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Stowmarket/Mersea Island: Museum of East Anglian Life and Waldegraves & Cosways Holiday Parks in VisitEngland awards finals

11:49 08 May 2014

Abbot's Hall, at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

Abbot's Hall, at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.


A Suffolk museum and a holiday parks business in north Essex are among the finalists in the 2014 VisitEngland tourism awards which are due to be announced next week.

The Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket is one of five nominations for the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year award, which is open to attractions receiving fewer than 50,000 visitors a year.

And Waldegraves & Cosways Family Holiday Parks, on Mersea Island, is among the finalists in the Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year category.

The Museum of East Anglian Life is the only visitor attraction from East Anglia to make the line-up of finalists for this year’s awards, the winners of which are to be revealed at a ceremony at Cheltenham Racecourse on Monday, May 12.

Also in contention for the Small Visitor Attraction award are the Chiltern Open Air Museum at Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, the Galleries of Justice Museum in Nottingham, the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey, Somerset, and the Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre in Faversham, Kent.

Other entrants in the category ranged from castles to theme parks, with the judging process focusing on the overall quality of the experience visitors receive.

The Museum of East Anglian Life shone in customer service, the accessibility of its large open air site, innovative interpretation and marketing with its interactive “Rambling On” app. Achievements mentioned by the judges also included the improvement and development of Abbot’s Hall and Crowe Street Cottages, which opened in 2012.

Waldegraves & Cosways, which is nominated for the Holiday Park/Village category alongside two rivals from Northumberland and others from Cornwall and Hampshire, involves a twin holiday park complex overlooking the Blackwater estuary.

Waldegraves, which has pitches for tents, touring carvans and motorhomes as well as caravan holiday homes for hire and while, offers a range of activities and family entertainment, to which guests at five-start rated Cosways also have access. Both parks also have access to a private beach, with boat-launching facilities, as well as on-site shops

James Berresford, chief Executive of VisitEngland, said: “I would like to congratulate all those nominated as finalists for this year’s VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

“We receive hundreds of applications each year of an extremely high standard, so it is a tremendous achievement for them to become a finalist and to represent the top five in their category in England. I wish all the finalists the very best of luck for the awards ceremony”.

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