VisitEngland announced that Chawton House has won a ‘Hidden Gem’ award, part of their 2018 Attractions Accolades, which recognises the quality of visitor experiences across England. Following their annual assessment by VisitEngland in September, Chawton House was nominated for the ‘Hidden Gem’ accolade, based on their exceptionally high score of 84%. This was an increase from 81% given in 2017, with an inaugural score of 71% in 2016.
Of the awards, VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes says:
“England is home to world-class attractions right across the country, welcoming visitors throughout the year and offering experiences of the highest quality including excellent food and drink and outstanding customer service. It is also really fantastic to see these accolades recognising the work of those employees, managers and owners who make sure that all who pass through their doors have a truly memorable experience.”
The recognition is all the more gratifying, given Chawton House has only been part of the VisitEngland Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme assessment since 2016.
Louise Ansdell, Chair of the Chawton House Board, writes: “The award is a testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff and volunteers who make Chawton House a place that people want to visit, and to come back to. From praise for the exhibition, to the shop, to the tearoom, and the grounds – we have a great deal to be proud of.”
2019 marks the fifth year Chawton House has been open to the public, and there are several new highlights to enjoy when it reopens in March. This includes a Jane Austen walking trail through the grounds of Chawton House, as well as opening up two previously closed rooms to the public. The Old Kitchen Tearoom has been renovated, facilitated by two generous donations from the EHDC Councilor Tony Costigan and the Hampshire County Councillor Mark Kemp-Gee.