A North Yorkshire castle has been named the Best Historical Visitor Attraction in the prestigious Northern Enterprise Awards 2023.

The 14th Century Bolton Castle, near Leyburn, is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Britain. Sir Richard Le Scrope, then Lord Chancellor for England under Richard II had it built between 1378 and 1399. Its dramatic history saw fires and devastation during the Civil War, and it was one of the bases used to imprison Mary Queen of Scots.

Now a major tourist attraction, part of the huge, impressive buildings is a ruin, but parts have been restored and are used for weddings and other events.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The Awards have been made through SME News. The site was applauded for its commitment to offering excellence in visitor service; a compelling events programme and success in securing additional income by offering the castle as a private event and wedding venue.

Jacqui Naylor, general manager at the castle , said: "We are aware that we are a hidden gem in the North Yorkshire countryside and compared to some of Yorkshire’s larger visitor attractions, we need to work hard to ensure our visitor offer meets the challenge of the 21st Century visitor market.

"Our team here is exceptional, providing a daily welcome and liaison with our visitors of an extremely high standard. We are grateful to our visitors for our phenomenal reviews and appreciate the time they take to let us know how much they have enjoyed their visit. Much of what we do is included with entry and in these straitened times we are aware just how much that can mean to our visitors.

"We pride ourselves on working hard to build an innovative programme of events and activities that appeals to all our visitors and enables them to spend an entire day at a castle that for some may be at the end of a significant journey. Our second tier of business is our wedding offer which builds year after year and now competes with many of Yorkshire’s very best wedding locations.

"We are all about ‘people’ here, whether that’s our own teams, our daily visitors or our wedding couples. I think that focus has led to our success as an SME and I am more than delighted to accept the award on behalf of everyone here."

The Northern Enterprise Awards for 2023 are awarded in January 2024.