SOME of Staffordshire’s best tourism and food & drink businesses have been crowned at a glittering black-tie awards dinner.
Businesses from across the county were celebrating at the 2019 Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism & Good Food Awards, held at Aston Marina, Stone on Thursday .
The winners of 17 categories, including Alton Towers Resort (Large Visitor Attraction of the Year), Stoke-on-Trent’s Gladstone Pottery Museum (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year), and Lichfield’s Swinfen Hall Hotel (Small Hotel of the Year), were announced by BBC Midlands Today’s Joanne Malin before an audience of more than 150 guests.
Stone’s No26 at Aston Marina was named Independent Restaurant of the Year, while The Three Horseshoes Country Inn, near Leek, won the Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year award, and Denstone Hall Café was the Tea Room & Coffee Shop of the Year.
The Borehole in Stone won the Pub of the Year award, while the Historic Narrowboat Experience at Middleport Pottery was successful in the Experience of the Year category.
Coun Mark Winnington, cabinet member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council and deputy chair of Destination Staffordshire, said: “A huge well done to our winners and finalists, and to all our amazing tourism providers who continue to do us proud in attracting thousands of visitors to the county each year.
“Tourism is an important sector for Staffordshire and I continue to be impressed with the quality and drive for perfection from our businesses.
“They play a vital role in our overall economy, bringing in around £1.8billion each year, and sustaining tens of thousands of jobs.
“Without the dedication and hard work of our tourism and hospitality businesses this wouldn’t be possible, so I would like to pass on my thanks to them all.”
Other winners included the CBeebies Land Hotel at Alton Towers Resort which won Large Hotel of the Year, and The Little George in Eccleshall won the B&B and Guest House of the Year award.
Quarry Walk Park near Alton was the Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year, the Self-Catering Accommodation award went to Heywood Hall in Denstone, and the New Tourism Business of the Year was The Parlour at Greenacres, near Denstone.
Aspects at the National Memorial Arboretum was named the Business Events Venue of the Year, and Beechenhill Farm won the Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award, while the Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable award went to Alton Towers Resort, their third gold of the evening.
There was also a special award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism in Staffordshire presented to Ian Crabbe, Manager Director, Resort Theme Parks for Merlin Entertainments, in recognition of the decade he was Divisional Director at Alton Towers Resort.
The winners of 14 categories will now go on to represent Staffordshire at the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, to be held in June 2020.
Category sponsors at the 2019 Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism & Good Food Awards were RH Advertising, the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub, Staffordshire Business & Environment Network and the NFU Mutual’s Stone Agency.