The finalists have been announced for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024

This category, sponsored by Howes Percival, recognises large visitor attractions which offer memorable guest experiences and demonstrate excellence across the business. 

Hertfordshire Zoo 

Hertfordshire Zoo in Broxbourne is home to over 800 animals, including a large collection of critically endangered species and the largest green anaconda on display in the UK. 

Founded as Paradise Wildlife Park in April 1984, the zoo has grown into a popular destination in the East of England under founder Peter Sampson and daughter Lynn Whitnall, CEO. 

The knowledgeable, passionate teams not only care for the animals at the zoo but raise vital funds to support wildlife conservation projects in the UK and across the world. Hertfordshire Zoo is also home to the World of Dinosaurs with more than 40 life-size moving and roaring dinosaurs, educating all generations about the pre-historic era. 

With the park rebranding to Hertfordshire Zoo in 2024, it continues to undergo dramatic site improvements. 

Animal habitats, such as the newest habitats of Sun Bear Heights and Jaguar Jungle, provide a basis to raise awareness of conservation, human-wildlife conflicts and the illegal animal trade, as well as the critically endangered animals caught up in these wars.  

The judges said Hertfordshire Zoo “features a wealth of activities for children of all ages”, adding that the large glass windows and well-thought-out viewing platforms allow great views of animals throughout. 

They described the keepers as “great ambassadors” who “actively looked to interact with their audience”. 

Eastern Daily Press: Dinosaur-themed adventure park ROARR! which is in Lenwade, NorfolkDinosaur-themed adventure park ROARR! which is in Lenwade, Norfolk (Image: ROARR!)


ROARR! in Lenwade, Norfolk, is the largest dinosaur-themed adventure park in the UK. In 2022 it attracted 275,000 visitors, and in 2021 it placed 13th in the Visit England Top 20 paid attractions in the East of England.  

The site’s original incarnation (Dinosaur Park) opened in 1984 and was purchased by the Goymour family in 2006. In 2018 it rebranded as ROARR!, signifying a step change in vision and delivery of a high-quality visitor attraction that would draw guests from across the region and beyond.  

With the recent addition of two new mechanical rides, ROARR! offers a full day out for all the family, and is aimed at those with children up to the age of 11. 

Since 2006, under the leadership of Martin Goymour and then his son, Adam, numerous additions and improvements have been made to the park, improving guest experience and placing ROARR! consistently among the most-visited attractions in the region.  

The judges said ROARR! “provides a fantastic family day out with enough to keep both adults and children of all ages entertained”.  

They described the park app as “a particularly useful tool” and added that “the welcome, friendliness and service from all team members was excellent throughout, as was the presentation and condition of all the supporting visitor facilities”. 

Eastern Daily Press: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is in Watford, HertfordshireWarner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is in Watford, Hertfordshire (Image: TM & © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Wizarding World Publishing Rights © JKR)

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter 

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter (WBSTL) allows visitors to step onto the authentic sets and explore the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Harry Potter film series. 

Since opening in 2012, the attraction in Watford, Hertfordshire, has welcomed over 17 million visitors from around the world and continues to deliver a magical day out for everyone. Located at the studios where all eight films were produced, WBSTL showcases the British talent and artistry that went into making the Wizarding World. Visitors can discover the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall and explore the Forbidden Forest, board the original Hogwarts Express at Platform 9¾, step into Professor Sprout’s greenhouse and wander down Diagon Alley. 

The judges said WBSTL offers “a totally immersive experience into the Wizarding World”.  

They added that “each part of the tour was magical, and most impressive was the detail that went into the sets, costumes and the special effects”.

The winner of Large Visitor Attraction of the Year will be announced at the East of England Tourism Awards ceremony at Snape Maltings, Suffolk on Thursday, February 15. For more information, or to purchase tickets for the event, please visit 

To see the finalists in all categories, click here