On Thursday 3rd March, the winners of the Visit York Tourism Awards, sponsored by LNER, were revealed at the prestigious awards ceremony. Held at York Racecourse, the best of York’s businesses went head-to-head to win one of 15 trophies.
Hosted by YorkMix Radio Breakfast Presenters, Ben Fry and Laura Castle, the ‘Tourism Oscars of the North’ sees eligible winners across a number of categories automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2022.
This year’s winners include two awards for Gray’s Court and The Bow Room Restaurant, who take the Taste of York award and Small Hotel of the Year with judges commenting on an “outstanding experience”. They will now be put forward for VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence, which they won in 2020 for Small Hotel of the Year.
New Tourism Business of the Year goes to The Deathly Dark Tours, which judges said had “quickly become one of the most popular tours in York”. Dorian Deathly is also a finalist for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar, with the public vote still open until 22nd March.
JORVIK Viking Centre takes the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award with judges commenting that the “world-class attraction” scored a “10 out of 10 experience”. While the Small Attraction of the Year goes to North Yorkshire’s Mother Shipton’s Cave, with judges praising the “magical experience” and the “enthusiasm of the staff”.
York Maze is crowned Event of the Year, with judges “particularly impressed by the constant reinvestment and innovations that make York Maze an excellent summer event year after year.” A special mention is given to the Highly Commended ‘That JORVIK Viking Thing’ for reaching “a global audience with an amazing array of events and activities”.
The Bloody Tour of York takes the award for Experience of the Year, with judges commenting on “a top quality quirky and memorable York experience that has fans from all over the globe”.
York Gin is awarded Shop of the Year, for their “interesting and unique retail experience”, and Drover’s Arms takes Pub of the Year with judges “impressed with the many changes that the team have implemented over the past year to deal with the various covid restrictions, and with how they have come out of the pandemic stronger.”
In accommodation, The Grand, York “once again delivered a true five-star experience for York” winning the Large Hotel of the Year award. Heritage Escapes takes Self Catering Accommodation of the Year, with “a near faultless experience”.
Tower Guest House is awarded B&B and Guest House of the Year with the researcher finding “no room for improvement” and Wigwam Holidays Ball Hall Farm takes Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year for being “an impressive venue”.
The Visit York Tourism Awards 2022 introduced two new categories, including the Resilience & Innovation Award. This award honours organisations who have built on their strengths, innovated their business and showed incredible resilience during a difficult time for the industry. The judges commented that “the team at The Web Adventure Park has demonstrated incredible resilience during a very challenging time. We were impressed by their grit and determination, with their campaigning on behalf of all indoor soft play areas and with how they put children's mental health so high on their agenda.”
The second new award for 2022, the Unsung Hero category recognises an individual working for a tourism business who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry. The judges commented that this “was a very difficult category to judge as each of the finalists has gone above and beyond. Adam Wardale at Middletons is a very deserving winner. As well as being instrumental in transforming the hotel into a luxury destination, he has undertaken a number of initiatives to benefit the community such as his work with local prisoners. He is inspiring and a credit to York.”
This year’s charity partner for the Visit York Tourism Awards is the Family Holiday Charity, which will be fundraising throughout the evening to raise funds for families to experience their first holidays.
Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “All of the finalists and winners of this year’s Visit York Tourism Awards have a lot to be proud of. After an incredibly challenging couple of years for our tourism industry, they’ve demonstrated perseverance, resilience and creativity. We’re so pleased to be able to celebrate their achievements this evening and offer a huge congratulations to all of our winners.”
David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “We are pleased to support the Awards to help celebrate the individuals and businesses that make York such an attractive destination, with thousands of visitors travelling with us to this great city and wider region every week. Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners. We are proud of the role LNER plays in York’s tourism industry, with our business delivering an annual contribution of more than £486 million to the Yorkshire and Humber economy. We’re already looking forward to welcoming more people to York this year to enjoy and experience the world-class attractions, sights and shops on offer.”
Councillor Darryl Smalley: Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “York is well known for its vibrant and flourishing tourism sector and these awards give us the chance to celebrate the incredible businesses that York is lucky enough to be home to. It is a significant achievement to be shortlisted amongst so many excellent businesses. Congratulations to the well-deserved winners of this year’s awards for all they contribute to our city!”
Visit York Tourism Awards Winners 2022:
B&B and Guest House of the Year - Sponsored by Morrell Middleton
Winner: Tower Guest House
Finalists: MonkBridge House, Westergate House
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year - Sponsored by The Fabl
Winner: Wigwam Holidays Ball Hall Farm
Finalists: Springwood Shepherd Huts Glamping York, Wolds Walk Glamping
Experience of the Year - Sponsored by Destination Core
Winner: The Bloody Tour of York
Finalists: Castle Howard, The Deathly Dark Tours, The Cookery School at The Grand, York,
Event of the Year – Sponsored by Rugby League World Cup
Winner: York Maze
Highly Commended: That JORVIK Viking Thing
Finalists: The Great Ryedale Maze, York Balloon Fiesta
Large Hotel of the Year - Sponsored by Streamline Taxis
Winner: The Grand, York
Highly Commended: Sandburn Hall Hotel
Finalists: Hotel Indigo York, Middletons Hotel, The Principal York
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year - Sponsored by YO1 Radio
Winner: JORVIK Viking Centre
Finalists: The York Dungeon, York Art Gallery, York’s Chocolate Story
New Tourism Business of the Year - Sponsored by City Cruises
Winner: The Deathly Dark Tours
Finalists: Malmaison York, Sandburn Hall Hotel, York Riverside Apartments
Pub of the Year – Sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd
Winner: The Drovers Arms Restaurant & Country Pub
Finalists: House of Trembling Madness Lendal, House of Trembling Madness Stonegate
Self Catering Accommodation of the Year - Sponsored by Clarion Housing
Winner: Heritage Escapes (York)
Finalists: Roomzzz Aparthotels – York City, Staycity Aparthotels, The Enchantment Chamber, The Riverside York (Finalist)
Resilience and Innovation Award - Sponsored by Fabler & Co
Winner: The Web Adventure Park
Finalists: The Deathly Dark Tours, The Drovers Arms Restaurant & Country Pub, The North Yorkshire Moors Railway, The Web Adventure Park, Trembling Madness Ltd, York Gin
Shop Experience of the Year* - Sponsored by Fidomoney
Winner: York Gin
Finalists: The Antiques Centre York, York’s Chocolate Story
Small Hotel of the Year - Sponsored by Hospitality Staffing
Winner: Grays Court Hotel & The Bow Room Restaurant
Finalists: Galtres Lodge, The Judge’s Lodging
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year - Sponsored by Fowlers of York
Winner: Mother Shipton’s
Finalists: Fairfax House, York Army Museum
Taste of York Award – Sponsored by The York Roast Co.
Winner: The Bow Room Restaurant at Grays Court Hotel
Finalists: Forest at Galtres Lodge, Mr Chippy York, Plush Café, The Drovers Arms Restaurant & Country Pub
Unsung Hero Award - Sponsored by LNER
Winner: Adam Wardale, General Manager at Middletons Hotel
Finalists: Frank Caulfield, Porter at Dean Court Hotel and Norbert Lawrie, Kitchen Porter at Galtres Lodge
*Visit York only. These categories are not eligible to go forward to the Visit England Awards for Excellence.
Photos from the awards ceremony will be available on Friday 4th March.
For further information please contact:
Sarah Foster, Communications Manager at Make It York
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, 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.
About Family Holiday Charity
We help families get time away together, often for the first time ever.
We’re here for families’ children who have never seen the sea, for teenagers who can’t remember when they last saw their mum smile. For parents having to choose between a day out and a new pair of school shoes. For young carers, kinship carers, families facing illness isolation and bereavement.
Holidays open up new possibilities. There’s time to reconnect, to try new things, and to make happy memories together. Time for running, playing, climbing trees and flying kites, time for picnics and bare feet. There’s time enough to share a laugh and watch the tide come in - for buckets and spades and sandy sandwiches.