Blenheim Palace has been shortlisted for the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence.
The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site is a finalist in the Access and Inclusive Tourism Award. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on the 25 April.
The Award recognises tourism businesses providing truly memorable visitor experiences for everyone, particularly those with accessibility requirements, and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business.
In recent years, Blenheim has introduced a series of initiatives designed to make its visitor experience more accessible.
Examples include the creation of new touch tours for the visually impaired, sensory maps, accessible pathways and the introduction of ‘Access Champions’ who work in visitor facing roles on site to promote accessibility and inclusiveness.
A new Access Desk has also been introduced in the Palace’s main Visitor Centre where trained staff provide help and advice.
During lockdown ticket sales moved entirely online. Blenheim’s Digital Team recognised the importance of creating a user-friendly interface for all visitors and built a website which achieved a 100% score on Google Lighthouse, which audits performance and accessibility.
“We are very pleased to have been shortlisted for this award as accessibility and inclusivity is something we take extremely seriously across the business,” said Blenheim’s Head of Operations Emily Spencer.
“As a team we still have a lot to learn and there are many areas where we can improve but it is inspiring to see our efforts have been recognised by a panel of tourism experts,” she added.
Judging is carried out by an independent panel of past winners, industry leaders and experts in their field, selected for their impartiality, experience and suitability for each category.
Overall winners will then be entered into the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which takes place in June.