Eden by Tamsyn Williams

Eden by Tamsyn Williams

Cornwall's Eden Project has been shortlisted as a contender for the National Treasure award which celebrates 20 years of the National Lottery

Eden by Tamsyn Williams

Eden by Tamsyn Williams

The hunt is on to discover England’s most popular National Lottery funded project of the last 20 years and the Eden Project has been selected to compete for the honour

The National Lottery has launched the search as part of its 20thAnniversary celebrations this year. The What’s Your National Treasure’ campaign asks people to visit to choose the best from a range of iconic venues, landmarks and facilities that are vying for the title of National Treasure.

The Eden Project, which houses the largest indoor rainforest in the world, has received more than £37 million of National Lottery funding distributed by the Millennium Commission and the Big Lottery Fund.

Vicki Kennedy, Director of the National Lottery Good Causes, said: “This is a fun way for people to show their backing for the projects they care most about and also gives us a great chance to celebrate the massive impact National Lottery players have had. England is packed full of National Treasures and we’re proud that National Lottery funding has been able to benefit so many of them. It will no doubt be tricky for people to pick just one as their favourite!”

Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, said: “When the history of the last twenty years is written up a century from now, it will show that we have lived through a moment of sublime transformation across the whole of the United Kingdom. More wonderful buildings have been created, more investment in social spaces and initiatives which have reached into every nook and cranny of this marvellous country of ours than could have been dreamed of.

"The investment that has directly come from the National Lottery - overseen by good men and women distributing funds without fear or favour to create opportunity where there was none – is breath-taking and represents, in terms of investment the best return on capital in British History and it has given the country its mojo back. There is hardly a city, town or village that has not seen the benefit. For me, its greatest achievement has been to silence cynics who thought Britain couldn’t be the creative and social powerhouse it once was.

As well as voting for England’s favourite place, the public are also being asked to vote for the celebrity who is most deserving of the title. With 12 projects and 5 celebrities to choose from in England, the competition is set to be fierce.

The projects competing in England are: Beamish Museum (County Durham), Eden Project (Cornwall), The Hepworth (Wakefield), The Lowry (Manchester), Manchester SportCity, The Mary Rose Museum (Portsmouth), The Museum of Liverpool, National Memorial Arboretum (nr Lichfield), National Space Centre (Leicester), Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (London), Turner Contemporary (Margate), Wembley Stadium (London).

The well-known names to feature in the voting for England’s National Treasure are pop band Rizzle Kicks, comedian Stephen Fry, athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, actor Colin Firth and presenter Esther Rantzen.

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A winning face and place for England, along with those from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be announced from the full list of 68 later this year.