Education awards for Attingham Park and Weston Park
Two of Shropshire's most popular visitor attractions have beaten off the opposition and scooped top awards.
But this isn’t for their glorious gardens, stunning properties or cafes and tearooms.
Instead, Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury, and Weston Park on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border have been praised for their educational programmes.
Both have been named among palaces, castles, cathedrals and museums that have won an award.
It is not the first time Weston Park has taken the award – it has previously won in 2002, 2007 and 2012.
Visitors to the 1,000-acre estate, which is the former home of the Earls of Bradford, are able to learn about the history of the property while following the National Curriculum.
Schoolchildren are shown around the estate by a Weston Park representative who tells them all they need to know about topics ranging from traditional toys, to the Second World WarWorld War Two and the role the house played as an RAF base, Red Cross station and army post as well as a cannery.
Attingham Park was also a worthy winner. The National Trust property runs a number of educational visits, including Wildlife at Attingham where children can choose from a variety of activities including pond dipping, bug hunting and deer park rides.
There is also the opportunity to learn about below stairs in the Regency period, the role Attingham played in the wars and see how Georgian life in the mansion compares with life today.
The awards will be presented by writer, historian and TV presenter Dr Lucy Worsley.
SheDr Worsley, who is also chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces and will present awards to the famous – including Blenheim Palace – and the less well known such as the Geevor Tin Mine in Cornwall.
The Sandford Awards, which will celebrate their 40th anniversary next year, are administered by Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln in partnership with the Heritage Education Trust. This year’s awards ceremony will take place on November 21 at the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms in Bath.
“It is wonderful to see another hugely varied range of Sandford Award winners this year, many of which have never entered the scheme before,” said Dr Tracy Borman, chief executive of the Heritage Education Trust.
“We are particularly delighted to be presenting the awards at the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms in Bath, a city so closely associated with Jane Austen, whose 200th anniversary is being commemorated this year.”
Other winners include the British Motor Museum at Gaydon in Warwickshire, Cardiff Castle, Coventry Cathedral, Jane Austen’s House Museum in Hampshire, Leeds City Museum, the National Football Museum in Manchester city centre, Warner Bros Studio Tour London and York’s Chocolate Story.