Sunderland’s new-look glass centre in line for top tourism award

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THE newly-relaunched National Glass Centre is hoping to shatter the opposition after being nominated for a top tourism award.

Following its £2.3million facelift in the summer, the St Peter’s venue is one of six to be shortlisted for the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Best UK Tourism Project Award 2013.

Since the makeover, the centre has doubled its exhibition space and introduced a new audio-visual display - which has helped attract 60,000 visitors in two months.

James Bustard, director of the National Glass Centre, said: “We are immensely proud that National Glass Centre has been nominated and shortlisted for this award.

“It is testament to the hard work and effort our team have put in over the last year and it is fantastic for Sunderland that National Glass centre is the only North East attraction to be shortlisted and that it has been recognised alongside other very high profile attractions.”

Stuart Forster, a Sunderland-based travel writer, photographer and member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, nominated National Glass Centre for the award. Stuart will make a presentation on why it should be given the Best UK Tourism Project award at the National Liberal Club in London on Thursday.

Following the presentation, three attractions will be shortlisted and the winner will be revealed at an awards dinner at The Savoy hotel in London, in November.

Stuart said: “The National Glass Centre is an outstanding attraction that showcases work by leading glass artists, telling the long story of glass production in the North East and gives people opportunities to see live glass blowing exhibitions. The centre is informative, fun, accessible and is well designed - these are all reasons why I nominated it for the awards.”

The Titanic Exhibition, Bluebell Railway Extension, Great Glen Canoeing Project, BBC Broadcasting House studio tours and the Mary Rose restoration are also in the running for the title Best UK Tourism Project.

Previous winners include the Cutty Sark, Turner Contemporary art gallery, Blists Hill Victorian Town at Ironbridge and Charles Darwin’s Down House.