Posted on Leave a comment

North East success at Visit England Tourism Awards

The North East enjoyed a successful night at the prestigious Visit England Awards for Excellence with six organisations taking home awards.

The awards celebrate businesses and individuals that continuously raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

Among the winners were Sage Gateshead and Northumberland’s Laverock Law Cottages who won Gold in the Business Tourism and Sustainable Tourism categories respectively.

The other winners on the night from the North East were Seafield Caravan Park, Go North East, Hall Hill Farm and Seaham Hall.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony held at the Bath Assembly Rooms.

The full list of North East winners at the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2018:

  • Business Tourism Award
    Gold – Sage Gateshead
  • Sustainable Tourism Award
    Gold – Laverock Law Cottages
  • Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year
    Silver – Seafield Caravan Park
  • Innovation in Tourism Award
    Silver – Go North East
  • Small Visitor Attraction
    Silver – Hall Hill Farm
  • Hotel of the Year
    Bronze – Seaham Hall

All winners of the North East England Tourism Awards were eligible to enter the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. The North East England Tourism Awards are organised and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative in partnership with the Northern Tourism Alliance.

Posted on Leave a comment

North East tourism superstars celebrated at awards

Tourism businesses from across the North East were celebrated last night as the winners of the North East England Tourism Awards were announced at a ceremony held at The Boiler Shop in partnership with Crowne Plaza Newcastle in the Stephenson Quarter.

BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show presenter Alfie Joey hosted the awards and entertained guests throughout the evening. Winners on the night included South Tynedale Railway who walked away with two gold awards and first time entrants Block and Bottle who were presented with the Taste of England Award.

The full list of Gold winners:

  • Hotel of the Year – Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant
  • Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year – Newton Hall
  • Bed and Breakfast of the Year – St Cuthbert’s House
  • Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year – Brunton House and Cottages
  • Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year – Seafield Caravan Park
  • Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – South Tynedale Railway
  • Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
  • Guided Tour of the Year – BBC Tours
  • Dog Friendly Business of the Year – South Tynedale Railway
  • Tourism Pub of the Year – The Apple Inn
  • Taste of England Award – Block and Bottle
  • Sustainable Tourism Award – Laverock Law Cottages
  • Inclusive Tourism Award – Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books
  • Business Tourism Award – Event Durham, Durham University
  • Visitor Information Provider of the Year – Durham Pointers

The awards play a key role in showcasing the range of high quality tourism businesses and experiences on offer to visitors across the North East. All winners now have the chance to enter the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2018.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Huge congratulations to all of tonight’s winners. It’s been another brilliant year for entries and we received a high standard of entrants across all categories.

“The tourism sector in the North East of England continues to thrive, from our buzzing city centres to our beautiful coastline and varied countryside. Next year promises to be another exciting one for the region as we welcome the Great Exhibition of the North which will have a major impact on our visitor, and wider, economy.”

Northumbrian Water supported the awards for the sixth consecutive year, joined by Newcastle College and Bidfood as event sponsors for 2017.

David Hall, head of leisure, strategy and transformation at Northumbrian Water, said: “We are delighted to continue our support of the North East England Tourism Awards for the sixth year in a row and celebrate the very best the North East has to offer those visiting, living and working in the region. From unique coastlines and vibrant city cultures through to spectacular countryside and our very own breathtaking Kielder Waterside, the region has something to offer everyone. Congratulations to all the winners and those shortlisted.”

Tony Lewin, principal at Newcastle College, said: “Many of our students from Newcastle College go on to play key roles in the North East tourism industry, so it’s great to be able to support the awards. Thanks to our fantastic partnerships within the region our students have experienced working at some amazing hotels, restaurants and attractions – many of them on show tonight. We’re also very proud that a number of our talented students have worked with NewcastleGateshead Initiative to help make this year’s event a success.”

Susan Justice, head of business development at Bidfood, added: “Firstly, well done to all of tonight’s winners. The North East has a wide variety of great tourism and hospitality businesses and we should be extremely proud of what we have to offer. We are thrilled to support the North East England Tourism Awards and celebrate those organisations that go the extra mile for visitors to the region.”

The North East England Tourism Awards are organised and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and NGI Solutions 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 members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, The North East Hotels Association, South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council.

Full list of winners:

Hotel of the Year

Gold – Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant
Silver – Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter
Bronze – Seaham Hall
Highly commended – Hotel du Vin

Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year

Gold – Newton Hall
Silver – The Percy Arms, Chatton
Bronze – The Joiners Arms
Highly commended – Barrasford Arms

Bed and Breakfast of the Year

Gold – St Cuthbert’s House
Silver – Mill House B&B
Bronze – West Longridge Manor B&B
Highly commended – The Old Manse B&B

Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Gold – Brunton House and Cottages
Silver – Mains Cottages, Northumberland Self Catering Cottages Ltd
Bronze – Renner Farming – Bellshill Tower
Highly commended – West Wood Yurts

Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year

Gold – Seafield Caravan Park
Silver – Kielder Waterside
Bronze – Ord House Country Park

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

Gold – South Tynedale Railway
Silver – Hall Hill Farm
Bronze – Kirkley Hall
Highly commended – The Aln Valley Railway Trust
Highly commended – Bide-a-Wee Cottage Garden and Nursery
Highly commended – Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Gold – Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
Silver – Kielder Water & Forest Park (KWFP)
Bronze – The Alnwick Garden

Guided Tour of the Year

Gold – BBC Tours
Silver – Wild Dog Outdoors
Bronze – Victoria Tunnel
Highly commended – Behind the Books @ the Lit & Phil

Dog Friendly Business of the Year

Gold – South Tynedale Railway
Silver – Mains Cottages, Northumberland Self Catering Cottages Ltd
Bronze – Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant

Tourism Pub of the Year

Gold – The Apple Inn
Silver – The Botanist
Bronze – Barrasford Arms

Taste of England Award

Gold – Block and Bottle
Silver – Blackfriars Restaurant Banquet Hall, Cookery School, Parlour Bar and Tasting Room
Bronze – The Potted Lobster
Highly commended – Barrasford Arms

Sustainable Tourism Award

Gold – Laverock Law Cottages
Silver – St Cuthbert’s House

Inclusive Tourism Award

Gold – Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books
Silver – Sage Gateshead

Business Tourism Award

Gold – Event Durham, Durham University
Silver – Sage Gateshead
Bronze – Newcastle City Council, Hospitality Services
Highly commended – Seaham Hall

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Gold – Durham Pointers
Bronze – South Tyneside Visitor Information Centre
Highly commended – Hartlepool Borough Council – Hartlepool Railway Station & Coast Project

Posted on Leave a comment

Beamish, the Living Museum of the North

Beamish, the Living Museum of the North

We spoke to Julie Wilson, from Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, which is shortlisted in the ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award’ category this year. She gave us a fantastic insight into the attraction and tells us about the impact of being shortlisted for the North East England Tourism Awards 2017.

What does it mean to a business like Beamish to be shortlisted for the awards this year?

We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for the North East England Tourism Awards 2017 and to be part of this fantastic celebration of tourism in the region. It really is an honour to be a finalist alongside so many outstanding tourism attractions and businesses from across the North East. The awards showcase what an incredible region this is.

What impact has making the shortlist had on Beamish so far, if any?

Being shortlisted in such high profile awards is great. We’ve had a brilliant response from everyone to the news and it’s great recognition for all of our amazing staff and volunteers.

If you had to describe Beamish in one tweet to a tourist to the North East region, what would you say?

Beamish is an amazing living museum, where visitors can travel back in time to experience North East life in the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s.

What are the USPs of Beamish which make it stand out in an incredible category of nominees in this year’s awards?

Beamish is an attraction like no other, where visitors of all ages can experience the unforgettable sights, sounds, smells and delicious tastes of the region’s past. Beamish is hands-on history – visitors can ride on a tram or steam train, taste traditional food fresh from a coal-fired range, take part in a Home Guard drill or Suffragette march, write on a slate in the schoolroom, go underground in a mine, and be photographed in splendid Edwardian costume. Visitors pay once and can return free for 12 months, including a year-round programme of extraordinary events. Our friendly costumed staff and volunteers are always on hand to give the warmest of welcomes and ensure every visitor enjoys a day to remember.

At Beamish, we always put the visitor first – our friendly costumed staff and volunteers bring history to life, which is demonstrated by a picture from our 1820s Pockerley Waggonway.

Beamish, The Living Museum of the North is shortlisted for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, alongside Kielder Water & Forest Park (KWFP) and Alnwick Garden.

Written by Kieran Stewart from Newcastle College