Every year, VisitEngland highlights the attractions that deliver the best visitor experiences with its Visitor Attraction Accolades.
The awards are based on the scores achieved in an annual Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme assessment, with the coveted Gold award celebrating the best all-rounders.
Discover your next great day out with the 2020-21 winners.
Bishop’s Palace and Gardens, Somerset
This stunning medieval palace has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years and, along with its 14 acres of RHS partner gardens, is open for all to enjoy. Cross the flagstone drawbridge, walk under the portcullis, and see the well pools from which the city takes its name
Cadbury World, West Midlands
Learn how your favourite treats are made, play in chocolate rain, and more on a self-guided exhibition tour around the magical world of Cadbury. There’s lots of fun to be had in the Adventure Play Area for younger guests – make sure you also allow time to sample the delights of the world’s biggest Cadbury shop.
Set in the heart of the Peak District, the historic home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire is filled with wonders to discover. Admire the house and tour one of Europe’s most significant art collections before exploring the magnificent park and estate.
Chester Zoo, Cheshire
Chester Zoo is the UK’s number one charity zoo, and is home to some of the planet’s most endangered species. There’s over 20,000 animals and 128 acres of zoological gardens to discover – you can also book an experience day to meet the experts and get even close to the zoo’s amazing animals.
Corinium Museum, Gloucestershire
This award-winning museum showcases the archaeology of the Cotswolds and houses one of the largest collections of Romano-British antiquities. The light and modern galleries offer a fantastic, interactive experience; the museum’s principal collection consists of finds from the Roman town of Corinium, today known as Cirencester.
Haynes Motor Museum, Somerset
Boasting over 400 cars and bikes – from nostalgic classics to exciting supercars – this living and working museum offers a fabulous day out for everyone. There’s a packed programme of exhibitions, talks and events to choose from, along with plenty of activities to keep younger guests entertained.
Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum, County Durham
Step back in time to the place known as the Birthplace of the Railways with a visit to this original 1840s railway station. Admire the original Victorian interior of the Booking Office, explore the platform and waiting room, and tour the exhibitions and interactives before refuelling at the Refreshment Stop.
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
There’s so much to see and do at the magnificent 18th-century home of the Earls of Leicester. Visit the magnificent Hall itself, hire bikes and boats to explore the stunning surrounding parkland, and learn about Holkham’s unique agricultural heritage in the Field to Fork Experience.
Liverpool Cathedral, Merseyside
Although it’s easy to assume that Liverpool Cathedral has stood watch over the city for centuries, the building is in fact a 20th-century structure that was only completed in 1978. Climb the tower for superb views over Liverpool and explore the award-winning visitor centre, which hosts audio tours and interactive stations.
National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire
The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance, nestled amongst lush woodland on the edge of the National Forest. There are over 150 thought-provoking memorials to encourage visitors to explore, discover and remember, along with an array of daily activities.
Paultons Park, Hampshire
This perennial family favourite has over 70 rides and attractions, with something to thrill every member of the family. The two world-class rollercoasters are perfect for adrenaline seekers, while the themed areas – Peppa Pig World in particular – are sure to be a hit with little ones.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire
Very much part of the Yorkshire countryside, Harlow Carr is a perfect setting for a delightful day out whatever the time of year. Highlights include the prairie-style planting of the lavish Main Borders, and the wonderful floral aromas experienced on a wander through the Scented Garden.
RSPB Saltholme Nature Reserve, North Yorkshire
Home to a huge wetland, the panoramic views over Saltholme Nature Reserve are a birdwatcher’s dream. The state-of-the-art visitor’s centre offers the perfect place to take in your surroundings – look out for starling murmurations in the winter months and see if you can spot the seals that swim up Greatham Creek.
Tower Bridge Exhibition, London
Travel back to Victorian London and see one of the city’s most defining landmarks from a brand-new perspective at this fascinating exhibition. Experience the thrill of London life from above, and uncover the stories of the unsung heroes of one of the world’s most famous architectural feats.
World of Wedgwood, Staffordshire
This unique visitor attraction celebrates the very best of British industrial and design heritage. Tour the working factory, take in the UNESCO-recognised V&A museum collection, and even try your hand at the potter’s wheel – or simply indulge in a spot of afternoon tea served exclusively on Wedgwood fine bone china.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire
Both a popular attraction and an internationally important tree collection, Westonbirt is the perfect place to escape, relax or have an adventure. Enjoy a fun-filled activity trail, admire the awe-inspiring spring and autumn colour displays, and keep an eye out for the Gruffalo sculptures.
Wildfowl and Wetland Trust – Slimbridge, Gloucestershire
With a variety of habitats on offer, there’s always a star species to spot from the 12 hides dotted around the incredible Slimbridge landscape. There’s a varied events calendar too – attend a daily otter feed, book onto a birdwatching workshop, or get creative with a Family Wildlife Photography day.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park, South Yorkshire
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park has cemented its status as one of Yorkshire’s top attractions since opening in 2009. Experience a truly breathtaking walk-through adventure with over 475 animals to discover, run off steam in your choice of play area and find out more about your favourite creatures by attending a ranger talk.
Brace yourself for a spooktacularly immersive experience at Shiverpool, Liverpool’s award-winning and theatrically-led ghost and history tour company. Venture beneath the Cathedral to see the Necropolis, experience the Hope St. Shivers or take your seats for comedy-horror roadtrip – if you’re feeling brave enough…
Emma Bridgewater Factory, Staffordshire
Visit the home of British pottery to get a unique insight into the traditional skills and craftsmanship that goes into every Emma Bridgewater piece. Get creative by designing your own piece in the Decorating Studio, pick up a souvenir or two in the shops, and feast on an Afternoon Tea in the café.
Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire
Once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers, Bletchley Park is now a vibrant attraction that showcases the crucial role Bletchley and the people who worked there played in the Second World War. Book onto an interactive tour to truly have its history brought to life.
King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicestershire
Created around the location where King Richard III’s remains were buried for over half a century, the King Richard III Visitor Centre tells the incredible story of the king found under the car park. Find out how the King rose to power, and turn detective to uncover a story of medieval murder, mystery and mayhem.
The Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire
The Hepworth Wakefield is set within the city’s historic waterfront and presents major exhibitions of international modern and contemporary art. The gallery also hosts regular fairs and markets to support artists and makers, along with an award-winning learning programme that engages and inspires its visitors.
The Lakes Distillery, Cumbria
Housed in a beautifully renovated Victorian farmstead on the edge of Lake Bassenthwaite, the artistic ethos of this award-winning distillery is inspired by its majestic surroundings. Go behind the scenes with a Tour & Tasting – the Whisky & Chocolate Pairing Tour is especially delicious.
International Bomber Command Centre, Lincolnshire
Surrounded by nine acres of Peace Gardens, this visitor experience on the outskirts of Lincoln highlights the efforts of Bomber Command during the Second World War via immersive displays, exhibits and trails. See the Memorial Spire and the Wall of Names and soak up the contemplative space of the gardens on your visit.
The National Horse Racing Museum, Suffolk
Discover the story of horseracing – from its earliest origins to the world-wide phenomenon it is today – with a visit to the National Horse Racing Museum. See the sport from a different perspective via the audiovisual displays and put your jockey skills to the test with a ride on the famous racehorse simulator.
The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland
The brainchild of the Duchess of Northumberland, this magnificent garden is underpinned by the ethos of being a space for everyone. There’s truly something to enchant every visitor here – be spellbound by the word’s largest Tai Haku Cherry Orchard, watch the 120 water jets of the Grand Cascade and dine in the world’s largest Treehouse Restaurant.