A stunning cornerstone of Falkirk’s history has scored a five-star rating from VisitScotland.
Callendar House, which dates back to the 14th century, has achieved the national tourism organisation’s top-quality award.
The historic house received an “exceptional” score in categories including core experience, hospitality, friendliness, staff efficiency, catering, and cleanliness following a Quality Assurance visit.
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.
As well as achieving a five-star rating, Callendar House is also a member of VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best and VIP schemes.
Launched in 2016, the innovative VIP programme, which boasts 11 ambassadors across the Falkirk area, harnesses the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of partners across the country to help visitors receive the warmest of welcomes and make the most of their trip to Scotland.
The initiative comes as a direct response to significant changes in visitor behaviour in the last five years, with people now using a variety of channels to access the information they need where they need it, whether it be online, on their phone or in person.
The Taste Our Best award scheme – a joint intiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government, with support from Scotland Food and Drink - was designed to promote the use of Scottish produce within the tourism industry and recognise businesses that offer great quality Scottish food and drink experiences.
Callendar House, which is run by The Falkirk Community Trust, became a visitor attraction in 1996 after centuries as a family home. It sits in Callendar Park which also contains a section of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site.
The spectacular house is free to visit and boasts a working 19th century kitchen where costumed staff create an interactive experience for visitors and offer samples of early 1800s food as well as a museum which details the story of the house and area covering the 11th to 19th centuries.
Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman, said: “I am delighted that Callendar House has achieved a five star Quality Assurance rating. This is a clear sign of Falkirk’s tourism offering going from strength to strength as it becomes the third five star attraction in the area.
“Callendar House is a key attraction to the town and this award is a testament to all of the hard work and dedication of the staff.
“We need to create world class experiences, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing visitor demands. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.”
Maureen Campbell, Chief Executive of Falkirk Community Trust, said: “The house is a credit to the local area and is a fantastic free day out.
“We have art, history, interactive fun and a warm welcome from our team, all set within beautiful parklands. Also, in our opinion, the best cakes in Falkirk in our tearoom! “