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Chelmsford Museum café wins prestigious tourism award

Hive Cafe menu

The Hive Café at Chelmsford Museum has won a prestigious award from VisitEngland. The café, which is based in the original Drawing Room of Oaklands House, was recognised by the national tourism agency with a Visitor Attraction Accolade for its Quality Food and Drink.

VisitEngland’s Accolades are designed to celebrate excellence and promote businesses that go the extra mile to provide a high-quality day out. The awards are based on scores gained in an annual assessment by VisitEngland representatives who try out services at attractions across the country as mystery shoppers. They reward outstanding visitor experiences and provide advice on how to make services even better.

Visit England’s Director Andrew Stokes says these awards are a timely reminder of the quality attractions on our doorsteps.

"I’m so pleased to see our visitor attractions back in the spotlight with these Accolades that recognise the amazing experiences available across the country. They also acknowledge the people who bring the attractions to life through their unparalleled customer service.

Now more than ever we need these attractions to encourage and remind us to get out and explore the amazing tourism on offer across England, driving recovery and economic benefits through the regions."

Andrew Stokes, VisitEngland Director

The Hive Café is a popular destination

The Hive Café opened at Chelmsford Museum in February 2019 and it has quickly become a popular destination in its own right. As well as serving visitors to the museum and Oaklands Park, The Hive has a regular programme of pop-up events such as supper clubs and this month’s Christmas Market. The venue also hosts private events like birthday parties and baby showers, with wedding receptions planned for 2022.

Kellie Elicin, The Hive’s owner, isn’t surprised the partnership between the café and museum has been a success.

"Chelmsford Museum is such a lovely venue. Sometimes when I arrive early in the morning I have to pinch myself that I come to work here. It’s been a whirlwind for us over the last three years, setting up a new café just 12 months before the pandemic started. I’m so pleased that we’ve won this award for our food and drink; it’s wonderful for all of our staff to have their hard work recognised in this way."

Kellie Elicin, owner of The Hive Café

Britain’s domestic tourism industry hit hard

VisitBritain’s latest forecasts show that domestic tourism spending for this year is estimated to be just over half that of 2019. Last year saw around two-thirds of the value wiped off the domestic tourism industry in Britain; a £58 billion loss to the economy. Chelmsford City Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Marie Goldman, says the award is an incredible achievement for a new venue under very difficult circumstances.

"The Hive has added so much to the life of Chelmsford Museum and it’s impossible to imagine Oaklands without this excellent café. I’m so pleased for the team that their creativity and service has been recognised in this way and I’m really looking forward to seeing what their partnership with the museum brings for visitors in 2022."

Cllr Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council

Plan your visit this Christmas

The Hive Café is open from 8am throughout the week for dining inside the museum, outside in the Rose Garden, and for takeaways. Its menu includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, along with children’s breakfasts and lunches, and afternoon teas. Find out more about The Hive and its opening times this Christmas on The Hive website and its social media pages.

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Julie Weight
Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.