[T]he winners of the 14th Cumbria Tourism Awards were revealed at a glittering ceremony held at Cartmel Racecourse last night (Wednesday 22 June).
The evening was the biggest celebration of the very best of Cumbria’s tourism industry the county has ever seen. Hundreds of tourism professionals representing businesses from around the county eagerly gathered to hear one of the North’s best-loved funny men, comedian, actor, writer and radio presenter Justin Moorhouse – loved for his role as the tiger faced Young Kenny of Phoenix Nights – announce the winners.
This year, in addition to the awards, the 2016 Bernard Gooch Tourism Personality of the Year Award was awarded to Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, Nigel Wilkinson, for the outstanding contribution he has made to Cumbria.
The award is managed by the Commercial Members’ Committee at Cumbria Tourism and gives recognition to those who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution over and above their normal duties to enhance the visitor economy and reputation of Cumbria. Recent previous winners include farmer and author James Rebanks, Paul Loftus, the organiser of the annual Fred Whitton Challenge cycling event and the renowned Cumbrian chef Simon Rogan.
Cumbria Tourism’s annual awards are open to a whole range of tourism related businesses including; hotels, guest accommodation, holiday parks, visitor attractions and tourism employees, which make up the county’s thriving tourism industry. They celebrate the best of Cumbria’s tourism businesses, the talented individuals behind them and a chance to applaud their hard work and dedication, which drives an economy worth over £2.6 billion each year.
Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “Last night we celebrated the very best of what Cumbria has to offer and reinforced why the county is the nations’ favourite holiday destination. Everybody involved in this industry should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved and in particular I would like to thank last night winners and finalists for their outstanding achievement, continuous hard work and their special contribution to Cumbria’s £2.6 billion tourism industry.”
This year, due to the high standard of entries, an unprecedented number of finalists were shortlisted in the competition and nearly 400 guests gathered to hear the winners announced and enjoy a 3-course dinner served by Rowley’s Offside at Cartmel Racecourse.
2016 saw the introduction of two new categories:
- Wedding Venue of the Year – recognising those businesses which host weddings of exceptional quality and provide unique and innovative experiences for the couple and their guests.
- The B&B of the Year Award – celebrates Cumbria’s best smaller, family or owner run B&Bs with 5 or fewer letting rooms (while the Guest Accommodation of the Year Award is now aimed at those larger guest houses, inns or restaurants with rooms which may offer a wider range of services to their guests).
Across all the categories, the judges were looking for excellence in all areas of business practice. Winning businesses have proved they are providing memorable visitor experiences, an exceptional quality of product and exemplary customer service, as well as (where applicable) using the best, fresh, local ingredients and making a contribution to the long-term sustainability of their local community.
Many of the winners from the awards will go on to represent the county at the Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2017. Cumbria has seen a great deal of success at national level in recent years, resulting in fantastic media promotion for the winning businesses and Cumbria – the Lake District as a quality visitor destination.
Each category winner received a certificate and a specially commissioned award handcrafted by award-winning architectural and sculptural metalworkers Chris Brammall Ltd in Ulverston.
Cumbria Tourism would like to thank their sponsors for making the event possible, they include: Armstrong Watson, Bedrock Gin, Burnetts Solicitors, Cartmel Racecourse, Chris Brammall Ltd, Colliers International, Cumberland Business, Cumbria Tourism, Enterprise Answers, G1 Creative Colourmedia, H&H Reeds Printers, Kendal College, Lakeland Radio, Lamont Pridmore, Napthens Solicitors, NatWest Commercial Banking, Out of Eden, Rowley’s Offside and the University of Cumbria.
The 2016 winners are:
Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Armstrong Watson
- Waterhead, Ambleside
Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Colliers International
- The Leathes Head Country House Hotel, Borrowdale
Guest Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
- Askham Hall, Askham
B&B of the Year sponsored by Cumberland Business
- Whitrigg House, Clifton
Self-Catering Holiday of the Year sponsored by Out of Eden
- Waternook Lakeside Accommodation, Howtown WINNER
- Mill House Cottages, Kirkby Lonsdale HIGHLY COMMENDED
Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by NatWest Commercial Banking
- Park Cliffe Camping and Caravan Estate, Windermere
Tourism Experience of the Year sponsored by Cumbria Tourism
- Lakeland Segway, Cartmel WINNER
- The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite HIGHLY COMMENDED
Tourism Event of the Year sponsored by G1 Colourmedia
- Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club
Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by H&H Reeds Printers
- Steam Yacht Gondola, Coniston WINNER
- Lakeland Climbing Centre, Kendal HIGHLY COMMENDED
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by Burnetts Solicitors
- Ullswater Steamers
Taste Cumbria sponsored by Enterprise Answers (2 sub categories):
Taste Cumbria Dining Experience of the Year
- The Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter Forest WINNER
- George and Dragon, Clifton HIGHLY COMMENDED
Taste Cumbria Retailer of the Year
- Low Sizergh Barn, Nr Kendal WINNER
- Grasmere Gingerbread, Grasmere HIGHLY COMMENDED
Wedding Venue of the Year sponsored by Napthens Solicitors
- Askham Hall, Askham
Sustainable Tourism Award sponsored by University of Cumbria
- FSC Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld
The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence
- Hilary Hutchinson, Lakeland Chauffeurs, Windermere
Tourism Pub of the Year
- The Wheatsheaf, Brigsteer
New Tourism Business Award
- Threlkeld Coffee Shop, Threlkeld
To find out more about the Cumbria Tourism Awards visit www.cumbriatourism.org/awards