On Thursday 23rd March, the winners of the Visit York Tourism Awards were revealed at a prestigious awards ceremony at York Racecourse. The Visit York Tourism Awards, headline sponsored by LNER, celebrates the best of York’s businesses across tourism, hospitality and culture to win one of 16 trophies.
Hosted by previous Visit York Tourism Award winner Alicia Stabler, also known as Mad Alice from The Bloody Tour of York, and BBC’s Elly Fiorentini, the ‘Tourism Oscars of the North’ sees eligible winners across a number of categories automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023.
This year’s winners include Middletons Hotel, who take Large Hotel of the Year, with judges commenting on the ‘high-quality’ hotel and food, as well as praise for ‘team members who deliver great service’. The hotel’s General Manager, Adam Wardale, went on to win the national VisitEngland Award for Excellence in 2022 following his award win for Unsung Hero at last year’s Visit York Tourism Awards.
Small Hotel of the Year and Taste of England Award goes to Grays Court Hotel and The Bow Room Restaurant, with judges commenting that they were “hard to beat” offering a “unique stay” and “excellent” standard of food.
Elsewhere in accommodation, The Bishop & The Bison took the award for B&B and Guest House of the Year, with judges praising their “friendly and warm atmosphere” and “luxury”. The Dovecote Barns were awarded Self Catering Accommodation of the Year, judges commented that their “attention to detail shines through” and that “the personal touches were brilliant”.
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year was awarded to Wigwam Holidays Ball Hall Farm, with judges commenting that it was a location they’d “come back to again and again”.
No.1 by GuestHouse, York was awarded New Tourism Business of the Year. Judges praised the “positive attitude of this hotel” and that the “standards of service were excellent”.
This year’s awards introduced two new categories, including the Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award which was presented to Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens who were praised by judges for their “really outstanding application” and “a peaceful and tranquil environment”.
The second new award for 2023 was Cultural Venue of the Year, which was won by York Theatre Royal. Judges said they show “an excellent approach and passion for the future potential of theatre”.
York Theatre Royal also picked up a second award for Event or Festival of the Year with ‘An Evening with Kyiv City Ballet’. Judges commented that the “key here is the event sold out, the money raised for charity, but the biggest result was that the event was held in the first place”. The event raised over £25,000 for UNICEF’s Ukraine Appeal in June 2022. Kyiv City Ballet will be returning to York Theatre Royal on Thursday 30th March for another very special fundraising gala performance.
Next Door But One CIC took the Resilience and Innovation Award, with judges commenting that “the team should be commended for the adjustments made during the pandemic” and that they deliver “important and valued work”.
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year was awarded to Mother Shipton’s Cave, with judges commenting that “there was a large focus on cultural and historical aspects of the experience” and that they were “very well communicated”.
Castle Howard was awarded Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, with judges remarking on the “well-trained and enthusiastic” team members who focused on “providing a positive experience”.
Experience of the Year was awarded to The Cookery School at The Grand, York, with judges commenting on the “excellent” quality of food and that the experience was “interesting, engaging and interactive”.
York Gin took Retailer of the Year, with judges praising their “excellent initiatives” across the business supporting “staff, local producers, partners, sustainability and the community”.
Pub of the Year was awarded to The Drovers Arms Restaurant & Country Pub, with judges commenting on the “hard-working and pleasant” team and “good food”.
Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “A huge congratulations to our thoroughly deserving winners and finalists at this year’s Visit York Tourism Awards. Every single business and organisation nominated tonight is one of the reasons why York has been recognised as such a welcoming place to visit. The Visit York Tourism Awards celebrate the very best in tourism, hospitality and culture; many of our winners tonight will automatically be put forward to represent York at the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence – we wish them the very best of luck!”
David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “York has a huge amount to offer visitors and continues to be one of the most popular destinations on the LNER route. We’re therefore very proud to continue to support the Visit York Tourism Awards which shine a spotlight on the individuals and businesses that work tirelessly to make York a brilliant place to visit. On behalf of everyone at LNER, congratulations to everyone involved in this year’s awards.”
Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities said: “Congratulations to all finalists and winners who have demonstrated excellence in their sectors across tourism, hospitality and culture. They have all been rightly recognised as providing the very best experiences for residents and visitors to the city. Throughout York there are so many businesses that work hard to make our beautiful city so welcoming and vibrant. A huge well done to all the finalists, and congratulations to the winners for their impressive achievements.”
Notes to editors:
Winners of Visit York Tourism Awards 2023:
B&B and Guest House of the Year sponsored by Shambles Market
Winner: The Bishop & The Bison
Finalists: MonkBridge House, Westergate House, The Sidings Hotel & Restaurant
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by Greatest Hits Radio
Winner: Wigwam Holidays Ball Hall Farm
Finalists: Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges, York Meadows Camping & Caravan Park
Cultural Venue of the Year* sponsored by Latimer by Clarion Housing Group
Winner: York Theatre Royal
Finalists: York Mansion House, Grand Opera House York, York Barbican
Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award sponsored by The Fabl
Winner: Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens
Finalists: Avorium, Fairfax Corner
Event or Festival the Year* sponsored by LNER
Winner: York Theatre Royal - An Evening with Kyiv City Ballet
Finalists: York Proms, York Maze Hallowscream, Yorktoberfest, York Fashion Week
Experience of the Year sponsored by Destination Core
Winner: The Cookery School at The Grand, York
Highly Commended: The Wizard Walk of York
Finalists: The Hilt, The Deathly Dark Tours
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by Ward Hadaway
Winner: Castle Howard
Highly Commended: North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Finalists: The York Dungeon, The Web Adventure Park, JORVIK Viking Centre (York Archaeological Trust), The Hole in Wand York
Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Streamline Taxis
Winner: Middletons Hotel – part of Daniel Thwaites
Highly Commended: The Grand, York
Finalist: Malmaison York
New Tourism Business of the Year sponsored by PPS
Winner: No.1 by GuestHouse, York
Finalists: 22 Yards Wine Bar & Merchants, Avorium, A Brecks Away Holiday Cottages, The Wizard Walk of York
Pub of the Year sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd
Winner: The Drovers Arms Restaurant & Country Pub
Finalist: Valhalla York
Resilience & Innovation Award sponsored by York St John University
Winner: Next Door But One CIC
Finalists: City Sightseeing (Transdev), Yemen Heaven, The Deathly Dark Tours
Retailer of the Year* sponsored by Fidomoney
Winner: York Gin
Finalists: Avorium, Antiques Centre York, The Potions Cauldron
Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year sponsored by YO1 Radio
Winner: The Dovecote Barns
Finalists: Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges, A Brecks Away Holiday Cottages
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by VisiSoft
Winner: Mother Shipton's Cave
Finalists: York Army Museum, World of James Herriot
Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Inglis Chartered Accountants
Winner: Grays Court Hotel & The Bow Room Restaurant
Finalists: Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa, No.1 by GuestHouse, York
Taste of England Award sponsored by Fowlers of York
Winner: The Bow Room Restaurant at Grays Court Hotel
Finalists: Corner Grill House Restaurant, Chopping Block at Walmgate Ale House, The Raj York
*Visit York only. These categories are not eligible to go forward to the Visit England Awards for Excellence.
Find out more about the Visit York Tourism Awards 2023 at visityork.org/tourismawards
For more information, please contact:
Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer
Communications Team at Make It York
About Make It York:
Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, Shambles Market and festivals and events.
Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand.
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.