Norton Priory has scooped the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year accolade at this year's Marketing Cheshire Annual Tourism Awards.
The museum underwent an extensive HLF funded redevelopment last year. This included the addition of a new gallery space, built above the museum's medieval undercroft, the creation of a new glazed link build, as well as the creation of improved and extended cafe, education and offices spaces.
Since reopening last August, the museum has welcomed around 60,000 visitors, almost double that than in the year prior to the redevelopment. Overall satisfaction among those visiting the site is also at a high, with 88%, and 85% of visitors describing themselves as ‘very likely’ to recommend a visit to friends and family.
Over the past year, museum partner, Halton Borough Council, has also drawn on Norton priory as a cultural symbol for the area, highlighting it to investors as an example of the area’s heritage and to change people’s perspectives of Runcorn; using the new development as an opportunity to influence economic policy for the wider Merseyside region.
Also of benefit has been the influx of day-trippers. In its first year, more than 60% of visitors to the new museum have travelled from outside the region with associated benefit to the Halton region.
The awards, attended by nearly 300 tourism representatives, celebrate excellence and outstanding achievement by local businesses and individuals representing the variety of businesses that contribute to Cheshire’s visitor economy, which was worth £3.3 billion and employed over 42,000 people in 2016.
Some of the winners will now go on to represent Cheshire at the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2018.