Visitor services officer Jane Metcalfe said: "We are delighted that VAQAS
has fed back such a glowing report of our visitor experience, and this is an official endorsement of our high standards.
And the popular visitor attraction, Preston Hall museum, achieved the nationally recognised VAQAS
accreditation, awarded by Visit Britain to attractions which meet national standards.
Mersey travel boss Neil Scales said: "To receive VAQAS
for our tours, which is an award from a customer perspective, is a real achievement and the team should be very proud.
VAQAS is a national initiative developed and promoted by the English Tourism Council.
Tricia Woods, of One NorthEast tourism team, said: "We felt the Dorman Museum was an appropriate choice to host the VAQAS workshop as it is an excellent example of a tourist attraction that has capitalised on its strong points and gone on to improve its offering to the public.
Charlie Bagot Jewitt, the arboretum's general manager, said: "We already know this is a special place, but to have it endorsed by the VAQAS
organisation is a real bonus.
After a series of blind tests and secret visits the site was awarded the VAQAS
(Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service) quality standard.
Christopher Howard, quality assurance manager for VAQAS
, said: ``We don't grade attractions,but assess each on its own merits.