Salisbury Cathedral has been handed a top accolade by a national tourism body.
VisitEngland has announced winners of its 2021/22 Visitor Attraction Accolades, judged during Quality Scheme assessments by inspectors.
The cathedral was handed a ‘Best Told Story’ accolade for the quality and diversity of the experience on offer.
It came following a major revamp of the cathedral’s interpretation display, 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 interpretation project, commissioned in autumn 2020, was led by Dr Polly Richards, an interpretation and masterplanning 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, commissioned.
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 VisitEngland. 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.”
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.
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.