IT was a perfect ten for the region’s visitor attractions and businesses at this year’s national tourism awards held last night (May 12).
Judges at the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2014 bestowed ten prizes on the entries from across the North-East and North Yorkshire at an awards ceremony held at Cheltenham Racecourse, including two gold awards, two silvers and two bronzes. Four entries were highly commended.
The big winners were two holiday destinations at Seahouses, Northumberland: Seafield Caravan Park, which won gold in the Caravan Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year category and St Cuthbert’s House, which picked up the top prize for Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year.
Seafield offers caravan sites, lodges, holiday homes and apartments; while St Cuthbert’s is a former church-turned-luxury B&B run by husband and wife Jeff and Jill Sutheran.
There were silver awards for the Lindisfarne Gospels Durham event in the Tourism Experience of the Year category and Swinton Park, Masham, in Small Hotel of the Year.
The three-month loan of the priceless 7th century manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels attracted around 100,000 visitors to Durham University’s Palace Green Library last summer, while Swinton Park is a luxury castle hotel with a renowned cookery school.
The region’s bronze winners were: Leaplish Waterside Park, Kielder, Northumberland, and Killhope Museum, in upper Weardale, County Durham.
Those entries highly commended were: Rockliffe Hall at Hurworth, near Darlington; the NewcastleGateshead Visitor Information Service; the South Causey Inn, Stanley, County Durham; and Low Mill Guest House, Bainbridge, North Yorkshire.
In addition, Nigel Richardson’s Daily Telegraph piece on LS Lowry’s favourite haunts on the North-East coast won gold in the Travel Article of the Year category and James Ellis’ writing on pedalling through Yorkshire on a tricycle, published in The Times, took silver.
Visit England chief executive James Berresford said the awards recognised the true champions of the industry and congratulated all winners, while Tourism Minister Helen Grant said the tourism industry was playing a key part in the Government’s economic growth strategy.
An Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award was presented to “the travel agent” in recognition of the work of travel agents across the country.