Durlston named as finalist in national tourism awards

The national tourism agency, Visit England has announced that Durlston Country Park has made it through as a finalist to its national awards for excellence.

The country park is now in the final three in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category. The other two tourist attractions that it’s up against are the Birmingham Hippodrome and the Mylor Sailing and Powerboat School in Cornwall.

Inside the shed at Durlston Country Park
Durlston Country Park

The Shed Project provides a place for everyone to come and chat

Heavily invested in making the grounds more accessible and inclusive

Durlston Country Park has heavily invested in making the grounds more accessible and inclusive following the Heritage Lottery Grant that it was awarded, allowing it to build the Shed Project, which is a welcoming space for everyone to have a chat, explore new skills and make friends.

It has also dramatically improved the paths through the woods, making them easier to walk along or to use a wheelchair buggy, as well as improving the interpretation of the area with new signs.

During lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the grounds stayed open throughout the time, providing local residents with a welcome escape from their homes, allowing them to exercise and helping them to stay healthy.

New paths at Durlston Country park
Durlston Country park

Before and after – the paths have been widened and improved

“Wow! We are in the final three!”

Posting on social media, Durlston Country Park said:

“Wow! We are in the final three of the Visit England Awards for Excellence in the ‘Accessible and Inclusive Tourism’ category! Thanks to our amazing staff, volunteers and partner organisations, who work so hard to make sure everyone can enjoy and contribute to this amazing place!”

This follows on from winning gold in the Dorset Tourism Awards 2019 and winning bronze in the South West England Tourism Excellence Award for 2020.

All finalists will be invited to attend an online virtual event on Monday 17th August 2020, when the winners will be announced.

A digger improves a path at Durlston country park
Durlston country park

Work in progress as the path is made wider and more even

“Fantastic to see such an outstanding list of finalists”

Visit England Chief Executive, Sally Balcombe said:

“These awards celebrate businesses and individuals in tourism across England who have exceeded expectations and delivered excellence during the last 18 months and it is fantastic to see such an outstanding list of finalists.

“The impressive list reflects the sheer scale of innovation, quality and experiences across our tourism landscape and I congratulate all the finalists and wish them the very best of luck.

“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely opportunity to acknowledge the determination and dedication of tourism businesses across the country who have worked extremely hard to reopen and welcome visitors back safely.”

There are two other Dorset finalists in different categories. The Three Horseshoes Pub and Kitchen in Burton Bradstock is in the final three in the category, Pub of the Year and Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester is a finalist in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category.

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