UK heritage award winners 2018

Tuesday 6 March 2017 marked the announcement of UK Heritage Awards for 2018; the presentation was made at the Goldsmiths' Hall in London and we thank everyone for their participation.  The winners were introduced by Paul Bridle, CEO of Visit Heritage and presented by Norman Hudson OBE, chairman of the judging panel. Find out more about the winners and highly commended and visit them for the best visitor experiences at today's heritage places.



Alnwick Castle

The Duke of Northumberland's home at Alnwick Castle has a cornucopia of entertainment on offer to family visitors. Well informed guides lead history and film tours. In the Knight's Quest arena, costumed adults help budding knights and princesses dress up in medieval finery or try their hand at traditional crafts, swordplay and medieval games. The most courageous can brave interactive games and animatronics in the new Dragon Quest. At different times, visitors may encounter Potter-inspired characters, falconers, jesters or archers and the broomstick training sessions have a global reputation. And all of this is included in one entry fee.


Llanfaiach Fawr Manor, South Wales

The 16th century fortified manor house at Llanfaiach Fawr Manor hosts live costumed interpretation of the times of local Civil War leader, Colonel Pritchard. Visitors are given a warm welcome by Colonel Pritchard's 'servants' and asked to share stories and gossip. New investment has made the experience much more fun with games, audio posts in the garden and a challenge to visitors to side with Parliament or the King.



Castle Howard

Castle Howard offer a special Afternoon Tea in the gracious surroundings of the Grecian Hall, now available both in summer and at Christmas. It's popular and has given people a different reason to come to Sir John Vanbrugh's baroque masterpiece in Yorkshire. Investment in new equipment is also helping other catering outlets at Castle Howard and the success of 'Castle Howard at Christmas' now sees the crowds expand into a dedicated Christmas café in a cosy marquee.

Afternoon tea at Castle Howard


Stansted Park

Lunch and tea at Stansted Park is served in the charming restored Edwardian conservatory overlooking the Walled Garden. Visitors enjoy fresh local produce and home cooking with ingredients sourced from local suppliers. The judges commended it as a prime example of a local business that is at the heart of the local community.

Conservatory Cafe at Stansted Park



The Victoria at Holkham

Less than a mile from the best beach in England, with stunning views overlooking Holkham National Nature Reserve and at the gateway to palladian Holkham Hall, The Victoria Inn has a great location. The link with the Holkham estate is strong, bedrooms are named for shooting drives, antique furnishings have been gleaned from Holkham's attics and basements and original features have been retained. The expansion into the 15th century Ancient House next door in 2015 now gives the Inn twenty bedrooms. The menu features local fish suppliers and estate meat and game and the emphasis is not just on quality but on environmental responsibility with green energy consumption. And a warm welcome for dogs!


The Head Gardener's House, Floors Castle, Borders

The Head Gardener's House at the end of the herbaceous border at Floors Castle has been refurbished for holiday lets. Antique pieces and artwork belonging to the family sit alongside classic heritage colourways and fine fabrics. Guests can expect a sleek contemporary kitchen, emperor size beds and a welcome hamper of produce made on the estate. A special welcome for dogs includes dog biscuits wrapped in estate ribbon.



The Queen's Gallery, London SW1

The shop at the Queen' Gallery needs to cope with a large number of visitors, communicate something about the exceptional collection of works of art in the Royal Collection and maintain an air of prestige for a national and international audience. These ambitions it manages in exemplary style. The shop is sophisticated and well arranged, it is full of bespoke pieces drawn from the collection and there are plenty of items to appeal to children.



The International Autojumble,Beaulieu, Hampshire

The International Autojumble at Beaulieu has run continuously for 50 years. In 1967 Beaulieu, which is home of the National Motor Museum, had the innovative idea of hosting a get-together for enthusiasts from all over the world to buy, sell and swap spare parts, accessories and collectables for motorcars and motorcycles of all ages. It was the very first event of its kind in Europe and has grown to be the largest heritage get-together in Beaulieu's busy year, attracting a staggering 37,000 people over the weekend. Loyal exhibitors love it, look forward to it and often arrange their lives around it.



 Houghton Hall, Norfolk

The 2017 exhibition by landscape artist Richard Long, EARTH SKY, is part of an ongoing engagement with contemporary art at Houghton Hall. Two features of the collaboration stand out. The quality of artists brought to Houghton is exceptional; this was Richard Long's largest show since his 2009 retrospective at the Tate. And the collaboration has a lasting impact; Richard Long's work will continue to delight visitors to the parkland at Houghton in the years to come as part of the Marquess of Cholmondeley's growing collection of contemporary art.

Richard Long at Houghton


Whitby Abbey

No one doubts that Whitby Abbey is one of the most evocative ruins in Britain. The Victorian author, Bram Stoker, certainly thought so and used the Abbey in his novel Dracula. Recently the English Heritage team at Whitby Abbey have been broadening interest for all visitors. Their week-long Halloween event, ILLUMINATED ABBEY, made the link with the Dracula story exciting, revisited the Abbey's history with theatrical characters and created a spectacle that could be enjoyed by the whole town.



English Heritage & Google Arts & Culture

2017 marked a ground-breaking collaboration between English Heritage and the digital expertise of Google. In all, detailed images of 2000 objects at 29 sites are now online, photographed with ultra high-resolution Gigapixel and Art Camera technology. It was Google's first collaboration with a client over many sites and the largest amount of content generated with a partner on the platform. For us, it has given us free instant access to treasures not normally available to view like Frank Wilkins' 1820 painting of the Battle of Hastings or close ups of the ceiling at Kenwood or a 360o curator-led tour of Osbourne House.


Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace's new 10 year plan sets out 10 ambitious goals for the evolution of the Palace and estate for the next decade. They include a £40 million restoration plan, a plan to acquire key items lost from the collection in the past and the establishment of an endowment fund for the Palace. The strategy will triple Blenheim's contribution to the local economy, with targets for increasing local housing stock, charitable contributions, training apprentices and generating green energy. Overall this is a holistic approach to managing heritage and provides an inspirational vision to carry this World Heritage Site into the next decade.


Porchester Castle, Hampshire

In 1796, 2000 black and mixed-race men, women and children arrived as prisoners of war at Portchester Castle. They were the garrison of Fort Charlotte on St Lucia and had been fighting against Britain in the French Revolutionary War. English Heritage's new creative installation opened in July 2017, telling their story with objects, models, panels and theatre and highlighting an important moment in Black British history - the struggle for emancipation in the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries. The judges wanted to recognise the exemplary scholarship that illuminated this underappreciated aspect of our history, and the Curator, Abigail Coppins, who did the research.



Hampton Court Palace

Newly-refurbished toilets at Hampton Court now reflect the history of this Tudor royal palace. Adopting a fun approach, the designers have given visitors a chance to keep learning about Henry and his wives during time spent in the loo. Specially designed graphics reveal Tudor beauty tips and silhouette you in costume in the mirror. Visitors have been commenting enthusiastically and have found something quite unique at the loos at Hampton Court.


The Charterhouse, London EC1

The Charterhouse today comprises both the surviving buildings of an important Carthusian priory, the Tudor mansion of the Howard family, an almshouse and the former premises of two public schools. The survival of so much of the medieval monastery, the Tudor great house and its continued life as a community is remarkable. This fascinating and important building is now open to visitors for the first time with a new visitor reception, shop, museum and guided tours. That it is metres from Smithfield Market in Central London but still not well enough known makes it a true hidden gem.


Bridge End Gardens

The Victorian garden at Bridge End Gardens are tucked into a corner of Saffron Walden in Essex. The planting adheres as closely as possible to Victorian principles and features Coade stone ornaments and statuary, a maze and a walled kitchen garden. The new Visitor Centre, designed as an Orangery, and the recently introduced bed of commercial saffron which demonstrates the town's role in the historic saffron industry, only add to its heritage appeal. The garden is free to visit and has proved a real asset to the local community.



Myres Castle

At Myres Castle, Henry and Amanda Barge aim to mix impeccable service and facilities with the relaxed feeling of staying with friends. The castle dates back to the 1530s with outstanding formal gardens and now offers 10 en-suite bedrooms with additional space in the gate lodge. Unique to this venue is the Barnquee, a specially designed hybrid between a barn and marquee, built in the gardens with local larch tree supports. It has a beautiful shingle porch providing seating for up to 160 guests, a rustic bar, wooden floor, amazing loos and the light filters through the canvas roof and the trees above.


Hedsor House, Hertfordshire

Brides have the exclusive use of the Georgian mansion and country estate at Hedsor. The spaces are adaptable, with choices from the Italianate Central Hall to the 12th century Chapel. The bridal suite claims to be one of the largest in Europe and comes complete with marble onyx bathroom. Appropriately the house came into the Shepherd family as a wedding gift in 1934 and couples booking at Hedsor today receive a personalised gift to mark their special date.