The University of Manchester’s Whitworth has won gold at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in the large visitor attraction category.
The ‘gallery in the park’ – which was reopened a year ago after a £15 million transformation– beat a range of renowned competitors such as Chester Zoo, SS Great Britain and Salisbury Cathedral.
In 2014, the gallery had closed its doors in order to undertake the largest renovation in its 125-year history, which doubled its former size, with a new glass wing overlooking Whitworth Park proving to be a ‘magnet’ for visitors. As a result, it saw record-breaking visitor figures.
Gallery Director Maria Balshaw said: “It has been a momentous period for the gallery – and winning this award, one of several now, is again a wonderful way to say thank you to all those who made it possible.”
It has been a momentous period for the gallery – and winning this award, one of several now, is again a wonderful way to say thank you to all those who made it possible.
With a history stretching back over 25 years, the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence are firmly established as representing the highest accolade in English tourism. The Awards recognise businesses that incorporate best practice and demonstrate excellence in customer service throughout their operation and celebrate the very best in quality and innovation.
The VisitEngland award is the latest in a string of major national and international awards for the gallery since it reopened in February 2015. These include being named Europe’s Best Emerging Culture Destination, North West Building of the Year, Museum of the Year 2015 and being shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize, winning the people’s choice vote hosted by the BBC.
Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland, said: “These awards are the highest accolade in the industry, recognising the world class tourism experiences that can be found throughout England. As ever competition has been fierce, with winners from the regions coming through to compete at a national level so my congratulations to all our winners, especially the Gold Award winners who are the standard bearers for English tourism.”
Tourism Minister David Evennett said: “The success of our world-leading tourism industry is due to the passion and dedication of individuals across the country.
“These awards highlight the huge talent we have, and the fantastic contribution winners and nominees have made to the sector, and I congratulate them all.”