Culture spot in line for national accolade

The nostalgic 1900s town at Beamish Museum, which is up for a national tourism gong.
The nostalgic 1900s town at Beamish Museum, which is up for a national tourism gong.
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A popular culture spot is proving a blast from the past after being nominated for a prestigious national award.

Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, has scooped a spot in the final of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016.

The County Durham museum has been shortlisted for the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award, by the national tourist board.

Richard Evans, Beamish’s Director, said: “It’s fantastic news that we are a finalist in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016.

“We are so pleased and this means such a lot to our staff and volunteers, of whom we are so proud. For Beamish to be a finalist at these awards is such an achievement and is great recognition for what we do.”

The winners will be revealed at a ceremony at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on March 8, during English Tourism Week.

Other finalists alongside Beamish in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category include Chester Zoo, Salisbury Cathedral and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland, said: “Awards for Excellence finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England.

“We received over 400 truly impressive applications this year and there’s absolutely no doubt those shortlisted are representatives of the best in the industry who place delivering an unforgettable experience to visitors in England at the heart of their business operations.

“I’d like to congratulate all finalists and wish them the very best of luck on Awards night at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.”

Beamish has attracted record visitor numbers in recent years and welcomed an impressive 655,936 visitors in 2014/15.

Further exciting times are ahead for the museum, which will open a chemist’s shop and photographer’s studio in its 1900s Town in late spring 2016.

The £17million Remaking Beamish project includes plans to build a 1950s Town, including cinema, shops, houses and cafe, and expand the Georgian area, including a coaching inn where visitors can stay overnight.

The museum has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with a decision on a second round of funding due to be made this summer.