Road Markings and Signage - Tourist Signs

A General Guide


Bath and North East Somerset Council is currently developing its Tourist Signing policy.

Guidance for the provision of direction signs to tourist attractions and facilities is shown below.

It should be noted that all tourist attraction signing permitted under the scope of this guidance will be at the expense of the applicant. The Local Authorities (transport charges) Regulations 1998 refers.

If an application is approved, the applicant will be required to arrange, through an approved contractor, for the manufacture of signs conforming to an approved design and erected at a location(s) agreed by the Traffic and Safety Team. Future maintenance of the signs will also be the responsibility of the applicant.

The applicant may also be required to pay for the design and any administrative costs associated with the sign(s). The final Policy Document will clarify this.

General Principles and Guidance

A tourist attraction is defined as a permanent attraction or facility which: ‘attracts or is used by visitors to an area and is open to the public without prior booking during its normal opening hours’.

Tourist attractions can include visitor centres, theme parks, historic buildings, museums, zoos, parks and gardens, natural attractions, areas of special interest, country tours, tourist routes, sports centres, concert venues, theatres and cinemas. In all instances, the attraction in question must be recognised by the Authority as a place of significant historical, architectural, educational, leisure or recreational interest.

Tourist facilities can include hotels, guesthouses, bed & breakfast establishments, public houses, restaurants, holiday parks, touring and camping parks, picnic sites and Tourist Information Centres.

Retail parks, shopping centres and garden centres will not generally be signed as tourist attractions, unless they have facilities or features which are of particular interest, for example, craft centres, mill shops or speciality shops.

All tourist destinations are required to:

  • Have adequate parking on site or close by (any signs must direct road users to the parking facilities rather than the destination itself);
  • Have adequate toilets on site (including for people with disabilities);
  • Be generally of good quality, well maintained and suitable for people with disabilities.

As a general principle, owners or operators of tourist destinations applying for tourist signs are expected to advertise their establishments opening times, the location, accessibility by road and, where appropriate, public transport, through the tourist industry. This might include tourist brochures and other literature available through Tourist Information Centres, guide books, leaflets or on a web site. Applicants should provide evidence of this.

Other, more specific criteria to be fulfilled by tourist destinations will be available when the Tourist Signing Policy is finalised.

It should be noted that eligibility does not confer automatic entitlement to tourist signs. Decisions on signing individual establishments will depend on local circumstances, in particular the number of similar establishments in the area.

In the case of public houses, hotels and other accommodation, the name of the facility will not normally appear on the signs, particularly where there is more than one such facility in the same vicinity. Where a facility is relatively isolated, it may be appropriate to include the name of the establishment.

Membership of a recognised scheme for maintaining quality standards is a relevant factor in the consideration of an application. It is recommended that any tourist attraction (other than sports centres, concert venues, theatres and cinemas) should be accredited by the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service (VAQAS) scheme and be signed up to the Visitors Charter.

It is also recommended that, where possible, tourist facilities should be recognised by an appropriate body concerned with maintaining quality standards. For instance hotels, guesthouses and bed & breakfast establishments should normally be recognised by the Harmonised Quality Assurance Scheme (ETC, AA, RAC) and any establishment serving food must comply with the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 and Food Safety Act 1990. Any holiday, touring or camping park should have a reasonable number of pitches available for casual and overnight use and be accredited by the British Graded Holiday Parks Scheme.

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