TV presenter and actor Robson Green picked up a special Outstanding Contribution to North East Tourism at 2023’s North East England Tourism Awards.
The special award was introduced this year to mark the 20th anniversary of the North East awards and will honour an individual, organisation or business who has made a fundamental contribution to the success of the region’s tourism industry.
Robson received the award in praise of his efforts to champion the region through his programmes, including his most recent, Weekend Escapes, which showcase the North East’s tourism offer nationally and internationally.
Picking up the award he said:
“It’s an absolute privilege and honour to receive this award and I feel incredibly humbled and to be honest incredibly surprised. It really is a recognition of the talent I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked alongside, the majority of whom are from the North East of England. All I’ve done during my career is help to tell stories some of which showcase an area I’m really proud to call home and the fact that this has been recognised with this award gives me the inertia to do more!”.
Winners on the night included Teesdale Cheesemakers Ltd, near Bishop Auckland, who picked up two Gold Awards for Taste of North East England and Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year.
Business Events Venue of the Year made a return to this year’s awards ceremony with The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre picking up the top prize. Seaham Hall Hotel also retained its title as gold winner in the Small Hotel of the Year category.
Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award – Life Science Centre B&B and Guest House of the Year – Market Cross Guest House Business Events Venue of the Year – The Sill, National Landscape Discovery Centre Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year – Teesdale Cheesemakers Ltd Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism – Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Destination Experience of the Year – The Escape Key Large Hotel of the Year – Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Bamburgh Castle New Tourism Business Award – Hillside Huts & Cabins Pub of the Year – The Apple Inn, Lucker Resilience and Innovation Award – Langley Castle Hotel Self-Catering Provider of the Year – Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages Small Hotel of the Year – Seaham Hall Hotel Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours Taste of North East England – Teesdale Cheesemakers Ltd Unsung Hero Award – Mohamed Kamal, Spanish City
The awards play a key role in celebrating and showcasing the range of quality tourism businesses that visitors to the North East experience. They are the culmination of a week-long focus on the tourism sector as part of English Tourism Week, a national initiative which aims to shines a light on this important sector and its impact on an area’s economy.
Several of the regional winners will now go on to represent the region at the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. The awards were once again sponsored by Newcastle College and Bidfood. Students from both Newcastle College and Gateshead College also supported the evening with photography, and hospitality service.
Sarah Green, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) who deliver the awards, said:
“Firstly I wanted to say a massive congratulations to all of the winners tonight. It was amazing to celebrate the 20th birthday of the North East awards with such inspiring businesses and individuals who ensure our region gives visitors a warm welcome and special experiences.
“We’ve doubled the visitor economy in the North East over the past twenty years but have set ourselves an ambitious target to double it again in the next ten years.
“The North East being announced as the pilot area for the new structure of national tourism bodies and the visitor economy being referenced in the North East Devolution deal demonstrates the level of support for the North East tourism sector. Our aim is to ensure this sector creates more jobs, supports people at all levels to develop skills, embraces net zero sustainability and provides greater experiences for all being recognised as an exemplar for accessibility and inclusivity. To do this we need to continue to work with the private sector to enable further investment.”
Lisa Hamilton-Murray, Deputy Principal, at Newcastle College, said:
“Newcastle College continues to be a proud supporter of the North East Tourism Awards and all of the wonderful tourism businesses in our region, especially in such an exciting year for the tourism sector. As always, the event was an excellent opportunity to celebrate our region and recognise those businesses that play such a vital part in supporting its growth.
“It was also a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain real work experience and connect with employers, which is a core part of what we offer all of our students as we help to prepare them for their future career here in the North East.”
Susan Justice, Head of Business Development North East at Bidfood, added:
“Following a wonderful night celebrating 20 years of the North East Tourism Awards and reflecting on 5 years of Bidfood being involved, it was fantastic to see that the North East’s leisure and tourism industry is still delivering at such a high level. The team at Bidfood Gateshead and I want to offer our congratulations again to all the winners and nominees”.
Tourism businesses also donated prizes to a raffle to raise money for the charity, NE Youth, which aims to make a positive difference to the lives of young people in the region.
Full List of Winners:
Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
GOLD: Life Science Centre
SILVER: Sage Gateshead
BRONZE: Sunderland Empire
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre
B&B and Guest House of the Year
GOLD: Market Cross Guest House
SILVER: The Bosk
BRONZE: Tynemouth 61 Guesthouse & Tea Room
Business Events Venue of the Year
GOLD: The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre
SILVER: The Common Room
BRONZE: Venues at Northumbria
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year
GOLD: Teesdale Cheesemakers
SILVER: Hillside Huts & Cabins
BRONZE: Hesleyside Huts
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Herding Hill Farm
Ethical, Response and Sustainable Tourism
GOLD: Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Destination
BRONZE: Laverock Law Cottages
Experience of the Year
GOLD: The Escape Key
SILVER: Valhalla Axe Throwing
BRONZE: Falconry Days
HIGHLY COMMENDED: La Chocolatrice
Large Hotel of the Year
GOLD: Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa
SILVER: Doxford Hall Hotel & Aqueous Spa
BRONZE: Newton Hall & Cabin Walk
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Alnwick Garden
BRONZE: Whitehouse Farm
SILVER: Beamish: The Living Museum of the North
GOLD: Bamburgh Castle
New Tourism Business Award
GOLD: Hillside Huts & Cabins
SILVER: The Greenhead Hotel
BRONZE: Overland Adventures
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Schoolhouse Fenwick
Pub of the Year
GOLD: The Apple Inn, Lucker
SILVER: The Greenhead Hotel
BRONZE: The Joiners Arms
Resilience and Innovation Award
GOLD: Langley Castle Hotel
SILVER: The Escape Key
BRONZE: Valhalla Axe Throwing
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Common Room
Self-Catering Accommodation Provider of the Year
SILVER: Till Fishing Holidays
BRONZE: Vindomora Country Lodges
JOINT HIGHLY COMMENDED: Breamish Valley Cottages & Mains Cottages/Shepherd’s Retreats
Small Hotel of the Year
GOLD: Seaham Hall Hotel
SILVER: The Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland
BROZE: The Lord Crewe, Bamburgh
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Langley Castle
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
GOLD: Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours
SILVER: Tees Barrage International White Water Centre & Air Trail
BRONZE: Newham Grange Farm
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Stephenson Steam Railway
Taste of North East England
GOLD – Teesdale Cheesemakers Ltd
SILVER – Seaham Hall Hotel
BRONZE – Dobson & Parnell
Unsung Hero Award
GOLD – Mohamed Kamal, Spanish City
SILVER – Caroline May, Seaham Hall Hotel
BRONZE – Nick Rodgers, Project Escape
JOINT HIGHLY COMMENDED – Samantha Brown, The County Restaurant and Sally Razack, Crowne Plaza Newcastle