On Wednesday 7th June, Julia Twomlow (Creative Director and CEO) and myself (Charlotte Todd – Head of Collections and Engagements) headed to Watford to attend the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. The awards champion the very best of England’s tourism industry, celebrating quality, innovation, and best practices. After winning Gold at both the Cornwall and South-West competitions, PK Porthcurno had been shortlisted for the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year. There was a buzz of excitement as we arrived at the location for the ceremony, being held at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
After marvelling at the large model of a dragon in the main foyer hanging over our heads, the attendees all assembled at the doors to the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With glasses of bubbly and canapes in hand, we entered the set, home to the cast and crew of the Harry Potter films for over several years. Alongside the sets were original costumes and props, as well as interactives, including being able to fly on a broom. As fans of the Harry Potter books and films, it was a magical experience.
We were soon to arrive at Platform 9¾ where the award ceremony was to take place. Taking our seats at tables positioned next to the Hogwarts Express, we were treated to a main course and a selection of puddings, including one based on the Golden Snitch from the game Quidditch. We were also able to sample some Butter Beer, a rather unusual drink (and one I probably wouldn’t partake of on another occasion).
It was not long before the award ceremony began, and there was a sense of anticipation in the room as everyone sat up in their seats to await their turn on the stage. Just a few awards later and suddenly it was our turn. When PK Porthcurno was announced to have won the Bronze Award, we were delighted to be receiving our first VisitEngland Award. The silver went to Muncaster Castle, Gardens and Hawk & Owl Centre, whilst Gold was taken by Watatunga Wildlife Reserve in Norfolk.
Once all the awards were announced, the attendees were free to continue their tour of the Studios. We learnt more about the creation of the models and special effects and especially enjoyed the fire-breathing dragon in the destroyed set of Gringotts Bank. We last took a stroll through Diagon Alley and peered in the windows of Ollivander’s Wand Shop, before walking around the enormous model of Hogwarts.
The whole night was an amazing experience, and we returned to Cornwall the next day proudly carrying our Bronze Award.
Blog by: Charlotte Todd – Head of Collections and Engagements