Blenheim Palace wins Great China Welcome Award

Awards, Celebration, News, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

Blenheim Palace has won national recognition for its positive approach to welcoming visitors from China.

Blenheim_PalaceThe Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site was presented with the GREAT China Welcome award at VisitEngland’s prestigious Awards for Excellence event held at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel in London on Monday.

The GREAT China welcome programme aims to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly-growing Chinese market.

Blenheim Palace’s Operations Director, Heather Carter said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. Blenheim Palace is a living, changing experience with a wealth of events, themed tours and exhibitions throughout the year, and welcomes millions of visitors both from the UK and overseas. We were the first stately home to sign up for the GREAT China Charter and we are committed to developing our Chinese market.

“Blenheim is continually looking at innovative ways to improve and adapt the visitor experience to appeal to Chinese tourists and to underline the fact we are ‘China ready’,” she added.

Among the initiatives currently in place are Chinese guide books and guides, an audio guide and map on their website, a Mandarin speaking waitress in the Orangery and a menu in Mandarin. All staff also have the opportunity to enrol in Mandarin Chinese language classes free of charge.The team are about to produce audio recordings of some of the Palace and Gardens tours in a variety of languages; including Chinese.

Blenheim Palace was also among the first major UK heritage visitor attractions to accept UnionPay, the most widely used bank debit card throughout China and South East Asia.In addition to its on-site initiatives.  Blenheim Palace works with a number of Chinese travel groups, tour operators and trade missions in China.

At the centre of the programme is the GREAT China Welcome Charter which helps Chinese visitors to easily identify hotels, attractions, retailers and tour operators that are making themselves ‘China-ready’ by providing information in Mandarin or Cantonese and adapting their products for the Chinese market and culture.

Built in the early 18th century to celebrate Britain’s victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession, Blenheim Palace is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Waters and Wonder at City of Bath World Heritage Day!

30th Anniversary, Arts, Bath 2017, Celebration, Events, News, Performance, Uncategorized, UNESCO, world heritage day, World Heritage Sites

Drawing the windows on Pulteney BridgeBath’s annual celebration of International World Heritage Day took place on Sunday 23 April in the sunshine at a beautifully blooming Parade Gardens.

The ‘Waters of Bath’ was the theme for the day and free activities exploring the history and use of Bath’s hot springs, canal network and River Avon were enjoyed by over 1400 visitors of all ages.

View of standsThe gardens came alive with the sound of music courtesy of Bath Spa Band and Bath City Jubilee Waits, who also accompanied the Widcombe Mummers in their colourful ‘St George and the Dragon’ play to mark St George’s Day.

Special guided walks are an ever popular feature of the annual event.  Various routes and subjects were covered, from the history and features of Parade Gardens to waterside tours.  These were led by the Mayor’s Honorary Guides, Cleveland Pools Trust and the National Trust.

This year, for the first time, World Heritage Day featured a programme of mini talks.  These focused on the history of Bath’s waters as well as updates from projects and initiatives across the World Heritage City including Bath Abbey Footprint, the Bathscape landscape partnership, Bath Medical Museum and the restoration of Cleveland Pools.

A record-breaking number of heritage displays and activity stands were present on the day offering opportunities to find out more about local canals, river safety, Bath’s best green views, Lottery-funded projects and heritage initiatives.  Location knowledge was tested with the ‘Great Spas of Europe’ picture quiz and flags were added to a giant world map to show the far-flung World Heritage Sites people had visited.  Visitors were treated to the Bath Record Office Roadshow and the chance to see real objects associated with the spa from the Roman Baths collection.  They even got to meet Paralympic champion swimmer Stephanie Millward and try on her medals at the Cleveland Pools stall!  It was wonderful to bring together so many (27!) of the City’s key heritage organisations, who enjoyed catching up with each other as well as enthusing visitors.

World Heritage Sites world mapsThere were lots of family-friendly activities to keep younger visitors entertained including craft activities, World Heritage dominoes, historic maps, colouring competitions and a bookmark stamp trail.  Special mention must be made of the amazing Pulteney Bridge model-building activities offered by Bath Preservation Trust. Robert Adam, the original Georgian architect, was wandering round the site all day and was most impressed with the efforts of budding designers and engineers.  He also posed for many selfies with his physician in tow in front of his world-famous bridge.

Robert Adam and his PhysicianAll in all the day was a great way to kick off the 30th anniversary celebrations of Bath becoming a World Heritage Site.  Watch this space for a series of special talks in the Autumn as we continue to celebrate this milestone.

Planning Inspector supports WHS setting

Bath 2017, Conservation, Management Plan, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, Workshop, World Heritage Sites

BATH SKYLINE FROM ZION HILLThe green setting of Bath is a key attribute of Outstanding Universal Value

Following the World Heritage UK Technical Seminar on planning and World Heritage on 8th March, you may be interested in this recent (18 April 2017) appeal decision from Bath. In dismissing the appeal for 20 dwellings within the WHS, the inspector was convinced by the Council’s policy documents including the WHS Management Plan and the need to protect open hillsides as part of the OUV. We know from discussion in the technical seminar that comparable examples from different sites are considered useful and this example also provides some validation of Bath’s ‘Setting Study’ approach, another hot topic!  The decision can be found here. Please feel free to contact tony_crouch@bathnes.gov.uk for any further detail. 

‘Running the Business of World Heritage’ – WHUK Networking & General Meeting 4th and 5th July 2017

Business, Events, Exhibition, Network meetings, New Lanark networking meeting 2017, News, training, Uncategorized, UNESCO, Workshop, World Heritage Sites

punlm211008001_o1 CropFollowing on from the success of last year’s World Heritage UK Networking Meeting at the Giant’s Causeway WHS, this year we move to Scotland and the unique and successful New Lanark WHS where we plan to share our experiences on ‘running the business of World Heritage’. So, a commercial theme this year and this is appropriate as the operation at New Lanark is an exemplar. There will be opportunities to learn from each other as we hear from world heritage colleagues on their experiences of business plans and strategies, innovative enterprises and products, hospitality and customer satisfaction and the interpretation of the offer that each World Heritage Site provides to sustain it as a viable and sustainable business. The event will also include a World Heritage UK General Meeting to meet the governance requirements of the charity.

The meeting will take place in the Bonnington Linn Conference Room at the New Lanark Mill Hotel on the 4th and 5th July where a limited amount of accommodation has been reserved for delegates. Booking is urgently required to secure any of the following: 5 bedrooms reserved in the New Lanark Mill Hotel (these are Bed and Breakfast) @£89.00 per night based on two sharing or @£65.00 per night for single occupancy.

17 bedrooms in the Wee Row Hostel (bedroom only but breakfast available separately) @£55.00 based on 2 sharing or £40.00 for single occupancy.

Delegates wishing to book this accommodation MUST either phone 01555 667200 or e-mail hotel @newlanark.org and reference ‘Masters allocation’ for their booking to be made at these rates. Bookings cannot be made online. See http://www.newlanarkhotel.co.uk/ or call 01555 667200 for more details.

The Eventbrite webpage for registration to this event is ready for your sign up HERE

The draft programme is in preparation but so far includes:

  • speakers and presentations from the UK’s World Heritage Sites
  • the World Heritage UK General Meeting
  • an evening reception with New Lanark WHS staff and Partnership Board, with a presentation by the New Lanark Chief Executive on access and new development
  • a 3-course networking dinner (optional) @£23.95
  • 5 specialised tours of the WHS – on architecture, power, textiles, social history and the general story of New Lanark
World Heritage Day

World Heritage Day 2017 showcases the UK’s ’Wonders of the World’ in a global day of celebration

News

Press release April 11th 2017: World Heritage Day 2017 showcases the UK’s ’Wonders of the World’ in a global day of celebration

World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind and protecting and preserving these amazing places demands the collective efforts of all of us.  World Heritage Day, on the 18th of April, offers an opportunity to raise people’s awareness about the diversity of cultural and natural heritage we have in the UK and across the world, and the efforts that are required to look after it. Put simply, it is an opportunity to shout about how fantastic our World Heritage is, and you can find out more at https://worldheritageuk.org/whday17/

April 18th is an ‘official’ international celebration day first proposed by ICOMOS, the International Council for Monuments and Sites and then approved by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (the part of the UN that manages World Heritage) – in 1983. Each year has a theme, and this year’s theme is sustainable tourism, but many Sites simply choose to use the day to raise awareness.

A number of UK World Heritage Sites are celebrating the day this year with a programme of events, including the City of Bath, Durham Cathedral, Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, Ironbridge Gorge, Saltaire, Maritime Greenwich, and all of the six Scottish World Heritage Sites. Activities include diverting rivers, creating St Kilda in Minecraft, guided walks, illuminations, craft activities, ceramics workshops, games, short talks and even yarnbombing!

World Heritage UK, the national charity that represents the UK’s 30 World Heritage Sites is collating this information on its website at https://worldheritageuk.org/whday17/ so make this your first point of call for your guide to the day. We are also preparing a Twitter Thunderclap and will have a Twitter World Heritage hour in the afternoon on the 18th, so keep watching the hashtag #WHDay2017 and sign up to our twitter feed at @worldheritageuk to see what happens!

Dr Sam Rose, Chair of World Heritage UK, says “We have 30 outstanding UK World Heritage Sites, 25 of which are on the mainland of our four home nations, ranging from the spectacular Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales, through to the Palace of Westminster and the Neolithic Sites of Orkney. Even if your local World Heritage Site doesn’t have an event on the 18th April, please pay it a visit and be amazed.” The full list of UK World Heritage Sites can be seen at https://worldheritageuk.org/about/ourworldheritagesites/

World Heritage Day Thunderclap update: if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, we still need your help!

News

It’s World Heritage Day next week (!) and to spread the word we have set up a thunderclap – a social media event which shares the same message across numerous Twitter, Facebook and Tumbler accounts simultaneously. It makes it far more likely that the hashtag will trend, directing traffic to all of the accounts posting World Heritage Day related information. The message we are using is ‘Today is

World Heritage Day! Join us in celebrating the UK’s 30 World Heritage Sites using #WHDay2017“.

Thank you so much to everyone who has signed up so far – we’re nearly there and the total reach is over 538,000, which is amazing!! but we still need some more supporters to make it happen (we need a minimum of 100 for it to start). If you haven’t yet signed up you can do so using this link: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/54955-world-heritage-day-2017. If you have done already we would still love it if you can continue to spread the word to your team’s/volunteers/communities. Remember that you can sign up on more than one platform – so if you have already supported with twitter you can also support with Facebook and Tumbler. They all count!

 

Many thanks

Coralie – World Heritage UK Official Twitterer…