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colour photo showing the front of an iron steamshipSs Great Britain is already Gulbenkian Museum of the Year 2006 now it is a 'Large Visitor Attraction of the Year' for 2007. © ss Great Britain

Two of Britain’s Museums and a stately home have scooped awards for ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’ at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2007.

Organised by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, the annual ‘Tourism Oscars’ ceremony took place on April 18 2007 to recognise the best of England's tourism at Banqueting House in London. They were hosted by broadcaster and writer Sandi Toksvig.

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, (where the Harry Potter films were set) and Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol were joint winners of the gold award with Imperial War Museum North picking up a silver award.

a photograph of stately home taken from across a lakeAlnwick, not only the setting for Harry Potter films but also a top visitor attraction.

England Marketing Advisory Board (EMAB) Chairman Hugh Taylor said: "All of the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence recognise the quality and diversity of our nation's tourism product, from its wonderful hotels and caravan parks to its unique visitor attractions and inspirational information services.”

“Congratulations to every winner for their amazing personal achievement and for their contribution in encouraging people to holiday in England."

The three large museum venues had already fought off stiff competition against attractions such as the National Portrait Gallery, Cadbury World and Ascot Racecourse, to make the final shortlist.

Flying the flag for small museums was the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum in Norfolk, which won a small visitor attraction of the Year Award.

Imperial War Museum North is now a silver 'Tourism-Oscar' winner. © IWMN

Silver awards in this category went to National Trust property Mr Straw’s House – a preserved semi-detached house in Worksop, The Fan Museum in Greenwich and Ripley Castle near Harrogate North Yorkshire.

a photgraph of alarge modern building with an anvil like shape next to a stretch of waterThe finalists were selected by a board of tourism industry judges including Nick Cust, Board Member of the England Marketing Advisory Board, and travel journalist Alison Rice.

Several categories are considered – from B&Bs to tourist information centres and museums again featured in the Outstanding Customer Service Award section, which was won by Graham Worton, keeper of geology at the Dudley Museum & Art Gallery. Further silver awards in this section went to staff at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven, Cumbria.

Timed to coincide with St George’s Day, the Awards are designed to celebrate the people behind the cream of English tourism – B&B owners, hoteliers, self-catering properties, visitor attractions, caravan parks, business venues, Tourist Information Centres and other tourism businesses that are the very best in England.

The largely volunteer-run Radar Museum at Neatishead features a recreation of a wartime operations room. © RAF Air Defence Radar Museum

The national award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism was won by Sir Paul McCartney and the City of Liverpool. The former Beatle and regenerated northern city were recognised for the overall award, as the city has seen visitor numbers more than double in the last five years and the Beatles remain a huge draw for many visitors.

Sir Paul McCartney commented: “I’m honoured to receive this award, particularly because of the Liverpool connection. It’s great to think that in some small way I’ve done something to help tourism for the place of my birth, which I’m so proud of.”

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