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Finalists Announced for York’s Tourism Oscars Putting the spotlight on York’s Tourism Superstars

Fifty three finalists have been revealed today for the annual Visit York Tourism Awards, billed as the Oscars of the city’s tourism sector. These prestigious awards will be staged on 26 May to shine the spotlight on excellence in tourism and reward outstanding service, innovation and quality. A five hundred strong audience from across York’s tourism sector is expected to attend the ceremony, to be held in the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum.

Over one hundred and fifty businesses from across the city, from hotels to restaurants, pubs to visitor attractions submitted their entries for the awards and a panel of independent judges will now decide on who will scoop an Oscar, through a mix of mystery shopping and rigorous analysis against the entry criteria.

Kate McMullen, Head of Tourism, Make It York, said, ‘We’re delighted to announce the finalists for the 2016 Tourism Awards, recognizing the cream of the crop in tourism across the city and beyond. This is an opportunity for businesses to celebrate the fantastic things achieved over the last year, rewarding their staff and recognizing the very best of York’s tourism sector.’

York has earned itself a reputation for its variety of cafés and tearooms, so this year, the category the public will get to vote on will be; ‘Best Café or Tearoom. Eight cafés will be battling it out to be crowned the best in York and winner will be decided by an online public vote. A social media campaign on Twitter ( and Facebook ( to encourage public voting via an online survey, will be launched today using the hashtags #faveyorkcafe and #VYTA16.

The fifteen award categories for 2016 are: Bed and Breakfast the Year; Café or Tearoom of the Year (the People’s Choice Award), Caravan Park or Holiday Village of the Year, Conference Venue of the Year, Family Friendly Experience of the Year, Hotel of the Year, Outstanding Customer Service of the Year, Pub of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Self-catering of the Year; Shopping Experience of the Year, Visitor Attraction of the Year (over 50,000 visitors), Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000), Visitor Experience of the Year and the highly prestigious title of York Tourism Ambassador.

Lionel Chatard, General Manager, Middlethorpe Hotel and Spa, said, ‘Being shortlisted in not one but two categories is absolutely brilliant news for the hotel. Winning an award would be a great honour for our hard-working team and we’re looking forward to the awards ceremony on 26 May.’

The prestigious Black Tie Awards ceremony announcing the winners will be held on Thursday 26 May at the National Railway Museum, compered by Gayle and Ben from Minster FM’s breakfast show. The title of Tourism Ambassador 2016 will be revealed on the night and all winners will have the opportunity to then go forward to the regional White Rose Awards and national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Tickets for the Awards ceremony go on sale this Friday 18 March at 0900. The ticket price is £55 (ex VAT), or the awards dinner package (table of 10) is £468 (ex VAT). Details on how to book tickets will be available on the Visit York website.

The Finalists are:

Best Bed and Breakfast
Bracken Lodge
No.21 York
The Bloomsbury

Best Café or Tearoom – The People’s Choice Award
Sponsored by Booker York

Café No.8
Cakes d’Licious
Countess of York – At the National Railway Museum
El Piano
Licc – Luxury Ice Cream Co
The Balloon Tree Café
The Farm Shop and Café - Wigginton
The Red House Café

Best Caravan Park or Holiday Village
Sponsored by Lloyds Bank

Forest Holidays Cropton
Naburn Lock Caravan Park
Robin Hood Caravan Park

Best Hotel
Sponsored by Streamline Taxis

Feversham Arms Hotel and Verbena Spa
Gray’s Court Hotel
Hotel Indigo
Middlethorpe Hall Hotel & Spa
Monkbar Hotel
Royal York Hotel

Best Pub
Sponsored by Webmart

The Golden Fleece
Walmgate Ale House
Shambles Tavern

Best Restaurant
Sponsored by Morrell Middleton

Middlethorpe Hall Hotel & Spa
Star Inn the City
Refectory Kitchen and Terrace – at the Royal York Hotel
The Rattle Owl
The Whippet Inn

Best Self-Catering
Sponsored by Be Independent

York Hop Store
Lendal Tower
The Riverside, York

Best Conference Venue
Sponsored by Saville Audio Visual

Bedern Hall
Royal York Hotel and Events Centre
York Racecourse

Outstanding Customer Service
Sponsored by Santander

Rebecca Palmer-Bunting - Robin Hood Caravan Park
Wendy Redfern - York Science Park
Stevie-Jo Todd -York Marriott Hotel
Jordi Vaca - The Grand Hotel & Spa

Family Friendly Experience
Sponsored by P&O

Go Ape – Dalby Forest
The Railway Children – York Theatre Royal at the National Railway Museum
York Maze

Best Shopping Experience
Sponsored by Fulprint

Il Gusto
The Cast Iron Bath Company

Best Visitor Attraction over 50,000 visitors
Sponsored by F.R. Fowler & Son

York Art Gallery
York Chocolate Story

Best Visitor Attraction under 50,000 visitors
Sponsored by York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership

Cold War Bunker
Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens
York Cycling Tours

Best Visitor Experience
Sponsored by York Data Services

Hallowscream at York Maze
Kaboom at Castle Howard
York Maze
York Theatre Royal


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

Notes to Editors:

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. The 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

New key tourism facts:
6.8 million visitors annually, £608 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,300 jobs

2015 Visit York Tourism Award Winners were:

Bed & Breakfast of the Year – Sponsored by Make it York
Winner - Bishops Guest House

Café/Tearoom of the Year – Sponsored by City of York Council
Winner - El Piano

Caravan Park of the Year – Sponsored by The Video Agency
Winner - Robin Hood Caravan Park

Conference Venue of the Year – Sponsored by Saville Audio Visual
Winner - York Racecourse

Family Friendly Experience of the Year – Sponsored by P & O Ferries
Winner - York Maze

Hotel of the Year – Sponsored by Streamline Taxi’s
Winner - The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

Outstanding Customer Service Award – Sponsored by Santander
Winner - Hilton Hotel, York - Donna Pryce

Pub/Bar of the Year – Sponsored by Webmart
Winner - The Blue Boar

Restaurant of the Year – Sponsored by Morrell Middleton
Winner - Middlethorpe Hall & Spa

Self-Catering Venue of the Year – Sponsored by Be Independent
The Dovecote Barns

Shopping Experience of the Year – Sponsored by Fulprint
Winner - Love Cheese

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Over 50,000 Visitors) – Sponsored by F.R. Fowler & Son
York Maze

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Under 50,000 Visitors) – Sponsored by York North Yorkshire East Riding Enterprise Partnership
Winner - Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland

Visitor Experience of the Year – Sponsored by York Data Services
Winner - York Maze – HallowScream

York Tourism Ambassador
Roger Lee - Director of Time and Place Catering, Bedern Hall and Chairman of the York Festival Trust