Top of main content

Walthamstow Wetlands wins top tourism award

Thursday 21st November 2019 12:00

A family at Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands, which has attracted 700,000 visitors since opening two years ago, has been named the ‘Best UK and Ireland Tourism Project’ by the British Guild of Travel Writers.

The Thames Water site in the Lea Valley was nominated for the award by travel journalist Liz Gill, and was up against some strong competition including the V&A Dundee.

The guild has around 300 members including journalists, bloggers, photographers, editors and broadcasters. The awards allow members to nominate projects they’ve seen on their travels.

Nominating Walthamstow, and highlighting what makes it great, Liz said: “The extraordinary appeal of Walthamstow Wetlands is not just what it is, a 211-hectare nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, but where it is, just 15 minutes from the centre of London and alongside some of its most deprived areas.

“Until this £10.5m project opened in October 2017, its ten reservoirs and surroundings were only open to licensed angers and ornithologists. Today it is open to all at no cost. There have been more than half a million visitors so far and 11,000 schoolchildren taking part in its educational programmes with 120 volunteers helping out with everything from guided tours to conservation, from running the gift shop to assisting in workshops.

“One more amazing aspect is that the wetlands still provides drinking water for a third of the capital, as it has done for 150 years.”

The wetlands has attracted 700,000 visitors since it opened in October 2017.

Thames Water’s nature reserves manager Kirsty Halford said: “To win a top tourism award from some of the country’s most influential travel writers just reinforces what we already knew – that Walthamstow Wetlands really is a very special place.

“The site not only serves a practical purpose, supplying water to millions of Londoners, it is also an urban oasis, providing them with the chance to get fit, breathe fresh air and enjoy nature right on their doorstep. Not only that, dozens of species of animals and plants also call it home.”