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It's fair to say that 2020 has been a challenging year so far! However, that hasn't stopped the very best attractions, restaurants and places to stay across the North East from picking up a coveted North East England Tourism Award at this year's prestigious online ceremony.

A wide range of North East independent businesses scooped the gold awards in the virtual ceremony that was hosted on Facebook Live in April. Many more received silver, bronze and highly commended awards and despite the corona-cloud hanging over the UK, these excellent venues celebrated their well-deserved wins. All the shortlisted hotels, experiences, pubs and attractions make Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider North East a must-visit place to come for long weekends, family staycations and city breaks with your best mates.

The global coronavirus pandemic has called a temporary halt to our travel plans but it has also made each one of us appreciate the simple pleasure of visiting an art gallery, going to the theatre or discovering a new restaurant. We can't wait to welcome you all back to NewcastleGateshead when it is safe to do so - whether that's for your first or fiftieth visit - but until then, stay safe and travel tomorrow.

Let us walk you through the fantastic winners of this year's North East England Tourism Awards and give you some UK travel inspiration for post-lockdown visits to NewcastleGateshead.

The Gold Standard for Where to Stay

Maldron luxury hero

If you're looking for an award-winning bed to rest your head after a busy time exploring Newcastle and Gateshead then check out the gold award winners of this year's North East England Tourism Awards. There are six categories dedicated to finding the very best accommodation in the North East from cosy self-catering cottages to luxurious large hotels.

    Maldron Hotel (pictured), gold award winner in the New Tourism Business Award category, is a recent addition to Newcastle’s hotel scene and is a top choice for visitors who want sleek, 4-star luxury in the heart of bustling Newcastle city centre.  Matfen Hall Hotel beat off plenty of stiff competition to be crowned Large Hotel of the Year 2020, including from Newcastle’s prestigious The Vermont Hotel (who won Bronze in the category). Matfen Hall has excellent golf and spa facilities just 30-minute drive from Newcastle city centre. 

    Visitors who would prefer to spend a summer staycation in Newcastle and Gateshead's surrounding coast and countryside will be interested in the Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year award. The North East offers some of the best holiday parks, with friendly and enthusiastic staff ready to welcome visitors and the gold award went to Seafield Caravan Park near Seahouses, Northumberland. If you’re looking for an idyllic self-catering cottage then gold award winners St Oswald’s Farm was awarded the top spot in the Self-Catering Accommodation Provider of the Year category, recognised for it’s excellent customer service and exceptional standard. Plus, you’ll be in stunning Hadrian’s Wall country!

    Perhaps the cream of the tourism award crop is St Cuthbert’s House in Northumberland. The B&B has won gold in the B&B and Guest House of the Year category for an impressive 8 consecutive years. Enough said!

    Inspiration for Award-Winning Things To Do 

    CBK Adventure Co HERO Things to Do

    Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider North East are packed with brilliant attractions, venues and museums. The art and culture scene is diverse; there are unique and memorable experiences galore, opportunity for fun family-friendly days out and fascinating history to explore.

    The coveted gold award for the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year went to Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden – a free, family-friendly attraction with everything from local history, art and a winter garden! This was another tough category with all attractions in the running worthy of their awards and definitely should be on your list of places to visit, from silver award winner The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland to Newcastle’s Great North Museum: Hancock and Gateshead's Beamish Museum which both won highly-commended in this competitive category.

      It was a double whammy for Northumberland small attraction Falconry Days who won two gold awards at this year’s Tourism Awards. The small visitor attraction in Northumberland is a brilliant day out for families to NewcastleGateshead and was awarded for its outstanding experience giving visitors a chance to see birds of prey in action. Bronze winners of the Small Visitor Attraction AwardArbeia Roman Fort in South Shields, is a great attraction for visitors interested in North East heritage and the region’s fascinating link to the Roman Empire.

        If you’re looking for a unique experience then you should definitely join Experience of the Year gold award winners CBK’s Adventure Co. (pictured) and take to the water for some paddle-boarding or kayaking. Why not take a guided kayak tour along the River Tyne and experience NewcastleGateshead Quayside from a new angle?

          Two highly commended attractions in the New Tourism Business Award category were STACK Newcastle and Spanish City in Whitley Bay. If you’re looking for lively entertainment with a group of mates (post-lockdown of course!) where live music meets fresh street food and outdoor, al fresco vibes then STACK in the centre of Newcastle is for you.

          If you are looking for a dash of sophistication, the best in fish and chips or a champagne lunch then head to the stunning Spanish City, which cuts a dramatic silhouette against the popular coastline at Whitley Bay.

          Award-Winning Food and Drink

          Dobson Parnell Hero 2

          No city break in Newcastle and Gateshead would be complete without indulging in top-notch food and the best restaurants and places to eat in the region. Add Dobson and Parnell (pictured) to your list of places to eat in Newcastle post-lockdown. The gold award winners of the Taste of North East England Award, Dobson and Parnell found on Newcastle’s Quayside serves a refined British and European inspired menu in a stylish yet unpretentious setting.

          If you’re still after top quality food but in the comfort of a great pub, then head to Pub of Year 2020, The Apple Inn in Northumberland. A little closer to home is The Botanist in the centre of Newcastle which recently updated its menu and was given a well-deserved highly commended in the pub of the year category.

          Sustainability and Accessibility in NewcastleGateshead

          Sage Gateshead Hero 2

          The worthy winner of the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award was heritage attraction South Tynedale Railway which was recognised for its efforts to improve their sustainability. Live music venue Sage Gateshead (pictured) on Gateshead Quayside won a bronze award in the sustainable tourism category. In fact, Sage Gateshead was the biggest winner at this year's ceremony also walking away with two gold awards! One of Sage Gateshead’s gold awards was for the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award. The judges were ‘blown away’ by Sage Gateshead and its superb accessibility features. Sage Gateshead is a brilliant place to experience live music of many genres, learn a new musical skill, take part in family friendly activities or enjoy a cuppa overlooking NewcatleGaeshea Quayside.

          Well done to all the winners...

          Read the full list of winners here of the North East Tourism Award 2020.

          Eligible winners of the North East England Tourism Awards will be automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020 - Good luck to all the winners!

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