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The stars of North East’s tourism businesses shine at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023. 

Gold Winner for Experience of the Year at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 – Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours. Image credit: VisitBritain/Daniela Luquini

Four North East tourism businesses have been recognised at the national tourism awards which took place on 7 June at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London.  

Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours and Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages were presented Gold awards, Silver went to Langley Castle Hotel and Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort was awarded a Bronze in the prestigious national finals.  

The four finalists were selected after winning Gold at the North East England Tourism Awards in March.   

NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) was also awarded Silver in the new TXGB Trailblazer Award for its New Adventures website – a campaign funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority and led by NGI in partnership with Visit Northumberland and North Tyneside Council.  

Representatives from businesses and organisations within the North East tourism sector attended the black tie ceremony. 

In the Experience of the Year category, the Grey Seal and Seabird Cruise by Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Northumberland took home the Gold Award. They were competing against Peak District Walking Experience, myGuidedWalks, and Make Your Own Gin Experience, Shed 1 Gin Distillery, Cumbria.  

Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages, Northumberland, scooped up Gold in the Self Catering Accommodation of the Year category against Eaton Manor Country Estate, Shropshire and The Dovecote Barns, North Yorkshire.   

Gold Award Winners for Self Catering Accommodation of the Year at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 – Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages. Image credit: VisitBritain/Daniela Luquini

Langley Castle Hotel, Northumberland was awarded the Silver Award in the Resilience and Innovation category. And Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort, Co. Durham won Bronze for Large Hotel of the Year.  

The TXGB Trailblazer category recognises businesses that work with TXGB, VisitEngland’s booking platform.  

NGI was recognised for the North of Tyne Combined Authority funded New Adventures Project which was launched last year to enable people to understand the diversity of the regional tourism offer and directly book brilliant experiences in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland in one place.  

Silver Award Winners for TXGB Trailblazer at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 – New Adventures. Image credit: VisitBritain/Daniela Luquini

A further recognition for the region was given through the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award, which was given to England’s Coast, which included Northumberland.   

Sarah Green, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said:

“I was so proud and thrilled to attend the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence last night and see these incredible businesses being recognised first-hand.  

“These winners are a vital part of the fantastic tourism offer the North East has and are a wonderful example for us all. I am so pleased their hard work, dedication and passion for their place is being celebrated. These awards give us a national platform from which to project our incredible region and its wonderful tourism businesses.  

“I am also delighted that the New Adventures campaign, funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority, has been recognised with a Silver Award. Collaboration is a hugely important component to the activity we do at NGI and working with platforms such as TXGB enables us to promote our region to an even broader and diverse audience. It has allowed us to showcase the wealth of activities and choice available for visitors, enhancing their overall experience even further.  

“And as the new Destination Development Partnership pilot, NGI has set ambitious targets to double the size of the tourism sector in the next ten years – offering more jobs, decarbonising the offer, ensuring an accessible and inclusive welcome for all and creating year-round demand. Businesses such as the ones recognised tonight and at the North East England Tourism Awards held earlier this year, will be vital allies in this goal and we are very lucky to have them as champions.” 

Andrew Douglas from Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours and Gold Award winner, said:

“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our exceptional staff members. This achievement is a testament to their unwavering dedication, passion, and hard work. Each member of our team has played a pivotal role in creating unforgettable experiences for our guests, and without them, this accomplishment would not have been possible. From our knowledgeable guides to our friendly support staff, every individual has contributed their unique talents, making Serenity a place of wonder and joy.” 

Teresa Stock, Owner/ Manager at Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages and Gold Award winner, said:

“Our team has worked very hard to create a unique off-grid experience within the beauty of the upper Coquet Valley. Sustainable tourism is at the heart of what we do, and we are delighted to be being this prestigious award home to the North East.”   

Applications for North East Tourism Awards 2024 later this month.   

For more information on the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence please visit here.