THE proud owners of a castle dating back to the 12th century are celebrating after it achieved global recognition in an awards, open to hotels across the world.

Chris Swain and Rachel Swain have owned Walworth Castle, near Darlington for the past nineteen years and have invested more than £8m into the site.

The castle which is an original 12th century castle has 32 bedrooms and employs more than 40 staff from across the area. The owners have also opened its recently-refurbished gatehouse lodge as well as a new bar and kitchen.

Part of the Best Western Hotel group for the past thirteen years, the Swain’s were awarded the group’s ‘International Quality Assurance’ award for their overall service and guest experience.

Mr Swain said: “It is a great honour to win such a prestigious, international award.

“There are so many wonderful hotels who are members of Best Western, who are setting the bar high with their exceptional standards of customer care and guest experience, so to be awarded an Internationally Quality Assurance award is something we are immensely proud of.

“We have our dedicated and hard working team to thank for all of their tireless commitment.”

The castle hotel previously won Best Western UK Small Hotel of 2018, but the most recent accolade now means it joins the top 20 percent of all Best Western hotels outside North America.

The Best Western Group said the Swain’s award is given to hotels, across the world, that consistently meet high standards.

They said only a select number of hotels achieving the highest scores are present the award, which is given global coverage.

In line with the group’s policy for private owners to remain part of the chain, all hotels must achieve the minimum standard in guest and bathroom cleanliness, standards of public areas, restaurants, leisure facilities and guest feedback.