Friday, February 3, 2017 - 14:00

The Eden Project won a gold award in the Access and Inclusivity category at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards last night (Thursday).

The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony held at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol by ITV news anchor Kylie Pentelow.

Eden runs a number of accessibility schemes for visitors including accessible parking spaces and toilets, free entry for personal assistants, manual and powered wheelchairs available for free and information provided in large print, Braille and audio formats.

During the Eden Sessions summer concerts there is also a relaxed viewing area where people with additional needs can watch in a less crowded area away from the arena.

In November, Eden won the Access and Inclusivity in the Cornwall Tourism Awards.

Gordon Seabright, Eden’s Managing Director, said: “Accessibility and ensuring that everyone can enjoy a day out at Eden is one of our founding principles. We are incredibly proud to receive this award, especially given the excellent standard of other tourist attractions in the South West.

“We would like to thank the judges and congratulate everyone else who was honoured on the night.”

Mylor Sailing School was also given a gold award in the category, while Kernock Cottages in Saltash and the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton in Devon were given silver and At-Bristol Science Centre and Moors Valley Country Park and Forest in east Dorset won bronze.

The organisers say the event was the biggest-ever regional gathering of South West tourism businesses, with 135 different awards presented following a rigorous judging process in which a record 605 entries were considered.

All entrants in the South West underwent a short-listing process with 380 being visited by a team of 36 mystery shoppers. Entry was free, and all entrants received feedback on how they had done, giving them useful tips for future success.

Alison Rice, Chair of Judges, said: “Yet again the South West leads the way in tourism excellence. Whatever 2017 throws at this very special region of Britain, tonight’s award winners will excel at what they do best - offering all comers the best possible visitor experiences.”