Finalists in the Visit York Tourism Awards, sponsored by LNER, have been revealed today. The prestigious awards ceremony returns on Thursday 23rd April 2020 with the best of York’s businesses going head to head to win one of 17 trophies. The event aims to shine a spotlight on excellence in York’s tourism sector and reward outstanding service, innovation and quality. 

These prestigious ‘Tourism Oscars of the North’ will be hosted by Minster FM Breakfast Show Presenter Ben Fry and will be held in the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum. Eligible winners across a number of categories will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020 to compete for the crown of the country’s best.

New categories for 2020 include the ‘International Tourism Award’ which celebrates businesses who create exceptional experiences for international visitors, the ‘Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award’ which highlights businesses that provide the best experiences for visitors with accessibility requirements and ‘Event of the Year’ which rewards truly memorable and immersive activities.

Paul Whiting, Head of Marketing & Communications at Make It York, said: “We are so proud of the vibrant and flourishing tourism sector in York, which welcomes 8.4 million visit to the city each year. There are so many organisations around the city working incredibly hard year round to deliver the highest quality visitor experiences - and these awards will reward those who are truly exceptional in their field. Good luck to all finalists – we all look forward to celebrating the successes at the ceremony in April. ”

David Horne, Managing Director, LNER, said:  “We’re delighted to support Visit York’s annual tourism awards which really showcases the brilliant work that goes in the city to create amazing visitor experiences.  York has so much to offer visitors and we’re proud to help so many people travel to the region each year. Congratulations to all the businesses who have been shortlisted! ” 

Bridget Meynell, Managing Director, Minster FM and Chair of the Judging panel said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to be returning again as Chair of the panel of Judges. Each year, the competition has been fierce, and narrowing down the choices is always a challenge for the panel who give generously of their time to this process. York Tourism businesses work so hard to make our beautiful city so welcoming and I congratulate all the entrants for their willingness to share their achievements and wish them all success in their sectors.”

Visit York Tourism Awards Finalists 2020:

B&B and Guest House of the Year – sponsored by

  • No.21 York
  • Woodlands Farm Thimbleby

Business Events Venue of the Year – sponsored by Sparq (Saville AV)

  • Novotel
  • The Grand, York
  • York Barbican
  • York Racecourse

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year

  • Vale of Pickering Caravan Park
  • Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges
  • York Holiday & Cycle Stop

Experience of the Year

  • Castle Howard
  • The Bloody Tour of York
  • The Cookery School at The Grand, York
  • Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Event of the Year* – sponsored by P&O Ferries

  • JORVIK Viking Festival
  • York Maze Hallowscream
  • York Minster Northern Lights

International Tourism Award – sponsored by City Cruises York

  • OE Media
  • The Grand, York

Large Hotel of the Year – sponsored by Streamline Taxis

  • Grantley Hall
  • Hotel Indigo York
  • The Grand, York
  • The Principal Hotel

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – sponsored by Fowlers of York

  • Castle Howard
  • JORVIK Viking Centre
  • National Railway Museum

New Tourism Business of the Year

  • Grantley Hall
  • Northwood Trail, England’s Fairy Sanctuary
  • OE Media
  • Yorkshire Appetite Food Tours

Pub of the Year – sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd

  • House of Trembling Madness (Lendal)
  • The Ackhorne
  • The Botanist York
  • The Drovers Arm Restaurant & Country Pub

Self Catering Accommodation of the Year – sponsored by HomeAway

  • Serenity Inn the City
  • The Enchantment Chamber
  • Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges

Shop of the Year*

  • Bluebird Bakery
  • The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café
  • The Shop That Must Not Be Named
  • York Gin

Small Hotel of the Year

  • Dean Court Hotel
  • Grays Court Hotel
  • The Parisi Hotel

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

  • Barley Hall
  • Energi Trampoline Park
  • Locked in Games York
  • Mother Shipton’s Cave
  • York Army Museum

Taste of York Award – sponsored by Morrell Middleton

  • Plush Café
  • Roots York
  • The Star Inn The City
  • The Whippet Inn
  • The York Roast Co

Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award – sponsored by Yorkshire Gas & Power
To be revealed at the awards ceremony

Tourism Champion of the Year* – sponsored by LNER
To be revealed at the awards ceremony

The Tourism Champion award category is in recognition of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to York’s Tourism Industry.  The winner will be revealed on the night.

For the Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award there was one outstanding entry which the judges wanted to ensure was recognised for the huge amount of work they had done in this area to improve the visitor experience – the winner in this category will also be announced on the night.

Tickets for the event go on sale on Friday 7th February at 9am.   

*Visit York only. These categories are not eligible to go forward to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.


For further information please contact:
Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 555680

Notes to Editors:

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, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

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.

Key tourism facts:
8.4 million visitors annually, £765 million total visitor spend, supporting 24,000 jobs

The winners of the Visit York Tourism Awards 2019 were:

Pub or Bar of the Year
Sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd
Winner: Walmgate Ale House

Self Catering Venue of the Year
Sponsored by HomeAway 
Winner: York Old Brewery
Highly Commended: The House at Crooked End

Conference Venue of the Year
Sponsored by Saville Group
Winner: The Principal York

Newcomer of the Year
Sponsored by Hungate York Regeneration
Winner: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre

Bed & Breakfast or Guest House of the Year
Sponsored by
Winner: Tower Guest House

Tourism Supplier of the Year
Sponsored by P&O Ferries
Winner: York Gin

Hotel of the Year
Sponsored by Streamline Taxis
Winner: Grays Court Hotel

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Over 50,000 Visitors)
Sponsored by Fowlers of York
Winner: City Cruises York

Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000 visitors)
Sponsored by City Cruises York
Winner: World of James Herriot

Guided Tour of the Year
Sponsored by Colour Options
Winner: The Bloody Tour of York

Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by Morrell Middleton 
Winner: Roots, York

Café or Tearoom of the Year
Sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors
Winner: The Principal Hotel Garden Room

Shop of the Year
Sponsored by Minster FM
Winner: The Shop That Must Not Be Named

Innovation in Tourism
Sponsored by The University of York
Winner: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre
Highly Commended: Yorkshire’s Jurassic World at the Yorkshire Museum

Visitor Experience of the Year
Sponsored by Yorkshire Gas & Power
Winner: York Maze Hallowscream

Visit York Tourism Champion 2019
Sponsored by LNER
Awarded to: James Cundall MBE