A former prison which was converted into a museum has achieved its Five Star Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance (QA) award from VisitScotland.
The former Victorian HMP Peterhead operated as a prison in the town from 1888 to 2013. In June 2016 it opened its doors as a prison museum, allowing members of the public to step back in time and access the six-acre site for the first time, including the cells, laundry, shower block, hospital areas, court room, punishment block, exercise yard, halls and corridors.
The museum highlights the work of the brave personnel that served at Peterhead and visitors get the chance to see what real prison life was like whilst hearing the officers speaking of their experiences as part of the audio tour. Part of the prison’s history saw the only time the SAS (Special Air Service) were used to end a domestic siege in mainland Britain.
Peterhead Prison Museum’s Refuge Cafe also achieved a Taste Our Best award – a joint initiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government, which aims to encourage eateries to deliver the very best Scottish food and drink experience and promote the local provenance of the ingredients and dishes they serve.
Its menu includes Cambus O’May cheese, ‘Jail Pie’ made by the local home bakery and tray bakes from local bakers and Cobbs of Drumnadrochit.
Alex Geddes, operations manager at Peterhead Prison Museum, said: ‘I am delighted on behalf of the Peterhead Prison Museum to receive our Five Star accreditation and to achieve this after our recent Quality Assurance visit is both exciting and very humbling.
‘We are very proud to be part of VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, as Scotland’s tourism standards are world-renowned and we will now focus all our energies on providing exceptional service throughout our museum, so visitors leave with lasting memories of a warm Scottish welcome.
‘For our café to be awarded a ‘Taste Our Best’ award at the same time is also a great achievement, as our café is committed to using both local produce and produce from across Scotland where possible and this commitment will ensure quality food and drink from field to fork.
‘The museum has still a lot to learn and achieve in the years ahead, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance team for all their advice and support over the years and I look forward to working closely with them in the future as we continue to strive to give guests that exceptional level of service for which Scotland is renowned.’
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: ‘The addition of a Five Star Quality Assurance award at Peterhead Prison Museum only adds to its strengths as one of our most popular visitor attractions in the region.
‘I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Alex and his team on this outstanding achievement. This Five Star grading is a true testament to the hard work and commitment of every staff member and volunteers and is a glowing example of the quality of experiences on offer in the north-east of Scotland.
‘Where else can you experience life behind bars – from the cells to the kitchens – and be allowed to walk free again afterwards?
‘Provision of innovative and unique experiences for visitors to enjoy is essential to keep up with their ever-changing demands. Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.’
Developed over the last four decades in partnership with the tourism industry and informed by visitor research, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance schemes are world-leading. QA stars alongside online reviews give visitors a balance of objective and subjective views to assist in their decision making and expectations.
To learn more about VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance and other schemes visit: www.visitscotland.org
For more information about Peterhead Prison Museum, visit www.peterheadprisonmuseum.com