News release

For immediate release

Thursday 5 October 2023

It’s an exciting start to October for the team at The Commandery, one of Worcester’s most historic buildings, as it is awarded Visit England’s Gold Visitor Attraction Accolade for the first time.

From visitor welcome and customer care to exhibitions, cleanliness and catering, the accolade celebrates the high-quality experience offered to visitors to the historic site, including the popular independent café Commandery Coffee.

Built on the site of an early medieval chapel, The Commandery has been a monastic hospital, family home, Royalist Civil War headquarters, a college for the blind, and housed the Littlebury Printworks, before becoming today’s museum revealing significant stories of Worcester’s history. A magnificent medieval great hall, a death mask of Oliver Cromwell, walled gardens, and fifteenth-century wall paintings are just some of the highlights.

New additions to The Commandery have been commended by Visit England, including the guidebook which illustrates the building’s centuries of history, the “talking benches” telling accounts of the English Civil War while visitors enjoy the gardens, and outdoor interpretation boards. Picnic blankets and deckchairs for use in warmer months are also recent additions to enhance the visitor experience.

The escape room, Commandery Quest, which opened in November 2022, has been described as “an innovative idea” to enable more people to use The Commandery in new ways and to provide additional income streams which support the historic site and protect it for the future.

Visit England Director Andrew Stokes said, “The attractions honoured today go out of their way to make visits memorable, creating reasons for people to travel to new locations, also boosting local economies across England.”

Rachel Robinson, Museum Manager at The Commandery, said, “We are so pleased to receive the Gold Visitor Attraction Accolade for The Commandery and we’re excited to continue to develop the visitor experience at The Commandery. This award is a recognition of the hard work carried out by the team to make The Commandery a gold standard visitor experience.”

To find out more about The Commandery and to plan a visit, find out more at


Notes to editors

Images attached show:

  1. The Commandery
  2. The medieval Great Hall at The Commandery
  3. A family enjoying crafts at a recent event in the gardens

Useful links

Winners of VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Accolades announced

List of recipients in 2023


Opening hours

The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, and Sundays, 11am – 3pm.


The Commandery’s History

The Commandery was founded as a monastic hospital around 1085 by Saint Wulfstan, then Bishop of Worcester, to serve the needs of travellers outside the city walls and beautiful wall paintings from the 1500s can be seen on the walls of The Commandery today.

Most of the building dates from the late fifteenth century and is of timber framed construction. The Commandery was one of the last monastic institutions to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. It is most well-known for being the Royalist headquarters during the final battle of the English Civil War, the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The building has also been a family home, a school for the blind, and a printing works.


For more information or further images please contact Alice Benbow, Museums Marketing Officer: / 01905 361828.