Plenty of East Lancashire businesses were crowned winners as the 2023 Lancashire Tourism awards took place last night.

Sponsored by The Lancashire Telegraph, the awards, which celebrate the best of tourism in the Red Rose County from last year, were held at Blackburn’s iconic King George’s Hall on Tuesday, February 6.

Judges were pressed to pick the best of the best from 24 categories, with local businesses such as Burnley’s Crow Wood Hotel and Spa, and Padiham’s The Lawrence Hotel, coming away victorious.

There were also wins for The Rum Fox in Grindleton and La Locanda in Gisburn.

One of Lancashire’s favourite radio broadcasters, John “Gilly” Gilmore was the evening’s guest presenter,  and shared his love of the county and its people with stories accumulated  over three and a half decades on air - something that won him the title of Tourism Superstar in the Lancashire Tourism Awards 2015. 

During the ceremony Gilly was joined on stage by a number of guest presenters and sponsors, who announced the winners of the 24 awards.

This year saw the addition of a new award, the Family Run or Owned Business of the Year, developed in association with sponsor Centre for Family Business at the Lancaster University Management School.

The winner of the award was Brickhouse Farm Cottages, one of Lancashire’s most accessible accommodation providers, created and run by Ian and Sue Rainford and their family members.

This win follows recent news that Ian and Sue have been nominated for the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar Award this year, for their outstanding achievements in the industry.

This was the second year that the Lancashire Tourism Awards has also recognised the future leaders of the industry, with the Tourism and Hospitality Student of the Year award in partnership with Headline Sponsor, UCLan.

This year’s winner was Kirsty Helme, a FDQ L3 diploma in professional bakery student from Blackpool and the Fylde College.

Kirsty was praised for her unwavering passion, progression in her job and the fabulous support and mentorship she offers to other students at the college.

The judges felt another finalist in this strong category was deserving of recognition and granted a ‘highly commended’ award to Negar Rezaei, a student on the NCFE L3 national extended diploma in travel and tourism course at Burnley College. 

Kirsty and Negar received their accolades from UCLan Professor Steven Rhoden.

This year’s Judges Award, selected by the judges across all the finalists, was awarded to Hotel Sheraton Blackpool by the chief executive of Blackpool’s much-anticipated Showtown Museum, Liz Moss. 

The judges particularly noted The Sheraton’s natural, intuitive and passionate approach to hospitality, as well as the kindness shown to customers and staff alike.

Earlier in the evening Vikki Harris, marketing and partnerships director of Marketing Lancashire opened the event and proudly addressed the audience, sharing with them the news of the Lancashire LVEP (Local Visitor Economy Partnership) status that places, “the Lancashire pin firmly in the national tourism map”.

She continued: “It is businesses like yours, the very best in the Lancashire, that can help us to do this by continuing to provide exceptional and distinctive experiences for your guests.”

Closing her speech Vikki said: “There is absolutely no shortage of pride, passion and ambition in this county, and we are always so impressed by the achievements of Lancashire’s business community and so very proud to champion all aspects of living, working and investing in Lancashire.”

Headline sponsor on the night was University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and destination sponsor was Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council.

Vikki also thanked the many other supporters and sponsors of the awards including: BAE Systems,  B&D Print Services, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Booths, Brindle Distillery, Burnley FC, Creative Council, Dewlay Cheesemakers, DFC, Good Intent Gifts, Harrison Drury Solicitors, Insight 6, Lancashire Business View, Lancashire Life, Lancashire Post, Lancashire Telegraph, Lancaster University Management School, Links Signs and Graphics, Northern Print Distribution, the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business and Total Foodservice.

The Winners

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism*

  • Blackpool Transport Services Ltd, Blackpool 
  • Brickhouse Farm Cottages, Hambleton 
  • Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative, Rivington 
  • The Estuary Riverside Chalets, Hambleton       WINNER
  • The Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre, Brock

Business Events Venue*

  • Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Resort, Burnley 
  • Tickled Trout Hotel, South Ribble 
  • Winter Gardens Blackpool, Blackpool WINNER

Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park*  

  • Hedgerow Luxury Glamping, Newsholme 
  • Pure Leisure Group, Lancaster 
  • The Secret Garden Glamping, Holland Moss, Skelmersdale     WINNER

Cultural Venue / Organisation

  • Blackburn Cathedral, Blackburn 
  • King George’s Hall, Blackburn 
  • The Dukes, Lancaster  WINNER
  • The Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery, Rawtenstall 
  • Winter Gardens Blackpool, Blackpool

Dog Friendly Business

  • Holland Hall, Up Holland 
  • Tewitfield Marina, Tewitfield / Carnforth 
  • The Lawrence Hotel, Padiham WINNER           

Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism*

  • Delta Hotels by Marriott Preston, Broughton 
  • Hedgerow Luxury Glamping, Newsholme 
  • Moss Wood Caravan Park, Cockerham              WINNER

Experience of the Year*

  • Black Knights Parachute Centre, Cockerham   WINNER
  • Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours, Blackpool

Family Owned / Run Business

  • Brickhouse Farm Cottages, Hambleton             WINNER
  • Fence Gate, Fence 
  • Elgin Hotel, Blackpool 
  • Frederick’s Ice Cream Ltd, Heath Charnock / Chorley 
  • JAK Hanson Shopping Outlet, Wrightington 
  • Mill House Farm Pods, Cockerham 
  • Partington’s Holiday Parks, Thornton-Cleveleys

Hotel Wedding Venue

  • Delta Hotels by Marriott Preston, Broughton 
  • Foxfields Country Hotel, Billington 
  • Glendower Hotel, St Annes 
  • Holland Hall, Up Holland           WINNER
  • Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho

Hospitality & Tourism Student

  • Kirsty Helme, Blackpool & The Fylde College   WINNER
  • Negar Rezaei, Burnley College – Highly Commended
  • Kai Rothwell, Burney College
  • Connor Tyler, Blackburn College

Large Event

  • Amazing Accrington Soapbox Challenge
  • Festa Italia, Lancaster
  • National Festival of Making, Blackburn.
  • The Great British R&B Festival, Colne
  • Vintage by the Sea, Morecambe            WINNER

Large Hotel *

  • Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Resort, Burnley           WINNER
  • Hotel Sheraton, Blackpool 
  • Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho 
  • The Glendower Hotel, St Annes

Pub of the Year*

  • Fence Gate, Fence 
  • Shireburn Arms, Hurst Green 
  • The Pendle Inn, part of Daniel Thwaites, Barley              WINNER

New Tourism Business*  

  • Assheton Arms, Downham 
  • Everything Retreat, Mellor 
  • Fell Urban Bistro, Longridge 
  • Mill House Farm Pods, Cockerham 
  • The Estuary Riverside Chalets, Hambleton 
  • The Hole in Wand Blackpool, Blackpool 
  • The Rum Fox, Grindleton           WINNER

Resilience & Innovation*

  • Blackpool Transport Service Ltd, Blackpool      WINNER
  • Holland Hall Hotel, Up Holland 
  • 3 Millstones Inn, West Bradford

Self-Catering Accommodation*

  • Everything Retreat, Mellor 
  • Kays Farm Retreat, Chorley 
  • The Estuary Riverside Chalets, Hambleton       WINNER
  • The Stables @Hall Green Farm, Longton

Small Event

  • Chorley Live
  • Chorley 10K
  • Chorley Flower Show
  • Coronation Event, Nelson
  • Darwen Live
  • Dino Fest, Lancaster
  • Music in the Park, Leyland        WINNER
  • Myerscough College & University Country Fair
  • Nestival Gin Festival, Brindle Distillery, Chorley
  • Stonyhurst Summer Festival of Sports, Hurst Green
  • Spooks at Thornton Hall Country Park, Thornton in Craven

Lancashire Perfect Stay – Small Serviced Accommodation Provider*

  • Bella Vista Lodge, Blackpool 
  • Fence Gate Lodge, Fence 
  • The Lawrence Hotel, Padiham  WINNER
  • The Millstone, Mellor, part of Daniel Thwaites, Mellor

Visitor Attraction*

  • Lancashire Police Museum, Lancaster 
  • The Hole in Wand Blackpool, Blackpool 
  • Windmill Animal Farm, Burscough        WINNER

Taste Lancashire*

  • CDJ Restaurant, Darwen 
  • Fell Urban Bistro, Longridge 
  • La Locanda, Gisburn    WINNER

Taste Lancashire Producer

  • Crave Marinades, Preston
  • Fairham Distillery, Penwortham
  • Lone Wolf Bakery, Morecambe
  • Lucela’s, Bispham
  • Mr Fitzpatrick’s, Rawtenstall
  • Sandgrown Spirits, Lytham       WINNER

Unsung Hero

  • Joanne Denton, Head of Weddings, Holland Hall          WINNER
  • Oli Martin, Chef Director/owner, Aven, Fell Urban Bistro & Foray Catering.
  • Simon Entwistle, Tour Guide, Top Hat Tours

Wedding Venue

  • Eaves Hall, West Bradford 
  • West Tower Wedding Venue, Aughton  WINNER
  • Wyre Weddings, Mount Pavilion, Fleetwood

The Judges’ Award – selected from all of this year’s finalists for special recognition

  • Hotel Sheraton, Blackpool        WINNER

* The winners of these categories will have the opportunity to represent Lancashire in the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 competition – subject to meeting criteria.

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