Hidden Gem

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Hidden Gem award for 2020-21 as part of Visit England’s ‘Visitor Attraction Accolades’, following a visit earlier this year. It is our first Hidden Gem award since 2016. Our staff and volunteers have been working hard to create a welcoming atmosphere and unique experience over the last two years, in spite of the impact of the pandemic and it is wonderful to have gained a lasting recognition of that achievement.

Hidden Gem
Our General Manager, Bridget Guest says:

“It’s so lovely to have won the Hidden Gem accolade this year. We first won this award in the inaugural Visitor Attraction Accolades in 2014 and subsequently in 2016.

To have been chosen again really shows how our whole team of staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to craft the best possible visitor experience.”

Introduced by Visit England in 2014, the Visitor Attraction Accolades are available to members of the Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme who represent a wide range of tourism experiences across England, from museums and galleries, farm attractions, historic houses and gardens to churches, cathedrals and country parks. They are supported by a network of highly trained and experienced assessors who advise on improving and promoting the quality, accessibility and sustainability of their offer.

This year, 76 attractions are being recognised as a result of the exceptional experiences they provide visitors from Welcome Accolade, Hidden Gem, Best Told Story, Quality Food and Drink and the Gold Accolade for all-round top-scoring attractions.

The Hidden Gem award recognises attractions across the UK which offer innovative, interesting or unique tourist experiences. This year, the Quaker Tapestry Museum is one of only eleven attractions to be given the Hidden Gem award nationwide and the only one in the North West region.

Hidden Gem
Quaker Tapestry Visitors
The four Cumbrian attractions honoured in this year’s awards are:

• Muncaster Castle, Gardens & Owl Centre, Ravenglass – Best Told Story

• Quaker Tapestry Museum, Kendal – Hidden Gem

• The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven – Best Told Story

• The Lakes Distillery, Cockermouth – Gold

Of the year’s awards, VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said:

“I’m so pleased to see our visitor attractions back in the spotlight with these Accolades that recognise the amazing experiences available across the country. They also acknowledge the people who bring the attractions to life through their unparalleled customer service. They are the ones who make an attraction the most ‘welcoming’ and give life to the ‘Best Told Story’ whilst the quality of the attractions themselves are rewarded with ‘Quality Food and Drink’ and ‘Hidden Gem’ and of course ‘Gold’ for best all-rounders.

“Now more than ever we need these attractions to encourage and remind us to get out and explore the amazing tourism on offer across England, driving recovery and economic benefits through the regions.”

You can find a a full list of all 76 winners on the Visit England website.

Further Information

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out some of our other blog posts:

Find out about the history of the innocent trades

Discover the fascinating story of the pioneering scientist John Dalton

Learn about how Stramongate School helped the First World War effort through gardening and land work

Supporting the Quaker Tapestry

We hope you have enjoyed reading our ‘Hidden Gem’ blog and gained an insight into the work that goes into making our visitor experience so special.

We couldn’t accept and care for our tapestries and other wonderful artefacts without our dedicated Care and Conservation team. However we need your help to…

– Create an improved database of the extensive Quaker Tapestry collection of supplementary items

– Develop a new display for the hallway

– Develop best practice of the Care and Conservation volunteers through further training

Your donation will help us achieve our goals and ensure the longevity of the exhibition and collection. Please consider making a donation

Alternatively, if you are interested in purchasing a gift why don’t you check out our online shop?

Quaker Tapestry Facts

The colourful tapestry panels measure 63.5cm x 53.3cm and are made using a mix of five ancient stiches and a new one, invented for the project. Embroiderers around the world now use the ‘Quaker Stitch’.

World traveller and writer Alexander McCall Smith, says they’re one of the ‘six best tapestries’ to see in the world.

The panels help you find out about famous scientists, engineers, bankers, botanists and non-conformists who pioneered industrial welfare, fair trade, prison reform, peace work and anti-slavery initiatives. Many were Cumbrians.

Begun in 1981 and completed in 1996, they’re the work of 4,000 men, women and children from around the world. Some of the panels made journeys of thousands of miles as they passed from one group of people to another.

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“We aim to secure sufficient funds to enable future generations to experience the inspiration and pleasure that the Tapestry has given to so many people.”

Bridget Guest, General Manager