The £22 million Lincoln Castle Revealed project, including the city’s newly opened Magna Carta Vault, has beaten attractions including a Harry Potter studio tour and London exhibitions to a top UK tourism award.
The British Guild of Travel Writers’ annual awards named Lincolnshire County Council’s Lincoln Castle Revealed project as the winner of the UK category.
Special guests attended the awards ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel, in aid of Railway Children – which helps vulnerable street children in the UK, Africa and India.
Each tourism project had been completed within the past three years. Each was nominated by a guild member and selected via a secret ballot of the guild’s 270 professional journalists, writers, editors, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers.
The members proposing projects were asked to evaluate the initiatives on the basis of tourism potential and benefit to the local community.
The Caverne du Pont d’Arc in the Ardèche, France took top honours in the European category, while Peru’s Museo de Túcume pre-Inca site won in the Wider World category.
Lincoln Castle Revealed, which was nominated by Gillian Thornton, involved a 10 year renovation of the site, unveiling 1,000 years of hidden history in time for the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.
The castle was reopened in April, with hundreds of thousands flooding through the gates since, enjoying new exhibitions, the Victorian prison and an underground vault housing the city’s copy of the Magna Carta and a unique cinema experience.
Tourism Development Manager at Lincolnshire County Council Mary Powell has been at the helm of the project over the years, and has overseen plenty of challenges including the discovery of a Saxon Sarcophagus.
She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and so proud. Isn’t it a great moment to just stop, after a busy project that’s been ten years of my life, and celebrate. This is the culmination of everything really.”
Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture and Heritage, added: “Although we had high hopes for the new-look castle, I don’t think anyone imagined it would be quite this successful.
“Not only are we winning prestigious awards left, right and centre, we’ve also had more than 200,000 visitors through the gates in just six months!”
Highly Commended runners up were:
- Strawberry Hill (strawberryhillhouse.org.uk), a restored neo-Gothic villa in southwest London
- Hauser & Wirth Somerset (hauserwirthsomerset.com), a multi-purpose arts centre and world-class gallery
Those recieving Merit Awards in the UK category included:
- The Making of Harry Potter, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
- Tower Bridge Glass Floor, Tower Bridge Exhibition, London
- National Civil War Centre, Newark Museum, Nottinghamshire
- Wellcome Collection, Gallery Renovation, London