WHITCHURCH Silk Mill has earned national recognition as a Quality Assured Visitor Attraction by VisitEngland.

The 200-year-old mill is Britain’s oldest to still use the original building for weaving, and receives more than 10,000 visitors a year.

This recognition puts the mill on a par with the likes of The Bodleian Library, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and Stonehenge when it comes to how it welcomes its visitors.

The Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) is managed by VisitEngland and, through its network of regional assessors, boasts a formidable reputation for instigating, modifying and shaping change to the customer experience at visitor attractions across England.

The scheme acts as a benchmark, setting nationally agreed standards for visitor attractions in the UK that can demonstrate their commitment to customer focus, ensuring high quality of service and experience.

Councillor Keith Watts, chairman of Whitchurch Silk Mill Trust, said: “It’s a living industrial heritage site that weaves silk and aims to enthral all who walk through its doors.

For a small visitor attraction it punches well above its weight with the quality of service and events we are able to hold.”

Sue Tapliss, manager at the mill, said: “The Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Accreditation is designed to help us be responsive to visitors’ needs and expectations. It provides a reassuring official endorsement to prospective visitors that at Whitchurch Silk Mill they will receive a warm welcome and high standards.

“This is mainly because of the hard work and enthusiasm of the mill team and the volunteers from the local community who make sure everything is ready for the visitors.”

The mill is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30am to 5pm.

Admission is £4.50 for adults, £4 for concessions and £2.50 for children.

l TRUSTEES of Whitchurch Silk Mill in Winchester Street have decided to offer residents in the town a chance to look around for free throughout April.

Councillor Claire Isbester told her fellow councillors at Whitchurch Town Council meeting on March 4: “It’s an incentive for people who haven’t looked around the mill for years to refresh their memory.”

The trustees have been working over the last few months to turn around the mill after its future was put in jeopardy when weaving stopped temporarily in December 2011, after nearly 200 years.