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Bishop Auckland has been awarded the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s ‘Coach Friendly’ accreditation, in recognition of the town’s commitment to coach tourism.

The award was presented to the Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Cllr Mike Harker, in Bishop Auckland Market Place on Friday 21st June.

Bishop Auckland has become a popular destination for coach visits in recent years thanks to The Auckland Project, a unique collection of heritage attractions, galleries and gardens centred around the magnificent Auckland Castle, and Kynren, a spectacular live action show which takes place on Saturdays throughout the summer.

By working together, partners and stakeholders in the town have ensured that coach drivers and their guests can enjoy a smooth visit to Bishop Auckland, thanks to convenient drop-off and pick-up locations, safe and secure coach parking, and additional benefits for groups and coach drivers.

The Coach Friendly accreditation also reflects Bishop Auckland’s commitment to promoting sustainable tourism, by encouraging groups and day-trippers to visit the town via bus, coach or train.

It is hoped that increasing the number of coach visits to Bishop Auckland will bring numerous benefits, including income for local shops, cafes and other local businesses.

Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “‘CPT is delighted to give Coach Friendly accreditation to Bishop Auckland, especially during Better Transport Week. This status confirms the town is working to curb congestion, improve air quality and protect the local environment whilst continuing to develop more sustainable tourism. This certificate also provides recognised assurance to coach operators, drivers and their passengers that they will be well catered for and welcomed!”

The Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Cllr Mike Harker, said: “On behalf of Bishop Auckland I’d like to thank the CPT for recognising the effort and commitment being made by all those involved. In reality the ‘friendly’ nature of this prestigious award is testament to both the quality of our heritage sites and attractions but also to the hospitality we extend to tourists and day trippers Our town, residents, businesses and organisations, are happy to do all we can to make sure everyone has an enjoyable and memorable experience of their visit to Bishop Auckland.”

Craig Wilson, Destination Project Manager at Visit County Durham, said: “Coach Friendly Accreditation is an important standard by which many coach companies and their customers measure a destination’s readiness and welcome for group visits. Through achieving the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s Coach Friendly’ accreditation, Bishop Auckland can pledge that it can manage coach tourism professionally and deliver a good experience for visitors.”

Edward Perry, CEO of The Auckland Project, said: “It has been wonderful to see the number of coach trips to Bishop Auckland growing in recent years. We are delighted to be working alongside coach operators and partners to develop coach tourism in Bishop Auckland and create the best possible experience for those visiting Auckland Castle, galleries and gardens.”

For more information about group visits to Bishop Auckland and The Auckland Project visit


About The Auckland Project 

The Auckland Project is a regeneration charity with a difference. The historic town of Bishop Auckland has a rich and surprising history spanning over 2,000 years, and The Auckland Project believes that the culture and heritage of Bishop Auckland has the power to bring about transformative change for the people who visit, work, and live there.

The Auckland Project is creating a visitor destination in Bishop Auckland, incorporating Auckland Castle (once home to the Prince Bishops of Durham), Walled Garden, Deer Park, the Spanish Gallery, the Mining Art Gallery, Auckland Tower visitor centre, Weardale Railway and the Faith Museum. At the heart of these sites is St Peter’s Chapel, in Auckland Castle: the home of the Prince Bishops, and the historic seat of faith and power in the North of England. The themes of faith and power are repeated across The Auckland Project’s attractions, inviting conversations about belonging, faith, loss, sacrifice, community, love and creativity.

Alongside the visitor destination, The Auckland Project is also working directly with the local community to deliver a wide range of formal and informal learning for adults and young people, create jobs and apprenticeships and, both directly and indirectly, support sustainable living.

For more information about The Auckland Project, please visit or search Auckland Project on Facebook, Instagram and /or Twitter.
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