Sunderland and Durham venues among winners and runners-up in tourism awards

Seaham Hall
Seaham Hall
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Seaham Hall, National Glass Centre, Washington Wetland Centre and Durham University are among the winners and runners-up at a glittering ceremony to celebrate regional tourism.

Tonight, hundreds from across the tourism industry gathered at Newcastle Civic Centre’s banqueting hall for the North East England Tourism Awards 2015 to mark their contribution to the region’s visitor economy.

National Glass Centre

National Glass Centre

Winners included Durham University, who took home gold in the Business Tourism Award and Tourism Experience of the Year, and Seaham Hall who won gold in the Small Hotel of the Year.

It was a hotly-fought contest with National Glass Centre taking silver in Large Visitor Attraction of the Year and Washington Wetland Centre being award bronze in the Small Visitor Attraction category.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Huge congratulations to all of this year’s winners. It has been another outstanding year for entries with a high standard of entrants across the board.

“International events, in particular Rugby World Cup 2015, have given a huge boost to the local tourism industry this year, not only in Newcastle as host city, but across the whole of the North East. Such events present a fantastic opportunity to profile the breadth of the region’s tourism offer from cultural city-breaks to family holidays.

Leanne McCormella of the Washington Wetland Centre and one of their  'Call' ducks

Leanne McCormella of the Washington Wetland Centre and one of their 'Call' ducks

“The region is home to two World Heritage Sites, world-class museums and galleries, breathtaking countryside and dramatic coastline, and it’s fantastic to see the continued success of local businesses who contribute skills, knowledge and outstanding experiences to the industry as a whole.”

The awards were set up to highlight the regional visitor economy, which is worth an estimated £3.9bn. It employs more than 55,000 people in the North East, with an additional 730 jobs created over the last 12 months.

James Berresford, chief Executive VisitEngland, said: “Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners. I wish them the very best in competing for our VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2016.”

Organised and delivered, on behalf of the Northern Tourism Alliance, by NewcastleGateshead Initiative since 2012, entries have increased by over 70per cent in the last four years, making the 2015 awards the biggest to date.

Winners at the regional awards have the chance to showcase their business and the North East on the national stage at the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2016.

The Northern Tourism Alliance is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region.

Members include NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, The North East Hotels Association and local authorities South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council. The Awards are also supported by Active Northumberland.

Full list of winners

Tourism Pub of the Year

· The Bamburgh Castle Inn – GOLD

· The Angel of Corbridge – SILVER

· The Staith House – BRONZE

· The Bridge Tavern – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Business Tourism Award

· Event Durham, Durham University – GOLD

· NUFC & Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events – BRONZE

· Seaham Hall – BRONZE

Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year

· Leaplish Waterside Park- Northumbrian Water – GOLD

· Doe Park Caravan Site – SILVER

· Springhouse Country Park – BRONZE

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

· Morpeth Tourist Information & Craft Centre – GOLD

· Durham Pointers – SILVER

· North Shields Tourist Information Centre – SILVER

· Berwick upon Tweed Tourist Information Centre – BRONZE

Access for All Tourism Award

· NUFC & Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events – GOLD

· Sage Gateshead & GOTH – GOLD

· The Hog’s Head Inn – SILVER

· Calvert Trust Kielder – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Tourism Event of the Year

· Festival of Thrift – GOLD

· Magna Carta & the Changing Face of Revolt, Durham University – SILVER

· Funfair, Sage Gateshead – BRONZE

· Northumberland County Show – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

· Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books – GOLD

· Beamish, The Living Museum of the North – GOLD

· National Glass Centre – SILVER

· Sage Gateshead – BRONZE

Large Hotel of the Year

· Rockliffe Hall – GOLD

· Hotel Indigo Newcastle – SILVER

· Village Urban Resort Newcastle – HIGHLY COMMENDED

· Jurys Inn Newcastle – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Taste of England Award

· Martineau Guest House – GOLD

· Northumberland Cheese Company – SILVER

· The Orangery Restaurant at Rockliffe Hall – BRONZE

· Zeera Indian Cuisine – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Self-Catering Provider of the Year

· Blacksmith’s Cottage – GOLD

· Hesleyside Huts – SILVER

· Springhill Farm Holiday Accommodation – BRONZE

· Calvert Trust Kielder – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Small Hotel of the Year

· Seaham Hall – GOLD

· The Morritt Country House Hotel & Spa – GOLD

· Newton Hall – SILVER

· Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa – BRONZE

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Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

· Kielder Observatory – GOLD

· Auckland Castle – SILVER

· WWT Washington Wetland Centre – BRONZE

· Oriental Museum – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year

· St Cuthbert’s House – GOLD

· Martineau Guest House – BRONZE

· The Old Manse – BRONZE

· The Old Post Office, Lanchester – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Sustainable Tourism Award

· St Cuthbert’s House – GOLD

· Durham University – SILVER

· Sage Gateshead – SILVER

· Slate & Nature – HIGHLY COMMENDED

Tourism Experience of the Year

· Magna Carta & the Changing Face of Revolt, Durham University – GOLD

· Hall Hill Farm – SILVER

· Karting North East – BRONZE

· The Cycle HUB – HIGHLY COMMENDED