A County Durham open-air museum has clinched the national Visitor Welcome Award.

Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, beat off competition from venues around the country at the annual Museums + Heritage Awards 2024.

The award recognises "the greatest visitor experience and the most welcoming atmosphere".

Last year alone, Beamish welcomed a staggering 801,756 visitors, securing its position as the region's most visited attraction.

The judges’ comments about the museum said: “This winning organisation ensures a warm welcome for everyone from the moment they arrive, extending across the entire visitor journey. The judges regard it as a benchmark for what the sector should strive to achieve.”

Hexham Courant: Clover Cottage at Beamish Museum

Rhiannon Hiles, chief executive at Beamish Museum, said: "We're absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious national Visitor Welcome Award, which recognises our first-class visitor experience and the warm welcome from our brilliant team of staff and volunteers."

Beamish is a 350-acre open air museum, which brings to life the North East’s history in the 1820s, early 1900s, 1940s and the 1950s.

The museum, which was founded in 1970, has around 450 staff and 400 volunteers.

The museum has around 2.5 million objects and photographs in its collection, ranging from steam engines and sewing machines to entire buildings.