Museums and hotel fly the flag for Bath in major tourism industry awards

July 31, 2020

Two Bath visitor attractions and one of the area’s top hotels have been named among the country’s best in the finals of the VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence. 

The Roman Baths & Pump Room are shortlisted in two categories - Large Visitor Attraction of the Year and International Tourism category – while the city’s Herschel Museum of Astronomy is competing for the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year title. 

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, on the city’s doorstep at Colerne, is in the running for the Large Hotel of the Year award.

The awards, which will be presented virtually on August 17, take place as the tourist and hospitality industries continue to reel from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Roman Baths & Pump Room have reopened and are now welcoming a growing number of visitors, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy on New King St – one the UK’ smallest museums – remains closed.

Five-star Lucknam Park, a former Palladian mansion set in 500 acres of parkland where rooms start at £295 a night, reopened to guests on July 13.

All three are no strangers to awards. Last year the Herschel Museum of Astronomy landed the Limited Budget Project of the Year title at the Museums and Heritage Awards for its 2018 Wonder Women of Space exhibition, which took place in one room and was mounted for less than £1,000.

The museum is based in the house where William Herschel, using a telescope of his own design, discovered the planet Uranus. His observations helped to double the known size of the solar system.

The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence champion the very best of the country’s tourism industry celebrating quality, innovation and best practice.

Applications were put forward for national judging from businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation providers, B&Bs, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs, museums, and conference centres.  

The 53 finalists are competing in 15 core categories at this year’s awards, from the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award, the Taste of England Award to Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year and Small Visitor Attraction of the Year.

There will also be four special awards, including the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award. The Roman Baths & Pump Room line up against Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and the International Bomber Command Centre, Lincolnshire, in the International Tourism category and the Old Royal Naval College,  Greenwich, London, and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire in the  Large Visitor Attraction category. 

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy goes toe-to-toe with Gladstone Pottery Museum in Staffordshire and Dorset’s Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, for the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year title.

Lucknam Park is competing with Southampton’s Harbour Hotel & Spa and the five-star Ned in  London for the Large Hotel of the Year award. 

VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “These awards celebrate businesses and individuals in tourism across England who have exceeded expectations and delivered excellence during the last 18 months and it is fantastic to see such an outstanding list of finalists. 

“The impressive list reflects the sheer scale of innovation, quality and experiences across our tourism landscape and I congratulate all the finalists and wish them the very best of luck.

“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely opportunity to acknowledge the determination and dedication of tourism businesses across the country who have worked extremely hard to reopen and welcome visitors back safely.” 

This year’s awards aligned with 18 local competitions around the country, including the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards, with winners automatically put forward for the national awards. 

• The 2020 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence event will be streamed live at and on YouTube channel VisitEnglandBiz on August 17 from 7pm to 9pm.


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