It’s now less than a week until the winners of the inaugural Northumberland Tourism Awards will be revealed.
The awards were launched in April by Northeast Press’ four county titles – the Northumberland Gazette, Berwick Advertiser, Morpeth Herald and News Post Leader, in association with destination management organisation Northumberland Tourism.
The winners will be announced at a special ceremony at Alnwick Castle on Thursday, June 22, moved from the original date of June 8 when the snap General Election was called for the same day.
And it will be different from what you may expect. Instead of black tie, think dress like a tourist (or smart casual); instead of a sit-down dinner, think a theatre-style awards ceremony followed by a hog roast in Hogwart’s (or at least the castle which stood in for it in the first two Harry Potter films).
Music on the night will be provided by Alnwick-based folk band Alnwicky, a seven-piece group of Anna Maxwell, 15, Dan Lyst, 18, Issy Maxwell, 17, Jess Dobson, 18, Jamie Macaulay, 18, Martha Carrdus, 18 and 17-year-old Zoe Gilroy.
Alnwicky will use its performance at The Mighty Dub Fest this weekend to launch its debut album. The evening will start with a drinks reception at 6.30pm and tickets, costing £35, can be obtained by emailing email@example.com
The headline sponsor for the awards is Northumbrian Water.
Here’s the full shortlist:
B&B of the Year sponsored by Newton Hall: The Grange B&B, Blagdon; Mill House, Guyzance; The Old Manse B&B, Chatton; West Longridge Manor, Berwick.
Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Northumberland County Council: The Black Bull Hotel, Wark; The Joiners Arms, Newton by the Sea; The Percy Arms, Chatton; Williamston Barns, Slaggyford.
Dog Friendly Business of the Year sponsored by The Inn Collection Group: The Loovre Ice Cream Parlour, Berwick; Mains Cottages, Beadnell; The Sun Hotel, Warkworth; South Tynedale Railway, Alston.
Family Day Out (Readers’ Choice) sponsored by North East Press’ Northumberland titles: Cragside House and Garden, Rothbury; Ford and Etal Estates; Go Ape, Matfen; Kirkley Hall Zoo, Ponteland; Northumberlandia, Cramlington; Vindolanda, Hadrian’s Wall; Whitehouse Farm Centre, Stannington.
Holiday Park/Village of the Year sponsored by Northumberland College: Kielder Waterside; Stablewood Coastal Cottages, Lucker.
Hotel of the Year sponsored by Northumberland Tourism: Battlesteads, Wark; William de Percy, Otterburn.
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by The Banks Group: Alnwick Castle; Alnwick Garden; Kielder Water & Forest Park; Whitehouse Farm Centre, Stannington.
Self-Catering Property of the Year sponsored by ssafa the Armed Forces charity: Brunton House & Cottages, Alnwick; Hemmel House, Breamish Valley; Shepherds Cottage, Beadnell; 8 Mill Wharf, Tweedmouth; Williamston Barns, Slaggyford; Woodside Lodge, Hexham.
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by Active Northumberland: Aln Valley Railway Trust, Alnwick; Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick; Bide-a-Wee Cottage, Stanton; Billy Shiel’s Farne Island Boat Trips, Seahouses; Go Ape, Matfen; Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre, Heatherslaw; Kirkley Hall Zoo, Ponteland; South Tynedale Railway, Alston.
Sustainable Tourism Award sponsored by Northumbrian Water: Laverock Law Cottages, Lowick; Northumbrian Holidays, Morpeth.
Taste Award sponsored by George F White: The Northumberland Arms, Felton; Cheese Loft Cafe, Northumberland Cheese Company, Blagdon; The Percy Arms, Chatton; The Potted Lobster, Bamburgh.
Tourism Pub of the Year sponsored by BT: The Apple Inn, Lucker; William de Percy, Otterburn.
Wedding Venue of the Year sponsored by Hotspur 1364: Doxford Barns, Chathill; Newton Hall, Newton by the Sea; The Northumberland Arms, Felton; The Sun Hotel, Warkworth.
There will also be an overall prize on the night, sponsored by Northumbrian Water.
Training future workforce for the tourist industry
The education provider which helps to train many Northumberland youngsters for jobs in the tourism industry is another backing our awards.
Northumberland College, which has campuses in Ashington and at Kirkley Hall, is sponsoring the Holiday Park/Village of the Year Award.
Marcus Clinton, chief executive and principal of Northumberland College, said: “We are proud to be supporting the Northumberland Tourism Awards.
“Here at Northumberland College, we recognise that in Northumberland, tourism is one of the fastest growing industries and within the UK overall, the sector is predicted to recruit a further 843,000 staff by 2020.
“We relaunched our Travel and Tourism Academy at our Kirkley Hall campus this year where students have access to Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens and our Outdoor Activity Centre, which are leading visitor attractions.”
‘Tourism should not be overlooked’
A Northumberland-based property firm, which now operates from Yorkshire to the Scottish Borders, is joining the team getting behind the awards.
Land, property and business consultancy George F White is sponsoring the Taste Award, which celebrates the best of the county’s food offering – a key draw for visitors.
Mike Young, regional head for Northumberland and Borders at George F White, said: “It is fantastic to be supporting the first Northumberland Tourism Awards.
“The tourism industry in the North East should not be overlooked and it is right to be celebrating and raising the profile of those wonderful attractions and businesses across the region.
“We are looking forward to seeing such an innovative approach towards an awards ceremony and, of course, celebrating within the grounds of Alnwick Castle.”