Gladstone Pottery Museum received a top honour in national awards which recognise the best tourism businesses in the country.

The iconic Stoke-on-Trent site claimed the gold award in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2020. Gladstone Pottery Museum had previously claimed the top spot in that section of the regional Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism and Good Food Awards. It was then put forward for the national honours and a virtual Visit England ceremony took place online last night.

The event was hosted by Julia Bradbury, of The Outdoor Guide, with 19 categories ranging from Experience of the Year to Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year, as well as the museum’s Small Visitor Attraction section.

The winners of the gold, silver and bronze titles in each category were selected from hundreds of businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, attractions, restaurants, pubs, museums and conference centres.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “This national recognition shows just what an incredible place Gladstone Pottery Museum is – and the amazing things it has been doing for tourism in Stoke-on-Trent. On a personal level, it’s one of my family’s favourite sites to visit in the city and I’m delighted it’s received the accolade it deserves. The fascinating exhibitions, amazing events and other attractions that Gladstone provides are second to none and this gold award is more proof of that. I know that all of the staff and volunteers at Gladstone are totally thrilled to have won this award. It’s fully deserved and shows just how committed and dedicated they are to providing the best experience for our visitors.”

Enjoy Staffordshire’s Andrea Sammons said: “We’re delighted that, having won gold in the Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism & Good Food Awards last October, Gladstone Pottery Museum has gone on to take the national title. In such a highly contested category, it’s a fantastic achievement for the team at Gladstone and great news for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, helping to put the county on the map, and once again demonstrates the exceptional quality of our visitor attractions. In winning the award, they have followed in the footsteps of the National Memorial Arboretum, which won gold in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category in 2018.”

Gladstone Pottery Museum is temporarily closed after the national coronavirus lockdown. Measures are currently being put in place to ensure the site is covid-secure and visitors can safely return to the buildings. A date for reopening has not yet been finalised and more information will be announced in the coming weeks.

Councillor Beardmore said: “Like many museums across the country, Gladstone remains temporarily closed for a short while. We’re working hard to ensure everything is cleaned and the correct equipment is installed so we can safely reopen this national award winning site as soon as possible. Because it’s a listed building with historic features, and because it’s based across several spaces and rooms, the site has been a little bit more complicated to reopen than some others would be. We’re making good progress and we’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Gladstone in the near future.”

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