OUT of the 150,000 people visiting Arundel Castle each year, one was so much more important than all the others – yet the staff never realised.
A “mystery shopper” paid an unannounced call on the historic seat of the Dukes of Norfolk to check if the experience of visiting the centuries-old castle was up to the standards expected by tourist board VisitEngland.
In fact, the castle passed with flying colours, and has now become the 1,000th tourist attraction to join VisitEngland’s visitor attraction quality scheme (VAQAS).
Lady Cobham, chairman of VisitEngland, is pictured presenting the VAQAS accreditation to the Duke of Norfolk during a reception at the castle on Monday.
She said: “This is one of the most beautiful stately homes in England.
“Our assessors praised Arundel Castle for offering a truly memorable experience to visitors where standards of interpretation and customer care were very high and the presentation of the grounds and gardens was outstanding.”
The Duke said he was very pleased and went on to praise the work of castle manager Bryan McDonald and all his staff.
“The person turned up secretly, unannounced. So it’s a genuine reflection of their experience of visiting here,” he added.