The entries flooded in, the judging team sifted through them and now we can reveal the shortlist for the first Northumberland Tourism Awards.
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 inaugural ceremony takes place on Thursday, June 22, and here is the full list of those in the running for prizes.
Not only are we celebrating the best of what the county has to offer, but the winners will also be entered into the North East England Tourism Awards, which take place each November.
With that in mind, the awards largely mirror those at the regional awards, although at our ceremony, to take place at Alnwick Castle, there will also be prizes for the best Wedding Venue, Family Day Out and an overall prize.
And the Family Day Out prize is all down to you, our readers – buy a copy of this week’s paper for the voting form.
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 Loorve Ice Cream Parlour, Berwick; Mains Cottages, Beadnell; The Sun Hotel, Warkworth; South Tynedale Railway, Alston.
Family Day Out (Readers’ Choice): 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: 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 Northumberland Tourism: 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.
COUNCIL UNDERSTANDS IMPORTANCE OF ‘VITALLY IMPORTANT’ SECTOR
Northumberland County Council is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Northumberland Tourism Awards.
From its rolling hills and thriving towns and villages through to scores of majestic castles and a truly spectacular coastline, Northumberland is blessed with so many attractions which bring tourists flocking to the county each year.
The local authority knows more visitors are choosing to stay overnight in the county and we are delighted to be sponsoring the Boutique Accommodation/Small Hotel of the Year category.
Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts and leisure, said: “Tourism is vitally important to our local economy, especially for our rural communities.
“These awards highlight and celebrate the very best the county has to offer and we’re excited to be involved.
“We can sometimes take for granted the sheer beauty, diversity and uniqueness of the county, but those of us who are fortunate enough to live here know what a special place it is.”
Tourism is a huge growth area for Northumberland. In 2015, a total of £816million was injected into the county’s economy by 9.5 million visitors and almost 14,000 jobs rely on tourism.
In recent years, Northumberland County Council has worked collaboratively on a number of initiatives to encourage more visitors, to develop sustainable tourism and to reaffirm the county’s proud identity.
At the same time, it has been supporting local businesses to maximise the opportunities that tourism can bring.
LEISURE PROVIDER ‘KEEN TO CELEBRATE SMALL BUSINESSES’
Northumberland’s leisure provider has also got on board to back the inaugural tourism awards.
Active Northumberland, the council partner running leisure services, is sponsoring the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Award.
Lorraine Dewison, Active Northumberland’s chief executive, said: “Active Northumberland is delighted to be sponsoring the Small Visitor Attraction award at this year’s Northumberland Tourism Awards.
“As a locally-run organisation, we are keen to celebrate and promote the contribution of small businesses operating in the community.
“The tourism industry is vital to the economy in Northumberland and these awards present the ideal opportunity to highlight all that is great about living, working and visiting our county.”
THE AWARDS NIGHT
The Northumberland Tourism Awards winners will 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).
The evening will start with a drinks reception at 6.30pm and tickets, costing £35, can be obtained by emailing email@example.com