Cultural hotspots receive prestigious award

Portland Basin Museum and the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery have picked up yet another accolade.

Both have retained VisitEngland’s Quality Assured Visitor Attraction status with their highest-ever ratings.

Portland Basin (pictured) scored 80 per cent and the Astley Cheetham received 73 per cent.

Annual inspections are carried out by a mystery shopper who assesses sites on a variety of criteria including welcome, retail, cleanliness, staff and the displays.

This year’s visits took place in October and the mystery shopper reported: “Overall, Portland Basin Museum, Ashton, is a very good attraction which has shown consistent improvement.”

The Astley Cheetham Gallery in Stalybridge (pictured below) was described as a hidden gem with its strengths being the quality of art in the exhibitions and the excellent customer care provided by staff.

Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s lead for culture, said: “I am delighted but in no way surprised that VisitEngland’s mystery shopper was so impressed by the two sites.

“The Astley Cheetham Gallery truly is a hidden gem. It gives the people of Tameside a rare chance to see inspiring and powerful high-quality art outside a major city. As far as Portland Basin is concerned, the fact it is one of Greater Manchester’s most popular tourist attractions speaks for itself.

“Much of this success is due to our hard-working staff and I would like to thank them for their commitment and dedication.”

VisitEngland is the national tourist board for England. Its accreditation lets visitors know at a glance that a business has been independently verified and meets a high standard of quality.

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