Shortlist announced in search for region’s top tourism businesses

Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre.  Picture by Jane Coltman
Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre. Picture by Jane Coltman

The cream of north Northumberland businesses are celebrating after being shortlisted for the North East England Tourism Awards, following a record year for entries.

Applications for the awards were up 25 per cent from last year to nearly 150 and new entries made up a significant proportion.

Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

Overall, 57 applications made the shortlist for the 15 award categories from a wide range of tourism businesses across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

They include Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa and William De Percy, Otterburn, in the Hotel of the Year category; Newton Hall, Boutique Guest Accommodation; St Cuthbert’s House, Seahouses, and Budle Hall, Bed and Breakfast; Mains Cottages, Beadnell, Self-Catering Holiday Provider; Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre, Small Visitor Attraction; Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden, Large Visitor Attraction; Chillingham Wild Cattle Association, Lundgren Tours, Swarland, and Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Guided Tour; Mains Cottages and the Lindisfarne Inn, Beal, Dog Friendly Business; The Potted Lobster, Bamburgh, Taste of England Award; Lindisfarne Inn, Tourism Pub; St Cuthbert’s House and Laverock Law Cottages and Shepherds Hut, Lowick, Sustainable Tourism; and The Hog’s Head Inn, Alnwick, Inclusive Tourism.

The awards play a key role in showcasing the range of high quality tourism businesses and experiences on offer to visitors across the region.

The tourism sector continues to be the fourth largest in the North East, highlighting the importance of businesses working in the sector to the wider economy.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “It’s great to see a record number of applicants for the North East England Tourism Awards this year.

“We’ve had a variety of new applicants, as well as strong entries from those applying again, and there are some extremely competitive categories.

“Having hosted the biggest event in England in 2018, Great Exhibition of the North, and other significant events in the region, such as Tall Ships, the tourism sector is continuing to grow and flourish in the North East.

“These awards are a brilliant way to celebrate those businesses that make the tourism industry so successful and we’re looking forward to the award’s ceremony in November.”

Newcastle College and Bidfood are sponsoring the awards again this year.

Lisa Hamilton-Murray, assistant principal at Newcastle College, said: “Newcastle College is delighted to be sponsoring the North East Tourism Awards for another year.

“We have a significant tourism provision at the College and many of our students go on to successful careers in the sector following their studies with us.

“Key to the success of our programmes are the fantastic partnerships we have with employers. Students benefit from work experience in some of the best hotels, restaurants and resorts in the North East and these awards are a great opportunity to support and celebrate this growing industry.”

Susan Justice, head of business development at Bidfood, added: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the North East England Tourism Awards for the second year running.

“There are so many fantastic tourism and hospitality businesses across the North East and it’s great to see them recognised through these awards.

“This year, we are sponsoring the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category and I can’t wait to celebrate those organisations that go above and beyond to deliver the best possible experience to those visiting the region.”

The winners will be announced on Wednesday, November 21, at Newcastle Civic Centre.

Hosted by BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show presenter Alfie Joey, tickets cost £67.50 and are available from www.newcastlegateshead.com/tourism-awards/buy-tickets

The North East England Tourism Awards are organised and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, in partnership with the Northern Tourism Alliance.

North East winners will be highlighted as part of next year’s VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

The shortlist:

HOTEL OF THE YEAR

Gisborough Hall Hotel; Langley Castle Hotel; Headlam Hall Country Hotel & Spa; Seaham Hall; Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa.

BOUTIQUE GUEST ACCOMMODATION OF THE YEAR

Barrasford Arms; Lord Crewe Arms; Newton Hall; William De Percy.

BED AND BREAKFAST OF THE YEAR

Moor End Guest House; Brunswick House; Layside Bed & Breakfast; Budle Hall; St Cuthbert’s House.

SELF-CATERING HOLIDAY PROVIDER OF THE YEAR

St Oswald’s Farm; Mains Cottages; Woodside Lodge; Brown Rigg Lodges and Guest Rooms.

HOLIDAY PARK/HOLIDAY VILLAGE OF THE YEAR

The Paddock Touring Park, Wolsingham; North Shire; Finchale Abbey Touring Park; Doe Park Caravan Site.

SMALL VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

South Tynedale Railway; The Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre; Wynyard Garden; The Auckland Project – Mining Art Gallery.

LARGE VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Whitehouse Farm Centre, Morpeth; Alnwick Castle; Beamish, The Living Museum of the North; The Alnwick Garden.

GUIDED TOUR OF THE YEAR

Behind the Books @ the Lit & Phil; Chillingham Wild Cattle Association (CWCA); Lundgren Tours; Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours.

DOG FRIENDLY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

South Tynedale Railway; Mains Cottages; Lord Crewe Arms; The Lindisfarne Inn.

TOURISM PUB OF THE YEAR

Barrasford Arms; The Twice Brewed; Lord Crewe Arms; The Lindisfarne Inn.

TASTE OF ENGLAND AWARD

Lord Crewe Arms; Block and Bottle, Gateshead; Blackfriars Restaurant, Newcastle; The Potted Lobster.

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARD

St Cuthbert’s House; Laverock Law Cottages and Shepherds Hut.

INCLUSIVE TOURISM AWARD

Go North East; The Hog’s Head Inn; The Commissioners Quay Inn; Sage Gateshead.

BUSINESS TOURISM AWARD

Event Durham, Durham University; Civic Centre Banqueting Suites; Sage Gateshead.

VISITOR INFORMATION PROVIDER OF THE YEAR

Durham Pointers; Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre.