WHILE the nominations couldn’t congregate as usual for the annual awards ceremony, the North East Tourism Awards still went ahead this year.

The ceremony was held online and Tynedale businesses clinched top prizes as they mixed it among the best of the region’s firms.

Bird of prey centre Falconry Days, based at Stonehaugh, near Wark, was a double winner as it triumphed in the International Business and Small Visitor Attraction categories. It was also highly commended in Experience of the Year.

Other success for Tynedale businesses came in the form of Alston-based South Tynedale Railway in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism class; Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa in the Large Hotel category and St Oswald’s Farm, in Wall, in the Self-Catering Accommodation Provider section.

Sarah Green, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative which organised the awards, said: “

“Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the sector but these awards demonstrate the quality of the North-East tourism offer and gives us confidence that once the current situation eases the region will be in a strong place to benefit from a predicted upturn in domestic and day tourism.

“Along with our colleagues in tourism organisations across the North-East, we will continue to invest in marketing, with a strong digital and media presence, to ensure that tourists are aware of our fantastic region and have us front of mind when planning for future visits.”

Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant, in Wark, was second in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism category to South Tynedale Railway, which was also recognised in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category, earning a bronze award.

Bellingham-based Hesleyside Huts won silver in the Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park class, in which Herding Hill Farm Touring, Camping and Glamping Site, in Haltwhistle, was highly commended.

Tynedale was well represented in the Small Hotel category, with Walwick Hall, at Humshaugh, earning silver, Blanchland’s Lord Crewe Arms bronze and Battlesteads highly commended.

The Angel of Corbridge was runner-up and Bardon Mill’s Twice Brewed Inn third in Pub of the Year, while Wall-based Restaurant Hjem won silver, Battlesteads bronze and Barrasford Arms was highly commended in the Taste of North East England award.