North East England Tourism Awards

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Beamish - the living museum

inside the Beamish sweet shop

In an area where 55,000 jobs are dependent on tourism, the North of England Tourism Awards – which were handed out on Tuesday this week – provide an opportunity to remind the area of how important tourism is to the local economy.

Some winners will be nationally known but it is the smaller organisations that need the publicity, a wider appeal and, potentially, more business in the future. Whilst the winner of the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Beamish, The Living Museum of the North – is widely known the winner in the small attraction group, Bowlees Visitor Centre, may not be. Bowlees, in Teesdale, is in a wide open expanse of countryside replete with waterfalls, wildlife and acres of paths to walk. In acreage it would be consider a large visitor attraction; in number it is the reverse, a small attraction. Awards such as this, it is hoped, will encourage more to visit on the few weekends it is open until December and then from February 2017 when it re-opens.

The main winner on the night must be Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant in the Northumberland village of Wark. Not only did they win both the Sustainable Tourism Award and the Taste Award but they also picked up the top award as tourism pub of the year. With three awards surely they will receive more visitors over the next year?

Challenging to be the big winner of the evening was Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa in Hurworth on Tees near Darlington. They picked up two awards which on almost any other day would be sufficient for be the top tourist provider but not this day. Still to win both Hotel of the Year and Business Tourism Provider of the Year should see a lot more bookings from now onwards.

Situated just outside Hexham is Carraw Bed and Breakfast which won the top award in the boutique accommodation/small hotel sector. In the other accommodation categories, St Cuthbert’s House in Seahouses won B&B of the Year, Mill Granary Cottages in Ingleton collected the award for Self-Catering Provider of the Year and Woodside Lodge near Hexham walked off with the Self-Catering Property of the Year. Kielder Waterside – operated by Northumbrian Water – was voted Holiday Park of the Year and Go North East  won the Inclusive Tourism Award.

There were three new awards this year, one being that won by Woodside Lodge. Another was Guided Tour of the Year which was won by Cullercoats Bike & Kayak in North Shields and the final one was a category that is becoming increasingly popular at awards ceremonies throughout our countries. That award is Dog Friendly Business of the Year and South Causey Inn trotted off with top award in that category.

With those three new awards this year maybe there could be one or two extra next year for customer service and tourist information centre, two items which visitors and travellers prize highly.

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