SIXTEEN of York’s top tourism businesses celebrated a win in the Visit York annual Tourism Awards last night.

The winners were announced at a ceremony held in the Station Hall of the National Railway Museum.

Two new categories were introduced this year with York Gin scooping the title of ‘Best Tourism Supplier’ and Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre being crowned for their efforts in ‘Innovation in Tourism’.

Marking its 22nd year, the Visit York Tourism Awards celebrate those who offer that extra special service and experience for York’s 6.9 million visitors, recognising and rewarding excellence in the city’s multi-million pound tourism sector.

In two of the most hotly contested categories, Grays Court scooped ‘Hotel of the Year’ award for the second year running, and the title of the ‘Large Attraction of the Year’ went to City Cruises York.

Fresh off of their success from the National Restaurant Awards Top 100 list, Tommy Banks’ Roots scooped the ’Restaurant of the Year’ title.

World of James Herriot received the title of the ‘Small Attraction of the Year’, while the team behind the York Maze Hallowscream were frightfully pleased with the ‘Visitor Experience of the Year’ accolade. The Shop That Must Not Be Named was awarded the title of the ‘Shop of the Year’ for their magical ability to bring people from around the globe to experience the world of wizardry.

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said: “We congratulate all the winners and finalists of this year’s Tourism Awards for their continued dedication for improving the visitor experience in the city and beyond. The tourism offer in York is outstanding and each year we are continually impressed with what is achieved.”

David Horne, managing director of headline sponsor LNER said: “It was great to celebrate some of the brilliant individuals and businesses that help make York such a fantastic place to visit. As a result of their hard work, we see people from across the world travelling with us to the region to see the famous sites and attractions on offer.

“I’d like to say a big congratulations to all the winners and those shortlisted for a fantastic year.”

Sixteen businesses sponsored the awards, which included a black tie dinner, prize draw and live music by local band the Y Street Band. Proceeds from the charity raffle will go to the Family Holiday Association, helping families in need across Yorkshire to enjoy a visit to York.

James crowned Tourism Champion

THE man who brought Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre to York was crowned as ‘Tourism Champion’.

James Cundall, the chief executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions of Malton (pictured below), which created the pop-up theatre near Clifford’s Tower last summer, was passed on the crown from last year’s winner, Ann Deller.

Mr Cundall, who received an MBE earlier this year, was recognised for his outstanding contribution to tourism and culture in York and as the driving force behind the first ever pop-up Shakespearean theatre in Europe that wowed crowds in York over the summer of 2018.

Mr Cundall has had a career which has combined private banking and producing the biggest global brands in live entertainment. In 2018 James brought Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre to York for a summer season of the Bard’s best known plays in the first ever pop-up Elizabethan theatre in Europe.

York Press:

WINNER: James Cundall in the garden at the Rose Theatre last year Picture: Frank Dwyer

The success of this inaugural run has allowed them to expand both to Blenheim Palace and York again for 2019, enabling thousands of people to experience the works of Shakespeare in a unique setting. James is also the creative mind behind York’s annual outdoor Christmas ice-rink, The Ice Factor.

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said: “James has been involved in many high-profile events and experiences and we are fortunate that he has chosen his home city as host. Initiatives such as Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre have absolutely evolved York’s offer and brought the city to a wider audience across the globe. We could think of no-one more deserving of the crown of Tourism Champion this year, as his passion and commitment to everything he does shines through. We are delighted to recognise his hard work.”

Winners of the Visit York Tourism Awards 2019:

Pub or Bar of the Year

Sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd

Winner: Walmgate Ale House


Cut & Chase

The Whippet Inn

Self Catering Venue of the Year

Sponsored by HomeAway

Winner: York Old Brewery

Highly Commended: The House at Crooked End


Studford Luxury Lodges

Conference Venue of the Year

Sponsored by Saville Group

Winner: The Principal York


The Grand, York

York Racecourse

Newcomer of the Year

Sponsored by Hungate York Regeneration

Winner: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre


Roots York

The Enchantment Chamber

Bed & Breakfast or Guest House of the Year

Sponsored by

Winner: Tower Guest House


No. 21 York

Tourism Supplier of the Year

Sponsored by P&O Ferries

Winner: York Gin



Pick & Mix Marketing

Pyper York

Hotel of the Year

Sponsored by Streamline Taxis

Winner: Grays Court Hotel


Hotel Indigo

The Black Swan Hotel

The Grand, York

The Principal York

Visitor Attraction of the Year (Over 50,000 Visitors)

Sponsored by Fowlers of York

Winner: City Cruises York


Flamingo Land Resort

JORVIK Viking Centre

The York Dungeon

Yorkshire Museum

Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000 visitors)

Sponsored by City Cruises

Winner: World of James Herriot


The Black Sheep Brewery

The Ghost Bus Tours

York Army Museum

Guided Tour of the Year

Sponsored by Colour Options

Winner: The Bloody Tour of York


Castle Howard

City Cruises York

York’s Chocolate Story

Restaurant of the Year

Sponsored by Morrell Middleton

Winner: Roots, York


The Whippet Inn

The Chopping Block

Vaqueiros Brazilian Rodizio

Café or Tearoom of the Year

Sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors

Winner: The Principal Hotel Garden Room


Crumbs Cupcakery

The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café

The Countess of York

Shop of the Year

Sponsored by Minster FM

Winner: The Shop That Must Not Be Named



The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Café

Wild & Westbrooke

Innovation in Tourism

Sponsored by The University of York

Winner: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre

Highly Commended: Yorkshire’s Jurassic World at the Yorkshire Museum


Castle Howard

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

The Grand, York

Visitor Experience of the Year

Sponsored by Yorkshire Gas & Power

Winner: York Maze Hallowscream


The Bloody Tour of York

JORVIK Viking Festival

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre

Visit York Tourism Champion 2019

Sponsored by LNER

Awarded to: James Cundall MBE