DURHAM’S Magna Carta exhibition and Darlington’s Festival of Thrift were among the big winners at the region’s annual tourism awards last night.

Both events won gold awards at the North East England Tourism Awards 2015 held at Newcastle Civic Centre; with Durham University, the Sage Gateshead, Rockliffe Hall, Seaham Hall, the Morritt and Beamish also honoured.

The Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, which boasted Durham Cathedral’s 1216 Magna Carta as its centrepiece, attracted about 25,000 people to Palace Green Library this summer, generating £2m for the local economy. It won the Tourism Experience of the Year award.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Festival of Thrift craft event brought 45,000 visitors to Lingfield Point in September.

It bagged the Tourism Event of the Year prize, beating the Magna Carta exhibition into second place.

Durham University, which hosted the Magna Carta show, also won gold in the Business Tourism category for Event Durham and silver in the Sustainable Tourism class.

Seaham Hall, in County Durham, tied with The Morritt Country House Hotel and Spa, near Barnard Castle, for Small Hotel of the Year; while Rockliffe Hall, near Darlington, was named Large Hotel of the Year.

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year was taken jointly by Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, in Newcastle, and Beamish, The Living Museum of the North.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Huge congratulations to all of this year’s winners. It has been another outstanding year for entries with a high standard of entrants across the board.

“International events, in particular Rugby World Cup 2015, have given a huge boost to the local tourism industry this year, not only in Newcastle as host city, but across the whole of the North-East.

“Such events present a fantastic opportunity to profile the breadth of the regions tourism offer from cultural city breaks to family holidays.

“The region is home to two World Heritage Sites, worldclass museums and galleries, breathtaking countryside and coastline, and it’s fantastic to see the continued success of local businesses who contribute skills, knowledge and outstanding experiences to the industry as a whole.”

Tourism is worth an estimated £3.9bn to the region every year, with 55,000 people working in the sector.

This year’s awards received a record number of entries.

The awards ceremony featured music from Le Sape Nocturne and comedy from Alfie Joey.

All the winners

Tourism Pub of the Year

• The Bamburgh Castle Inn - Gold 
• The Angel of Corbridge – Silver
• The Staith House – Bronze
• The Bridge Tavern – Highly commended

Business Tourism Award

• Event Durham, Durham University – Gold ​
• NUFC & Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events – Bronze
• Seaham Hall – Bronze

Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year

• Leaplish Waterside Park-Northumbrian Water – Gold
• Doe Park Caravan Site, Teesdale – Silver
• Springhouse Country Park, Slaley, Northumberland – Bronze

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

• Morpeth Tourist Information & Craft Centre – Gold
• Durham Pointers – Silver
North Shields Tourist Information Centre – Silver
• Berwick upon Tweed Tourist Information Centre – Bronze

Access for All Tourism Award

• NUFC & Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events – Gold
• Sage Gateshead & GOTH – Gold
• The Hog’s Head Inn – Silver
• Calvert Trust Kielder – Highly commended

Tourism Event of the Year

• Festival of Thrift, Darlington – Gold
• Magna Carta & the Changing Face of Revolt, Durham University – Silver
• Funfair, Sage Gateshead – Bronze
• Northumberland County Show – Highly commended

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

• Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books – Gold
• Beamish, The Living Museum of the North – Gold
• National Glass Centre – Silver
• Sage Gateshead – Bronze

Large Hotel of the Year

• Rockliffe Hall, Hurworth, near Darlington – Gold
• Hotel Indigo Newcastle – Silver
• Village Urban Resort Newcastle – Highly commended
• Jurys Inn Newcastle – Highly commended

Taste of England Award

• Martineau Guest House, Tynemouth – Gold
• Northumberland Cheese Company – Silver
• The Orangery Restaurant at Rockliffe Hall – Bronze
• Zeera Indian Cuisine, South Shields – Highly commended

Self-Catering Provider of the Year

• Blacksmith’s Cottage, Alnwick – Gold
• Hesleyside Huts – Silver
• Springhill Farm Holiday Accommodation – Bronze
• Calvert Trust Kielder – Highly commended

Small Hotel of the Year

• Seaham Hall – Gold
• The Morritt Country House Hotel & Spa – Gold
• Newton Hall – Silver
• Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa – Bronze

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

• Kielder Observatory – Gold
• Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland – Silver
• WWT Washington Wetland Centre – Bronze
• Oriental Museum – Highly commended

Bed & Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year

• St Cuthbert’s House, Seahouses – Gold
• Martineau Guest House – Bronze
• The Old Manse – Bronze
• The Old Post Office, Lanchester – Highly commended

Sustainable Tourism Award

• St Cuthbert’s House – Gold
• Durham University – Silver
• Sage Gateshead – Silver
• Slate &Nature – Highly commended

Tourism Experience of the Year

• Magna Carta & the Changing Face of Revolt, Durham University – Gold
• Hall Hill Farm, Lanchester – Silver
• Karting North East – Bronze
• The CycleHub –Highly commended