This award is designed to recognise and reward tourist attractions who have gone 'that extra mile' to accommodate, attract, and welcome coaches, their drivers and their passengers.
- Royal Yacht Britannia
The Royal Yacht Britannia was the Royal Family's mobile home for 44 years, and the ship played host to some of the most famous people in the world including many world leaders. Since her retirement, the ship has been moored at Leith near Edinburgh and has proved a hugely popular visitor attraction.Group visits are welcomed, and offer timed tours of the ship as well as access to the visitor centre and the adjacent Ocean Terminal shopping centre. There is a dedicated coach pick-up and drop-off point and a nearby free coach park.
- Hever Castle
Hever Castle was the childhood home of Ann Boleyn. The castle and extensive gardens offer a range of facilities for all types of visitors. The Castle offers free coach parking, and flexible payment terms for group bookings, with good discounts and a range of special facilities (e.g. special guided tours of the castle and/or the grounds) for pre-booked groups. Coach parking is “free and plentiful”.
- Big Pit, National Coal Museum
Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out. The museum offers a new multi-media tour of a modern coal mine with a virtual miner, new exhibitions in the Pithead Baths and a range of colliery buildings open to the public for the first time. Visitors also have the change to go 300 feet underground with a real miner and see what life was like for the thousands of men who worked at the coal face. Admission to the museum is free, but advance booking is required for groups of 10 or more.
- Blenheim Palace
Situated in the Oxfordshire countryside, Blenheim has been the home of the Dukes of Marlborough since the 17th century and was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. This magnificent baroque palace is situated in 2,000 acres of grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. The Palace offers extensive facilities for groups, including pre-booking on-line for groups of between 15 and 25 people and a downloadable groups brochure.
- Chatham Dockyard
Chatham's Historic Dockyard is this year celebrating 25 years of being one of Kent's top tourist attractions. It offers 80-acre maritime heritage location that contains a concentration of iconic buildings, historic ships and museum exhibits. The museum offers a range of facilities for group visits, and a helpful page of information and advice for group organisers and additionally for the travel trade on its web site. Drivers and, where appropriate, couriers receive free admission and refreshment vouchers.
- Giant's Causeway
A World Heritage Site set on the magnificent North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland, the Giant's Causeway is a spectacular series of volcanic rocks that lead out into the Irish sea. The Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre has been open since 1986 and now offers the visitor a wide range of services including displays and exhibitions, a tea shop and a gift shop. The National Trust offers a range of facilities including on-board coach welcome. An introductory talk, a general guided tour, out of hours tours, special interest tours and value added tours. The teashop can be booked in advance for groups. Coach parking facilities are offered by the local district council (100 yards away at which a charge applies.
- Hampton Court Palace
One of the country's most historic royal palaces, dating back to the days of Henry VIII, situated on the banks of the River Thames in south west London. As well as the palace itself and the extensive gardens, there are regular annual events such as the Flower Show and the annual festival of outdoor musical events. The palace offers substantial savings on admissions, great value offers and special interest tours at each palace. Group prices and conditions apply for visits of 15 people or more.
A family theme park set in 150 acres of parkland, Legoland offers over 50 interactive rides together with live shows, building workshops, driving schools and other attractions. The park welcomes group bookings, and offers substantial savings, partcularly for groups of more than 25 people.
Who could be nominated?
Static tourist attractions, including museums, galleries, historic houses, gardens and other visitor attractions.
… and by whom
Readers of Coach and Bus Week magazine who are coach operators, and other industry experts, were asked to nominate attractions whose service they had admired during the last 12 months. They were asked to explain why they think the nominated attraction deserved this award.