Table setting at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence event 2018The National Memorial Arboretum has been named the UK’s best large visitor attraction at the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence ceremony.

The arboretum near Lichfield, the UK’s national Centre for Remembrance, fought off competition from Blenheim Palace and Moors Valley Country Park & Forest to win the Gold award in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category.

And in a successful afternoon for Staffordshire at the Bath Assembly Rooms, Stoke-on-Trent’s World of Wedgwood won the Silver in the Guided Tour of the Year category, while Colton House near Rugeley won Bronze for Sustainable Tourism.

Destination Staffordshire’s Senior Marketing Officer Andrea Sammons said: “Following on from the success of our own Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards in November, it’s wonderful to see our winners represent the county on the national stage and actually go on to take the national title.

“This caps an excellent year for Staffordshire attractions which have been recognised with a number of VisitEngland accolades.

“The Trentham Estate and World of Wedgwood were both awarded Gold in the VisitEngland Attraction Quality Assessment Scheme while the Emma Bridgewater Factory received accolades for the Best Told Story and Quality Food & Drink.

“And Denstone Hall Farm Shop was named the UK’s Best Large Farm Shop Retailer at the national Farm Shop & Deli Awards last week.”

Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council and Deputy Chair of Enjoy Staffordshire explained that winning three awards was brilliant news and great for the county.

Mark said: "We have a thriving tourism sector here in Staffordshire worth around £1.7 billion and our tourism providers do a great job in attracting millions of visitors each year.

“It really is wonderful to see our operators recognised at these national awards.

“Competition in the Visit England Awards is always incredibly tough so winning is testament to our operators hard work to making their venues the best they can be.

“Colton House who received Bronze for Sustainable Tourism, World of Wedgwood who scooped Silver for Guided Tour and the National Memorial Arboretum who took Gold in the Large Visitor Attraction category have all done us very proud.”