinary stories behind them - and engage in many of the events and activities on offer.”
“Visitors cannot fail to be impressed by their first sight of the magnificent Remembrance Centre when driving into the excellent visitor car park. These high standards continued throughout the visitor journey and included visiting; the first class 'Landscapes of Life' Exhibition, the spacious contemporary café, the well stocked shop and of course, the 300+ well-maintained memorials - the highlight being the Armed Forces Memorial. But it was the staff and volunteers that made the visit so memorable with their welcome where nothing was too much trouble. The guide on the 12 noon Buggy Tour brought a deeper appreciation of how the site has grown and developed over the past 20 years and made the day so very memorable.” - Testimonial from VisitEngland Judge who visited the National Memorial Arboretum
Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland, said: “The standard of the hundreds of applications we received this year was extremely high and that’s why the National Memorial Arboretum’s accolade is a testament to their excellent work.
“These awards shine a spotlight on our fantastic tourism industry, with the winners showcasing the quality, innovation and excellence on offer throughout England and I warmly congratulate them on their impressive contribution to the tourism industry.”
Jane Atkins, Managing Director of Shearings Holidays, official sponsor of the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, said: “On behalf of everyone at Shearings, we were delighted to present the award for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year. This is a fantastic achievement for all of the winners in this category, who offer exceptional visitor experiences. Attractions are the jewel in the crown of what English tourism has to offer and the National Memorial Arboretum has proved that they are worthy Gold winners of this national award. Congratulations!”
Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council and Deputy Chair of Enjoy Staffordshire, said: "We are incredibly proud to have the National Memorial Arboretum here in Staffordshire and winning such a prestigious award is a wonderful achievement. The competition in the VisitEngland Awards is always incredibly tough so winning is testament to the team’s hard work in making the centre a quality attraction.
“The Arboretum is now truly a world class centre of remembrance and I’m sure we can look forward to welcoming many more visitors to our great county. The County Council is a great supporter of the Arboretum and why we provided £3m funding towards the development of the new visitor centre which opened last year
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