Most Coach Friendly Historic Attraction
This award is designed to recognise and reward historic attractions who have gone 'that extra mile' to accommodate, attract, and welcome coaches, their drivers and their passengers.
The Winners: Chatsworth, Derbyshire
Set amongst the scenic glories of the Peak District, the home of the Cavendish family, the Dukes of Devonshire, offers groups a great day out.
This is a very special year for Chatsworth, since after two years' work, more of the house is being opened to the public than ever before, including both new and restored spaces and views, plus displays of jewellry, silver and gold.
New access arrangements mean that the main visitor route through the house is now fully accessible to wheelchair users. This year also sees the 90th birthday of the Dowager Duchess, Deborah, the youngest of the famous Mitford sisters, and a special exhibition marks this event.
The judges were hugely impressed by the stylish web site, clear and concise information and welcome given to groups and coach drivers at Chatsworth – a model for others to follow.
Runners Up: Fountain's Abbey, North Yorkshire
The world heritage site at Fountain's Abbey and Studley Royal is set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, and offers the magical Abbey ruins plus the stunningly restored eighteenth century landscape garden.
The judges were impressed by the excellent facilities for groups and coach parties, the clear and concise literature, and the stylish and informative web site.
The following venues were also nominated by coach operators from around the country, and highly commended by the judges.
Black Country Living Museum, Dudley, West Midlands
This fascinating museum tells the story of the growth of the Black Country into one of the most important industrial economies in the world during the 19th and early 20th centuries. With transport links, recreated buildings and a host of displays and demonstrations, it makes a fine destination for a group visit or coach trip.
The museum offers free coach parking, and the information is communicated by what the judges fell to be good looking and stylish literature and internet pages.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Home of the Dukes of Marlborough since the early eighteenth century, and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, this magnificant baroque palace has long been a favourite destination for groups.
The venue was praised by the judges for its bookable group meeting service, free coach parking and excellent information through its excellent literature and comprehensive and attractive web site.
Warwick Castle, Warwick
Marketed as "Britain's ultimate castle", Warwick certainly has a huge amount to offer - and a huge reputation for its many and varied attractions within the context of this magnificant medieval building.
The judges highlighted the ability to pre-book coach parking and other services, and the literature and web site - both were stylish, attractive and highly informative.
Who could be nominated?
Static historic attractions, including museums, galleries, historic houses, gardens and other similar attractions.
… and by whom
Readers of Coach and Bus Week magazine who are coach operators were asked to nominate attractions whose service they have admired during the last 12 months. They were asked to explain why they thouight the nominated attraction deserved this award. The judges made a short-list from the nominations submitted, and selected a winner based on further research.