Lancashire Scoops Gold, Silver, Bronze and Highly Commended

14 May 2015

The winners of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015 were revealed at its annual ceremony, held on Monday 11 May at the spectacular Sage Gateshead. Celebrating excellence across the tourism industry, 17 winners including Best Small Hotel, Tourism Pub of the Year, Best Visitor Attraction and Tourism Event of the Year were announced.

Lancashire's Finalists*** received –

  • Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe – Gold Award Tourism Pub of the Year
  • Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool – Silver Award Access for All Tourism Award
  • Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool – Bronze Award Tourism Superstar
  • St Annes Beach Huts, Lytham St Annes – Highly Commended Tourism Experience of the Year
  • The Parkers Arms, Newton in Bowland – Highly Commended Taste of England Award
  • Vintage by the Sea – The Midland Morecambe – Highly Commended Tourism Event of the Year

***Each of the Lancashire finalists was a winner of the Lancashire Tourism Awards, which were held at Blackpool Tower Ballroom on 6 November 2014. These awards celebrate the very best of Lancashire's visitor economy businesses and most of the winners then have the chance to go forward to the national Visit England Awards for Excellence.

Please see below for full list of winners.

Two special awards celebrating individual excellence; Outstanding Contribution to Tourism and Tourism Superstar (run by VisitEngland in partnership with the Daily Mirror) were amongst the winners. ‘The Chefs of England’ were awarded the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award. England has a growing reputation for quality food being served across the country; enticing visitors from both home and abroad. With such a huge choice of fantastic restaurants, pubs and hotels offering high calibre food, the award honoured the impact good food has on English tourism. Accepting the award on behalf of ‘The Chefs of England’ was Hrishikesh Desai, winner of Chefs on Trial, the popular BBC2 TV series featuring hotel expert Alex Polizzi. Hrishikesh beat off stiff competition to be crowned Executive Head Chef at The Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, an exclusive country house hotel in the Lake District.

Recognised for winning Tourism Superstar 2015 earlier this year, Matthew Henderson from Beamish Museum in County Durham accepted his award on the evening. Receiving 36% of the total votes cast, Matthew was presented with his accolade by Nigel Thompson, Daily Mirror’s Travel Editor. Over 21,400 votes were generated in total for this award – a record since the competition started in 2012. The Tourism Superstar recognises the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry; who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors to England have a priceless experience. Sandcastle Waterpark's Sue Copp, Guest Service and Inclusion Manager, came third in the public vote and received a Bronze Award.

VisitEngland Chairman, Lady Cobham CBE, said: “The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence – this year hosted at the wonderful Sage Gateshead – celebrate the very best in English tourism. It is the highest accolade and recognises the true champions of our industry, as well as the top quality visitor experiences we are fortunate to have on offer in England. The competition is of an increasingly high standard and so I offer my sincere congratulations to all our winners on this tremendous achievement, particularly the Gold Award winners for their exemplary contribution to tourism in this country.”

2015 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence  – Gold Winners

Tourism Event of the Year

• ** Gold – Bournemouth Air Festival 2014,  Bournemouth, Dorset
• The Cotswold Show Cirencester, Gloucestershire
• Mallard 75, National Railway Museum York, North Yorkshire
• Northumbrian Water – Kielder Winter Wonderland Hexham, Northumberland
• **Highly Commended – Vintage by the Sea – The Midland Morecambe, Lancashire
Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

• ** Gold – Bosinver Farm Cottages  St Austell, Cornwall
• The Dandelion Hideaway Market Bosworth, Leicestershire  
• The Dovecoat Barns York York, North Yorkshire       
• High Barn Cottages  Nr. Bridlington, East Yorkshire
• Millbrook Cottages  High Bickington, Devon

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

• Chesterfield Visitor Information Centre Chesterfield, Derbyshire
• ** Gold – City of London Information Centre London              
• Durham Visitor Information Network Durham, County Durham
• Simply Staffordshire     Uttoxeter, Staffordshire
• The Welcome People London

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

• Chatsworth Bakewell, Derbyshire
• ** Gold – Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust  Telford, Shropshire      
• Liverpool Cathedral  Liverpool, Merseyside          
• The Lost Gardens of Heligan St Austell, Cornwall
• The Roman Baths & Pump Room  Bath, Somerset

Small Hotel of the Year

• ** Gold – Brockencote Hall Hotel  Kidderminster, Worcestershire
• Cedar Manor Hotel & Restaurant Windermere, Cumbria
• Hell Bay Hotel Isles of Scilly, Cornwall
• The Horn of Plenty Tavistock, Devon
• Mallory Court Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire  
• The Talbot Hotel Malton, North Yorkshire

Business Tourism Award

• Barnett Hill, Guildford, Surrey
• Event Durham, Durham University Durham, County Durham,               
• National Space Centre, Leicester, Leicestershire
• The University of Manchester Conferences and Venues, Manchester, Greater Manchester
• ** Gold – Woodland Grange Conference Centre Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Taste of England Award

• Delifonseca Dockside  Liverpool, Merseyside
• ** Gold – Hotel Maiyango, Leicester, Leicestershire      
• ** Highly Commended – The Parkers Arms, Newton in Bowland, Lancashire     
• Stokes Tea & Coffee,  Lincoln, Lincolnshire
• Yorebridge House, Leyburn, North Yorkshire,  

Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year

• Cofton Country Holidays, Dawlish, Devon
• ** Gold – Poston Mill Park, Hereford, Herefordshire
• Seafield Caravan Park, Seahouses, Northumberland  
• Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton, Hunstanton, Norfolk
• Trethem Mill Touring Park, Truro, Cornwall

Tourism Pub of the Year

• The Exchange, Leicester, Leicestershire
• ** Gold – Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe, Lancashire  
• The Pandora Inn, Falmouth, Cornwall              
• Wild Boar Inn, Grill & Smokehouse, Nr Windermere, Cumbria
• The Wro Bar, Lounge & Loft, West Kirby, Merseyside,

Tourism Experience of the Year

• The Cycle Hub, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear,
• Farm Stay UK Ltd, Kenilworth, Warwickshire,
• Livingstone Lodge Overnight Safari Experience, Port Lympne Reserve
• Ashford, Kent,
• ** Highly Commended – St Annes Beach Huts, Lytham, Lancashire      
• ** Gold – Treetop Trek Ltd, Windermere, Cumbria

Bed & Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year

• ** Gold – Colton House, Rugeley, Staffordshire
• Lower Barns Boutique B&B, St Austell, Cornwall,
• Mere Brook House, Wirral, Merseyside,          
• The Old Rectory of St James, Telford, Shropshire,  
• Swan House, Hastings, East Sussex,

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

• Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire,
• Owl & Monkey Haven, Newport, Isle of Wight,
• Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Ulverston, Cumbria,
• Topsail Charters Ltd, Maldon, Essex,
• ** Gold – The World of James Herriot, Thirsk, North Yorkshire,
Large Hotel of the Year

• Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, New Milton, Hampshire,
• Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire,
• The Manor House Hotel, Moreton-on-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire,
• ** Gold – Matfen Hall Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland,
• Peckforton Castle, Tarporley, Cheshire,

Sustainable Tourism Award

• At Bristol Science Centre, Bristol,
• Colton House, Rugeley, Staffordshire,
• The Green House Hotel, Bournemouth, Dorset,
• St Cuthbert’s House, Seahouses, Northumberland,
• ** Gold – Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges, Winkleigh, Devon,

Access for All Tourism Award

• The Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol,
• ** Gold – Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Halifax, West Yorkshire
• Kernock Cottages, Saltash, Cornwall,
• ** Silver – Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool, Lancashire,
Photos attached show:

LtoR: Lady Penelope Cobham with Head Chef Hywel 'H' Griffiths and kitchen crew member Liam Anderson of the Freemasons at Wiswell, and James Beresford Chief Executive of VisitEngland

LtoR: Lady Penelope Cobham with John Child,Managing Director of Sandcastle Waterpark, with Jane Kelly Marketing and Business Development Manager and Richard Halstead Operations/Training Manager,  and James Beresford Chief Executive of VisitEngland

For media enquiries please contact:

Anna Izza, Head of PR and Communications   Tel: 01772 426 459
Laura Crabb, PR and Communications Executive  Tel: 01772 426 456

Notes to Editors

1.         Marketing Lancashire is the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Lancashire, established (1st April 2012).   Our activities in marketing and communications, commercial membership and place marketing are designed to grow the visitor economy and develop the profile of Lancashire as the first choice destination to live, study, work and invest.
Lancashire attracts 63 million visitors who contributed around £3.5 billion to the local economy and helped support 56k jobs.
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