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Chris Ramsey to host revamped North East England Tourism Awards

Chris Ramsey

Local Geordie and critically acclaimed stand-up comedian and TV host Chris Ramsey has been announced as the compere for the 2020 North East England Tourism Awards. Alongside hosting the Awards ceremony on Tuesday 24 March, he will be doing a short stand-up routine.

Tourism businesses in the North East are now being encouraged to enter the Awards with less than a month to go until applications close at 9am on Monday 7 October. The Awards celebrate quality, innovation and best practice throughout the region, highlighting the North East’s exciting visitor offering.

The format of the Awards has been tweaked this year so that they now align more closely with the modernised VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which are celebrating their 30th year. To mark this, VisitEngland launched the revamped Awards to reflect innovations across England’s tourism industry.

New categories introduced for the 2020 North East England Tourism Awards include Experience of the Year, International Tourism Award and New Tourism Business Award.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “It’s brilliant to have Chris Ramsey compering the revamped Awards in 2020. Being a Geordie, he knows all about the North East and our amazing tourism sector and is a perfect fit for the Awards.

“The North East England Tourism Awards are a great way for us to celebrate the success of our tourism sector and give local businesses the opportunity to showcase the region on a national stage. The refreshed format aligns the Awards more closely with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and reflects changes in the industry, such as the impact of digital technology, demand for experienced-based travel and the need to tailor tourism products for international visitors.”

It has been confirmed that Bidfood and Newcastle College will continue their support for the Awards as event sponsors for 2020.

Lisa Hamilton-Murray, assistant principal at Newcastle College, said: “At Newcastle College we have a significant number of students working towards a career in the sector. On completion of their course they contribute significantly to the North East tourism industry and that’s why we’re delighted to align ourselves to these awards for another year.

“We pride ourselves on our fantastic partnerships with the best regional and national hotels, restaurants and resorts. These links provide our students with valuable work experience, creating opportunities for them to forge successful careers within the sector.

“The North East Tourism Awards are a great opportunity to support and celebrate the successes of the thriving tourism industry in the North East.”

Jane Tiplady, General Manager of Bidfood North East, said: “This is the third year running that we have sponsored the North East England Tourism Awards, and we are delighted to be doing so. Due to the new format of the Awards, even more fantastic tourism and hospitality businesses from across the region have the chance to be recognised.

“At Bidfood North East we are extremely proud of the region and can’t wait to celebrate those organisations that go above and beyond to deliver the best possible experience to those visiting the region.”

New application forms and a different judging system are part of the revamped Awards, with a greater focus on experiencing the North East tourism industry first-hand. Eligible winners of certain categories will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020.

The Awards are supported by the North East Tourism Alliance – a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, and The North East Hotels Association. The North East England Tourism Awards are also supported by South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council.

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St Cuthbert’s House

St Cuthbert's House

We spoke to Jeff and Jill Sutheran from St Cuthbert’s House about winning awards, running a B&B in a former Presbyterian Chapel and the beautiful Northumberland Coast.

Tell us a bit about St Cuthbert’s House

St Cuthbert’s House is a former Presbyterian Chapel built in 1810, it lies about half a mile from the bustling harbour of Seahouses on the Northumberland Coast. We’ve restored it to provide six lovely ensuite guest bedrooms, and the former church’s sanctuary provides a delightful dining room and guest lounge. We’ve been able to retain and incorporate lots of the original features into the restoration and the beautiful spaces help us to create a very special experience for our guests. We’ve been operating the business for 12 years and we are lucky to enjoy high occupancy rates throughout the seasons.

You’ve won numerous regional and national awards – what impact have they had on your business?

We entered our first award in the year we opened, and although we didn’t win top spot we saw how powerful they could be as a way of getting the word out about St Cuthbert’s House. Since that first experience, we’ve made the Awards a part of our marketing strategy and have had some great exposure in regional and national press as a result. We know that these prestigious awards build trust among existing and potential guests, and that they can help to build a reputation for quality. We have no doubt that they have played a part in building St Cuthbert’s House into the successful business it is today.

What inspires you to enter the North East England Tourism Awards?

We consider it very important to stay focused and ensure that we don’t take our eye off the ball or become complacent. The Awards process is one of the tools which enables us to closely examine and pay attention to every aspect of our business – and to be measured against the very best in the region. We have also grown to love the razzamatazz of an Awards night!

What do you always recommend that your visitors do in the region when they are staying with you?

Most of our guests have done some research before visiting the region, and of course, we encourage them to experience the headline or iconic venues if that’s what they want. However, we love to explain to them where they can find equally lovely experiences off the beaten track – for example, where to find peace and solitude even on the busiest summer day on Holy Island! Northumberland is such a beautiful, inspiring place and the best and most restorative experiences are often to be found in the quiet spots.

Where do you like to visit in the North East when you aren’t working?

We like to visit the places we recommend to our guests to make sure we’re always up to date! We also love to get a fix of the busy city by visiting Newcastle regularly – but only for a few hours, as we usually can’t wait to get back to the beauty of home!

Are there any hidden gems in the North East that you would encourage people to visit?

We love to send guests off to discover the road less travelled. We always encourage them to incorporate a visit to Ford & Etal into their schedule – the Lady Waterford Hall is so beautiful and reveals such an interesting story too. Another favourite of ours is Wallington Hall, with its gorgeous walled garden.

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Durham House

Durham House

We spoke to Lesley from Durham House, a holiday let in Sedgefield, about the property, applying for the North East England Tourism Awards for the first time and her love of the area.

Tell us a bit about Durham House

We used to go away a lot with other families and we always struggled to find suitable family-friendly accommodation for a large group. When an old pub came on the market in Sedgefield we spotted an opportunity to create a holiday let which was perfect for large family gatherings or celebrations.

We took over Durham House in Winter 2016 and transformed it into a holiday let which can sleep up to 22. We managed to keep some of the original features from the pub – including a fully functioning bar! Guests can buy a keg of beer for their visit, so no more excuses for people to slope off to the nearest pub for a drink! We also have a huge dining table that can sit 22 which is perfect for large groups.

We attract a lot of large groups for weekends away – either celebrating a special occasion or just catching up with family or friends. We have a wide variety of people staying at Durham House, from families with young children through to older groups celebrating a birthday or anniversary. We are extremely flexible and can cater for any group dynamic.

Where did you hear about the North East England Tourism Awards?

We have been looking for ways to raise our profile and showcase our amazing property. Through Visit Durham, we have spoken to many other hospitality businesses in the area and heard about the North East Tourism Awards and how entering, and hopefully winning, could help us.

What has inspired you to enter the Awards?

We really want to shout about the unique offering we have at Durham House and to get validation from peers in the tourism industry would mean a lot to us.

What is your favourite part of the North East and why?

I might be a bit biased, but I absolutely love Hardwick Country Park in Sedgefield. I go running around the Park every day and always think to myself how lucky I am to live close to such a beautiful place.

Are there any hidden gems in the North East that you would encourage people to visit?

There are way too many hidden gems in the North East for me to mention them all. For me, the best way to see them is to get out and explore the region – you might be surprised at how many gems that you stumble across.

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Langley Castle

Langley Castle

We spoke to Margaret Livingstone-Evans, General Manager at Langley Castle Hotel, about winning a North East England Tourism Award last year.

What does it mean to Langley Castle Hotel to be shortlisted for, and win, awards such as the North East England Tourism Awards?

Langley Castle is very much a delightful hidden gem, in a less-discovered part of rural Northumberland. Having the kudos of winning a North East England Tourism Award is a great boost for our business, profile and team – who are extra-motivated knowing the castle has made its mark. The award has given us much to shout about, in an ambassadorial way, as we try to lure people not just to Langley, but to our very special part of Northumberland and Hadrian’s Wall Country.

The award has acted as a beacon, showing our guests and customers that a castle that is six-centuries-old can still be contemporary and stylish, while having the advantage of being unique and impossible to copy or emulate. The award recognised that we are a wholly distinctive and memorable venue, still making its mark as the only castle in Northumberland in which it is possible to stay, but also somewhere that is trying new things to excite, engage and entertain the 21st century visitor.

What impact has winning at Hotel of the Year at the North East England Tourism Awards 2018 had?

It has boosted our business considerably, adding a new element to our marketing mix and enabling us to entice various high-profile national and regional journalists and vloggers to the castle. Our year-on-year numbers are up considerably, giving us a new impetus to try to do things even more differently. With this confidence, we are launching new and exquisite woodland weddings in stunningly created glades within our glorious wooded areas on the Langley Estate and incorporating a wow-factor ‘Cathedral of Trees’. We have also managed to entice international Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts from Canada and the USA, who will be staging various events with us this year – a brand-new experience here, but wholly suitable and in keeping with our Game of Thrones events, dinners and weddings. We can’t wait for the medieval tents to be pitched!

We have created extra-special star-gazing Starry Knights experiences, involving Kielder Observatory supremo, Gary Fildes, to capitalise on our amazing dark skies. We have also boldly made New Year’s Eve 2020 available for a couple wishing to have an exclusive wedding here like no other, metaphorically pulling up the drawbridge and keeping everyone but close friends and family out, at a most atmospheric time of year and iconic date in the calendar. I also feel that the kudos of the award has enabled us to attract our high-flying new head chef, James O’Brien, who has built an incredible reputation north of the Border, but who is now nicely ensconced in Langley’s kitchen.

What makes Langley Castle Hotel stand out in a crowded market?

Langley is simply unique – that is a much-used description but in this case, it is truly apt. It is rare to be able to sleep in a true medieval, fortified hotel, but when you add seven-feet-thick walls – the feature that enables us to have our captivating window seats from which you can gaze down on the grounds like Rapunzel – it is something else, taking awe-inspiring and breathtaking up a notch on the spine-tingling gauge. Where else can you find medieval garderobes (posh loos) that are considered the best example in Europe, or a chapel on a castle’s battlements? Where else can you stay that is a venue built from stones dragged from Hadrian’s Wall? Where can you not just get on the trail of Jacobite history, but stay in a castle owned by two leading Jacobites who paid the ultimate price for their support of the exiled Stuart monarchy?

All of this provides us with unique architecture and a rich tapestry of history that enables us to offer brilliant daily Battlement Tours, whilst also appealing to an army of Game of Thrones fans worldwide, who view Langley as the perfect backdrop against which to play out their Game of Thrones fantasies. We are so lucky to have a venue like Langley in Northumberland which has stood the test of time and been relevant, exciting and appealing to generation after generation of visitor.

What is your favourite part of the North East and why?

I am passionate about Northumberland, which is just a fabulous county that offers everything; amazing coastal scenery, dramatic landscape of the Cheviots, the National Park and the calm pastures of Lower Tynedale. With the rich history of places like Hexham and its Abbey, juxtaposed with new and much-talked-about features like Northumberlandia – our unique and slightly naughty Lady of the North – it holds a story waiting to be unravelled by a wide variety of visitors. I have recently become an Ambassador for Discover Our Land and Langley has also become part of the China Forum, so that we can spread the word far and wide and entice independent travellers, groups, international visitors, and even cruise liners, to drop by and uncover the wealth of things we have to do and see.

Are there any hidden gems in the North East that you would encourage people to visit?

Longstone Island boat trip is an incredible experience that can be enjoyed by anyone wishing to celebrate a female of enormous courage, endowed with an incredible passion for helping others. The trip sails out of Seahouses to visit the place where the heroic Grace Darling lived with her father. Just visiting the remote lighthouse is an experience in itself and only one boat is licensed by Trinity House to land on the island. When you actually arrive and then hear what Grace did, way back in the 19th century, to rescue those shipwrecked on the rocks, in the most violent of weather, it really makes you think about human accomplishment and bravery. As a woman, I am incredibly proud that this county has produced a role model like Grace and that people as famous as Princess Anne have recently made the trip to find out more about her.

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Revamped North East England Tourism Awards for 2020

Tourism businesses in the North East are being encouraged to enter the new-look North East England Tourism Awards as applications open today (Thursday 6 June).

The North East England Tourism Awards celebrate quality, innovation and best practice throughout the region, highlighting the North East’s exciting visitor offering.

The format of the Awards has been tweaked so that they now align more closely with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which last year celebrated their 30th year. To mark this, VisitEngland launched the revamped Awards to reflect innovations across England’s tourism industry.

The revamped awards will see new application forms and a different judging system, with a greater focus on experiencing the North East tourism industry first-hand. New categories introduced for tourism businesses to enter include Experience of the Year, International Tourism Award and New Tourism Business Award.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “The North East England Tourism Awards are a great way for us to celebrate the success of our tourism sector and give local businesses the opportunity to showcase the region on a national stage. The refreshed format aligns the Awards more closely with the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence and reflects changes in the industry, such as the impact of digital technology, demand for experienced-based travel and the need to tailor tourism products for international visitors.

“We’re encouraging all tourism businesses in the North East, from hotels and pubs, to restaurants and attractions, to seize the opportunity and enter the new-look North East England Tourism Awards. Tourism continues to be the fourth largest sector in the North East economy and the Awards help us recognise the important contribution it makes to the region.”

It has been confirmed that Bidfood will continue its support for the Awards as event sponsors for 2020.

Jane Stewart, General Manager of Bidfood North East, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the North East England Tourism Awards again. Due to the new format of the Awards, even more fantastic tourism and hospitality businesses from across the region have the chance to be recognised.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating those organisations that go above and beyond to deliver the best possible experience to those visiting the region.”

Applications for the North East England Tourism Awards will close on 9am on Monday 7th October 2019 with the Awards ceremony taking place on Tuesday 24th March 2020. Eligible winners of certain categories will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020.

More information can be found at www.NorthEastTourismAwards.com.

The Awards are supported by the North East Tourism Alliance – a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, and The North East Hotels Association. The North East England Tourism Awards are also supported by South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council.

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North East tourism stars celebrated at record-breaking awards

Leading tourism businesses from across the North East were celebrating last night as winners of the North East England Tourism Awards were announced.

BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show presenter Alfie Joey hosted the awards and entertained guests throughout the evening at Newcastle Civic Centre.

After a record year for the awards, with nearly 150 applications, winners on the night included Lord Crewe Arms who walked away with two gold awards and The Alnwick Garden who won the hotly contested Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award.

The full list of Gold winners:

Hotel of the Year – Langley Castle Hotel
Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year – Lord Crewe Arms
Bed and Breakfast of the Year – Brunswick House and St. Cuthbert’s House
Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year – St. Oswald’s Farm
Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year – Doe Park Caravan Site
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – The Auckland Project – Mining Art Gallery
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – The Alnwick Garden
Guided Tour of the Year – Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours
Dog Friendly Business of the Year – Lord Crewe Arms
Tourism Pub of the Year – Barrasford Arms
Taste of England Award – Blackfriars Restaurant
Sustainable Tourism Award – Laverock Law Cottages and Shepherds Hut
Inclusive Tourism Award – Sage Gateshead
Business Tourism Award – Event Durham, Durham University
Visitor Information Provider of the Year – Durham Pointers

The awards play a key role in celebrating and showcasing the range of quality tourism businesses that visitors to the North East encounter. The tourism sector continues to be the fourth largest in the region, highlighting the importance of the businesses working in the sector to the wider economy.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Congratulations to all of tonight’s winners and those who contribute to the success of the North East tourism sector. This year we received a record number of applications and all the categories were tightly contested.

“From our thriving city centres through to our beautiful coastline and stunning countryside, the tourism sector in the North East continues to flourish and grow. Next year, among other events, we will welcome the World Transplant Games and European Professional Club Rugby Finals to the region which will have a major impact on the region and the tourism industry.”

Newcastle College and Bidfood continued their support for the awards as event sponsors for 2018.

Lisa Hamilton-Murray, assistant principal at Newcastle College, said: “It has been a delight for Newcastle College to sponsor the North East Tourism Awards once again. The success stories showcased at the event show just how much the North East has to offer to visitors, as well as those who live and work here, and how the sector is helping to drive our region forward.

“We are lucky enough to work in partnership with many of those celebrated at the awards, offering our students the chance to experience working in some of the best businesses in the region and these awards are a great opportunity for us to support and celebrate the industry alongside them.”

Speaking about the awards, Susan Justice, Head of Business Development at Bidfood, said: “We are delighted to have sponsored the North East England Tourism Awards for the second year running. There are so many brilliant hospitality and tourism businesses across the North East, and these awards are a fantastic way to see those worthy businesses recognised for all their hard work.

“This year, we sponsored the ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’ category, which commended those organisations that have truly gone above and beyond to deliver the best possible experience to people visiting the North East.”

In 2019 the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence will celebrate 30 years of the awards and success in English tourism and winners from the North East England Tourism Awards will be highlighted as part of the celebrations.

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

The North East Tourism Alliance is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, and The North East Hotels Association. The North East England Tourism Awards are also supported by South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council.

Full list of winners:

Hotel of the Year

Gold – Langley Castle Hotel
Silver – Seaham Hall
Bronze – Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa
Bronze – Gisborough Hall Hotel
Highly commended – Headlam Hall Country Hotel & Spa

Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year

Gold – Lord Crewe Arms
Silver – William De Percy
Bronze – Barrasford Arms

Bed and Breakfast of the Year

Gold – Brunswick House
Gold – St. Cuthbert’s House
Bronze – Layside Bed & Breakfast
Highly commended – Budle Hall
Highly commended – Moor End Guest House

Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Gold – St. Oswald’s Farm
Silver – Woodside Lodge
Bronze – Mains Cottages, Northumberland Self Catering Cottages Ltd.
Highly commended – Brown Rigg Lodges and Guest Rooms

Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year

Gold – Doe Park Caravan Site
Bronze – North Shire
Bronze – The Paddock Touring Park Wolsingham

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

Gold – The Auckland Project – Mining Art Gallery
Silver – South Tynedale Railway
Silver – Wynyard Garden
Bronze – Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Gold – The Alnwick Garden
Silver – Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
Bronze – Whitehouse Farm Centre
Highly commended – Alnwick Castle

Guided Tour of the Year

Gold – Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours
Silver – Lundgren Tours Ltd.
Bronze – Behind the Books @ the Lit & Phil
Highly commended – Chillingham Wild Cattle Association (CWCA)

Dog Friendly Business of the Year

Gold – Lord Crewe Arms
Silver – Mains Cottages, Northumberland Self Catering Cottages Ltd.
Bronze – South Tynedale Railway
Highly commended – The Lindisfarne Inn

Tourism Pub of the Year

Gold – Barrasford Arms
Silver – Lord Crewe Arms
Bronze – The Lindisfarne Inn
Bronze – The Twice Brewed

Taste of England Award

Gold – Blackfriars Restaurant
Silver – The Potted Lobster
Bronze – Block & Bottle
Bronze – Lord Crewe Arms

Sustainable Tourism Award

Gold – Laverock Law Cottages and Shepherds Hut
Silver – St. Cuthbert’s House

Inclusive Tourism Award

Gold – Sage Gateshead
Silver – Go North East
Bronze – The Commissioners Quay Inn
Highly commended – The Hog’s Head Inn

Business Tourism Award

Gold – Event Durham, Durham University
Silver – Sage Gateshead
Bronze – Civic Centre Banqueting Suites, Newcastle Civic Centre, Newcastle City Council

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Gold – Durham Pointers
Silver – Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre

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Shortlist announced for North East England Tourism Awards 2018

Businesses from across the region are celebrating after being shortlisted for the North East England Tourism Awards, following a record year for entries.

Application numbers for the awards were up 25 per cent from last year to nearly 150 and new entries made up a significant proportion of these. Overall, 57 applications made the shortlist for the 15 award categories from a wide range of tourism businesses across County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

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 the 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 continuing their support for the awards as event sponsors for 2018.

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.”

Winners will be announced at a major celebration of the North East tourism industry on Wednesday 21 November 2018 at Newcastle Civic Centre. Hosted by BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show presenter, Alfie Joey, tickets to attend the awards are priced at £67.50 and are available to buy at www.newcastlegateshead.com/tourism-awards/buy-tickets.

In 2019 the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence will celebrate 30 years of the awards and success in English tourism, with winners from the North East England Tourism Awards highlighted as part of this.

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

The Northern Tourism Alliance is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, and The North East Hotels Association. The North East England Tourism Awards are also supported by South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council.

The 2018 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
Alnwick Castle
Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
The Alnwick Gardens

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
Blackfriars Restaurant
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

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Seaham Hall

Seaham Hall

We spoke to Ross Grieve, Managing Director at Seaham Hall about success at last year’s Visit England Excellence Awards and what he loves about the North East.

What does it mean to Seaham Hall to be shortlisted for, and win, awards such as the North East England Tourism Awards and Visit England Awards for Excellence?

As with all awards, it is recognition to the team for delivering amazing experiences to the guests and therefore when you are shortlisted and / or hopefully win awards this is recognition for the hard work and effort that the property and the team have delivered.

What impact has winning at the Visit England Awards for Excellence had?

Although the impact is minimal from a financial perspective, it is a great marketing opportunity to shout about the success that you have had as a property.

What makes Seaham Hall stand out from the crowd?

Seaham Hall is a boutique five-star luxury hotel with a spa that is unrivalled and certainly is recognised nationally as one of the market leaders, both our facilities experience but also customer service

What is your favourite part of the North East and why?

There are many aspects of the North East that I enjoy but probably particularly the coastline for its ruggedness and breath-taking views.

Are there any hidden gems in the North East that you would encourage people to visit?

Similar to above, but I would also suggest the Northumbrian coastline as well as the Durham Dales.

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Seafield Caravan Park

Seafield Caravan Park

We spoke to Carolyn Britton, Owner, Seafield Caravan Park, about success at last year’s Visit England Excellence Awards and what she loves about the North East.

What does it mean to Seafield Caravan Park to be shortlisted for, and win, awards such as the North East England Tourism Awards and Visit England Awards for Excellence?

We have won the award several times now and it means as much the last time as it did the first time we won, it is such a huge honour to win the award as showcases the hard work carried out every day at the park from all involved.

What impact has winning at the Visit England Awards for Excellence had?

Winning Silver was a fabulous achievement not just for us here at Seafield but also for Northumberland as a county, so much is seen for Yorkshire and Cornwall etc so it really does help promote the area we live in but also what we can offer tourists as a whole.

What makes Seafield Caravan Park stand out from the crowd?

Operating a caravan park takes a lot of hard work from all our team, from the owners to the part time seasonal employees. We all work as part of a team, we are now in our 4th generation of family and even have our 5th starting to help out with the laundry, at the age of 12! So many customers comment on the grass being like a cricket lawn, pride and attention to detail is given by all involved in the day to day running, we want customers to enjoy their hard earned breaks and holidays at Seafield and ensure that our holiday homes really are home from home, and making sure we go that extra mile from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave.

What is your favourite part of the North East and why?

My favourite part has to be the coast here at Seahouses, Bamburgh & Beadnell, especially given the Summer we have recently experienced. The secenery is breathtaking from Bamburgh Castle to the pod of dolphins visitors have had the joy of seeing on their Farne Islands boat trips.

Are there any hidden gems in the North East that you would encourage people to visit?

We try and get our visitors to visit as many of Northumberland beaches as possible from Sugar Sands beach near Longhoughton to Ross Sands near Bamburgh.

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Sage Gateshead

Sage Gateshead

We spoke to Jessica McCabe, Acting Head of Conference and Events at Sage Gateshead about success at last year’s Visit England Excellence Awards and what she loves about the North East.

What does it mean to Sage Gateshead to be shortlisted for, and win, awards such as the North East England Tourism Awards and Visit England Awards for Excellence?

We are incredibly proud to be recognised at a regional and national level for our commitment to both leisure and business tourism, and the benefits that it brings to the region. It is testament to the hard work, passion and commitment of the whole team here, right across the organisation.

What impact has winning at the Visit England Awards for Excellence had?

It has really helped to showcase the conference and events capabilities of the venue, and demonstrates to potential clients that our services and facilities are of the highest standard. We’ve had amazing feedback and positivity around the win, from our existing client base, industry peers and when speaking with prospect customers.

What makes Sage Gateshead stand out from the crowd?

Where do I start! Of course the building, it has become a real icon for the region. The standard of facilities and technical production is of a truly global quality. But the main thing for me is the people. We have such a huge range of skills and abilities, backgrounds and expertise; from our dedicated conference team to our music colleagues. Everybody works together to create a unique experience for visitors – we will even offer graffiti workshops or steel pan music classes for delegates! It really helps us to give a unique experience to every visitor that comes through the doors and that personable touch is what we pride ourselves on.

What is your favourite part of the North East and why?

My favourite part of the North East is Little Haven Beach in South Shields, particularly on a stormy day. Our coastlines are unparalleled and I think we can forget how lucky we are to have them so close. I can’t imagine living anywhere where you have to travel more than 30 minutes to get to a beach, I’m lucky and my current trip isn’t even half of that. I also love looking at the red tower on the pier – it was the inspiration for Barbour International’s logo and a real symbol of just what we can achieve here in the North East when we put our minds to it.

Are there any hidden gems in the North East that you would encourage people to visit?

I really love Jarrow Hall. It’s local to me and has an amazing café, Hive. They have great coffee and it’s naturally my social duty to buy as much cake as possible from a local independent outlet. It’s surrounded by things to do – a beautiful park and St Paul’s church and monastery ruins on one side, and Bede’s World living Anglo Saxon village on the other. It’s amazing. It helps to remind me that the North East is an ancient place with so much history.