Rising visitor numbers, innovative events and activities and a thoroughly warm welcome – all of these have combined to help Watford Museum win a VisitEngland Accreditation, or Quality Rose Marque, for the fifth year running.

“It’s really lovely,“ says Sarah Priestley, the museum’s heritage and arts manager and curator, “and it adds to Watford’s parks having Green Flags, and our nightlife having a Purple Flag.“

The museum, housed in the former Benskins Brewery Mansion on Lower High Street, is the only accredited visitor attraction in the borough of Watford, and Sarah is in no doubt as to how it earned the award.

“The most important thing is the welcome,“ she says. “You step through the door and immediately you feel it’s your museum. We’re here to help you enjoy the museum experience, it’s your history. You look around and the staff are helping visitors with maps, telling them about the history, and giving out information about the town.“

The marque has also been awarded, Sarah believes, for the museum’s community work.

“We’re involved in so many projects,“ she says. “Recently, we’ve done things with Wellstones, students from West Herts College, the Peace Hospice, and musicians for Dark Heart Forever, our successful music night. There are so many different people involved, it’s a real hub.

“Every year they expect more,“ she continues, “it’s not a case of ‘now we’ve got one so we don’t have to do any more’. They give you advice about what you can build on for the future.

“It’s wonderful because this award acknowledges all that effort. We’ve got a small team of staff but a big team of volunteers – a lot of people are stakeholders and there are so many people we couldn’t do it without.

“So many people have made it their museum.“