Castle and garden win excellence awards

The beautiful display of spring flowers at Bowburn Park beside Alnwick Castle.'Picture Jane Coltman

The beautiful display of spring flowers at Bowburn Park beside Alnwick Castle.'Picture Jane Coltman

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Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden have each received an award of excellence based on visitor ratings for the third consecutive year.

The award was made on Thursday, April 23, at a ceremony in Aberdeen, by Irish bus tour operator, CIE Tours International, which recognises the quality of the UK’s hotels and visitor attractions by awarding a merit award to those who have received a greater than 90 per cent customer satisfaction rating.

The ornamental area at Alnwick Garden

The ornamental area at Alnwick Garden

CIE launched its UK awards three years ago, replicating its long-running awards in Ireland. Since then, the numbers of venues and attractions achieving a higher than 90 per cent satisfaction rating in the UK has doubled.

Brian Stack, managing director of CIE Tours International said: “Our awards are well recognised and hugely respected in Ireland and it is gratifying to see that the same has happened so quickly in the UK. Our visitors from North America are accustomed to very high levels of service in hospitality and to achieve an above-90-per-cent rating from them is very meaningful. The rise in standards in only three years in our UK providers is remarkable and it proves that people’s efforts in striving for high standards pays off.”

CIE Tours brought 14,000 visitors to the UK in 2014, accounting for 90,000 bed nights.

The award-winners:

Best Overall Hotel: Macdonald Windsor Hotel

Best Overall Hotel Accommodation: Apex International Hotel

Best Overall Hotel Service & Hospitality: Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel

Best Overall Event Dinner/Entertainment: Cardiff Castle

Best Overall Tour Feature: Leault Farm

Best Overall Visit: Glamis Castle

Best Overall Walking Tour: Windsor Tourist Guides Ltd

Award of Excellence – Hotels: Caledonian by Waldorf Astoria, Mar Hall, Mercure London Bridge Hotel, Nevis Bank, Newton Hotel, Norton House, Norwood Hall, Radisson Blu Edinburgh Hotel.

Award of Excellence – Attractions: Abbotsford House, Alnwick Castle, Balmoral Castle, Cardiff Castle, Castle Howard, Crathes Castle, Culloden Visitor Centre, Dunrobin Castle, Dunvegan Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Eilean Donan Castle, Glenfiddich, Harlech Castle, Inveraray Castle, Inverewe Gardens, Iona Abbey, Italian Chapel, Mount Stuart, National Slate Museum, Pembroke Castle, Ring of Brodgar, Roman Baths, Skara Brae, St David’s Cathedral, St Magnus Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral, Stonehenge, The Alnwick Garden, The Glenlivet, Tintern Abbey, Tower of London, Urquhart Castle, Windsor Castle, York Minster.