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WMTA 2023 winner for Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award

June 26, 2024
Author: St Mary's Guildhall

A historic Coventry venue has been nominated for a top access and inclusion accolade for its work improving accessibility to heritage.

St Mary’s Guildhall, operated by No Ordinary Hospitality, has been named as a finalist in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category at the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2024. 

The nomination follows the 14th century venue’s £6m restoration programme which levelled the courtyard floor, installed new lifts and a hearing loop throughout the building and improved access throughout.

The nomination for the Guildhall, also recognises its work improving visitors’ access to the building’s history through their community and education programmes. The venue picked up the gold prize in the same category at least year’s awards.

As part of the National Lottery funded community engagement programme, the historic attraction offers a range of talks exhibitions and workshops designed to keep the Guildhall at the heart of the community.  Through this programme the Guildhall hosts a monthly Queer writing group and has delivered co-curated exhibitions for South Asian Heritage and the ‘Saluting Our Sisters’ event celebrating Black History month.

The historic venue also offers family focused and sensory friendly experiences for visitors including quiet days, relaxed seasonal events, accessible guided tours and 360-degree photo tours for inaccessible areas.

The West Midlands Tourism Awards celebrate the best venues and organisations in the region’s tourism industry, with fellow No Ordinary Hospitality venue Coombe Abbey Hotel also nominated in the Large Hotel category at the prestigious award ceremony.

Niamh Carlton, Community Engagement Manager at St Mary’s Guildhall said “We are thrilled to be nominated again in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category at the West Midlands Tourism Awards and are excited to showcase the Guildhall alongside some fantastic organisations from across the region.

Accessibility and inclusion are the cornerstones of our venue and we are delighted to be recognised for our work making the history of St Mary’s Guildhall accessible to people of all backgrounds.”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change said, “This award nomination is richly deserved and really shows what a transformation there has been at St Mary’s Guildhall, one of the finest in the country and a real Coventry gem.

“We wanted to open it up for everyone to enjoy – for local people to be proud of and for visitors of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy and that really is what has happened and more.  The improvements have really added to the accessibility and gone to show what is possible when we combine the best of the old and the best of the new.”

The recent major package of restoration and refurbishment at St Mary’s Guildhall has been made possible through the Cultural Capital Investment Fund resourced by Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, and the Government’s Getting Britain Building Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

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Please note: the Guildhall will be closed on 17th July, for a private event. The Tales of Tea restaurant will remain open during this time. Please note on Saturday 13th July we are having a Wedding Open Day and on 18th July we are holding a Corporate Open Day. During these days we are not open for guided tours or the standard visitor entry. Follow the learn more tab to register to attend the Wedding Open Day. On 3rd August the Guildhall & the Tales of Tea restaurant will be closed for a private event.
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