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Hotel wins big in North-East regional tourism awards
THE North-East’s best tourist attractions have been recognised at an awards ceremony celebrating the region’s best places to stay, eat and relax.
Among the winners at theNorth-East England Tourism Awards was Rockliffe Hall, in Hurworth, near Darlington, which took home the business tourism award on the day it unveiled the results of a £200,000 refurbishment scheme.
The awards, held last night (Thursday, January 31) at the Sage, in Gateshead, highlight the importance of regional economy, which is worth £4.2bn each year to the local economy and supports 65,000 jobs.
Other big winners on the night included Tyneside Cinema and BALTIC, who took joint gold in the large visitor attraction category, and Kielder Water and Forest Park, in Northumberland, which was named Tourism Experience of the Year.
Low Urpeth Farm Bed & Breakfast, near Chester-le-Street, in County Durham, was named bed & breakfast accommodation provider of the year.
The five star Rockliffe Hall yesterday unveiled the results of a refurbishment scheme that has transformed its 19th Century Old Hall by extending its restaurant, The Orangery, and kitchen and creating a new walk-in winery.
The restaurant, run by head chef Kenny Atkinson, can now hold up to 80 diners and has also had a makeover, with new artwork, décor, furniture and lighting.
Speaking ahead of the awards ceremony, Nick Holmes, managing director of Rockliffe Hall, said: “The Old Hall is the beating heart of Rockliffe and it’s important that it has something to offer all day, every day. The Orangery will always be our flagship restaurant and people flock from all over the UK to sample Kenny’s food.”
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, which organised the awards, said: “The enthusiasm we’ve seen from businesses has been fantastic. The results demonstrate the quality and innovation within the visitor economy from across the whole region and I’d like to congratulate all of the winners on their success.
“The judges were highly impressed with the quality of entrants and all of the shortlisted businesses should be proud of their achievements.
“The awards have presented an opportunity for the industry to come together and demonstrate the importance and scale of tourism in the North East.”
The full list of gold award winners at the North-East Tourism Awards: Access for all Tourism Award: The Sage Gateshead; Business Tourism Award: Rockliffe Hall - Hurworth, Darlington; Large Hotel of the Year: Sandman Signature Hotel – Newcastle; Large Visitor Attraction of the Year: Tyneside Cinema – Newcastle and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art – Gateshead; Small Visitor Attraction of the Year: Washington Wetlands Centre; Visitor Information Provider of the Year: National Park Centre/TIC Once Brewed - Hadrian’s Wall; Taste of England Award: Blackfriars Restaurant – Newcastle; Tourism Experience of the Year: Kielder Water and Forest Park – Northumberland; Caravan Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year: Seafield Caravan Park - Seahouses, Northumberland; Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year: Low Urpeth Farm Bed & Breakfast - Chester-le-Street; Small Hotel of the Year: Jesmond Dene House – Newcastle; Tourism Pub of the Year: The Feathers Inn - Stocksfield, Northumberland; Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year: Blacksmiths Cottage – Alnwick, Northumberland; Sustainable Tourism Award: Woodhorn, Museum and Northumberland Archives - Ashington, Northumberland.