Best Family Day out - winner

Hever Castle

Beautiful setting, in fact extraordinary.  Caters for all age groups and a suitable place to visit even in Winter.  The gardens have improved a lot in recent years and professionally done. 

This is the family home of Anne Boleyn. It has many different events throughout the year. They have categorized their family ages and chosen activities to inspire and entertain them.  Whether it is the under 7’s 2 metre high living willow tunnel, sand pits, etc, or for the 7 – 14’s the Tudor Towers adventure playground, it caters for all.  and includes a dedicated playground kiosk to keep everyone refueled.  For the young adults there is the explorer trail or listen to the multi media guide to discover more about the castle, or simply be captivated by the model houses.

Great accessibility with mobility buggies available and wheel chairs, and they have made most of the garden accessible for wheel chairs and pushchairs, and wooden ramps have been replaced with stone one keeping the character.

A spacious place to visit, in fact the judges commented that they would challenge any family to bring someone of any age that would be bored!  Be sure to visit the water maze!

Great Place to Eat - winner

The Alnwick Garden

The Treehouse at The Alnwick Garden offers a magical dining experience to you will never forget. At the heart of The Treehouse is one of the most beautiful and unique restaurants to be found anywhere in the world. There’s a roaring log fire in the centre of the room, trees growing through the floor, hand crafted furniture and screens created from fallen branches. The locally sourced food is delicious with Northumbrian beef, fresh North Sea fish, game from Northumberland Estates whilst supporting local businesses such as Turnbull’s of Alnwick. You can enjoy either a two or three course lunch, or evening meal in The Treehouse.

Alternatively The Potting Shed, offers a selection of light lunches, children’s boxes, barista coffee and homemade cakes or enjoy a cocktail from Duchess ‘Jane Range’.

The judges were impressed with the local food menu and taken inspiration from local ingredients. It is built as an expression of the garden and in a way that would appeal to the imagination.  Good ratings for service and compliments for the food.

Great Place to Eat - Highly Commended

Askham Hall

Askham Hall is a family run, multi award winning business located in a secluded part of the Lakes.

Head chef Richard Swale, provides an imaginative and creative dining style, using fresh, seasonal ingredients from the Hall’s 800 year old estate.

In 2018 the restaurant was rebranded ‘Allium at Askham Hall’. The focus is on the food quality and with produce direct from the land. The kitchen teams have been developed to ensure the best quality service combined with the best food possible.

Wonderful Place to Stay - Winner

Thirlestane Castle

Thirlestane is a magnificent 16th Century Castle set in a quiet meadow landscape in the Scottish Borders.  It is one of the finest castles in Scotland and is now a simply stunning place to stay with a fairy-tale façade. There are eight en-suite bedrooms in five apartments, so this is intimate, private and unforgettable. All are furnished with a beautifully eclectic mix of contemporary furniture and original items from the castle collections including dramatic portraits and tactile soft furnishings. The castle can be let on a self-catered basis or groups can choose to be catered for in the castle’s Victorian Kitchen or in one of the State Rooms.

Has country house glamour with bedrooms of character.  Makes you feel how wonderful it is to have an opportunity where you can stay in a place like this. 

Most Improved Heritage Development - Winner

St. Giles House

The Riding House is a beautiful and important Grade II* building situated next to St.Giles House, and built during the 1620s. It was used for stabling horses but had become completely redundant and was in urgent need of repair.

The proposal was to convert the building into an 8-bedroom accommodation with a dining room and living space, to support the events occurring at St.Giles House. It also provides visitors an opportunity to stay in St.Giles Park for short stays. Discussions with Historic England and the local council were long and very detailed. New historical research was conducted to find out about the building’s architectural history and development.

Using the experience learned restoring St.Giles House, they were able to bring much more confidence to the project, ensuring the work was done with imagination and care. The focus was to retain as much of the existing historical features and fabric as possible, whilst providing a very high-end level of comfort for guests, so they could enjoy the unique character of the building within a luxurious setting. One of the most exciting aspects of the project was making the 18th and early 19th century stable interiors accessible as bedroom and bathroom spaces.

The Judges described it as an Imaginative Restoration whilst retaining the character and spirit of the house.  It is a clever and respectful adaptation.

Hidden Gem - Joint Winner

Harvington Hall

The Hall is a remarkable survival which reveals the survival of the Catholic faith throughout the intolerance of the Reformation. The Hall offers an exceptional experience which helps stimulate and emotional understanding of religious intolerance in the late sixteenth century.  The hall boasts the largest number of priest hides in the country, a cunning chimney escape, a secret chapel and an incredibly rare collection of Elizabethan wall paintings

Hidden Gem - Joint Winner

78 Derngate

78 Derngate House is the only house in England to have been designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh; this small terraced house is home to a wonderful history and a radical transformation at the hands of Mackintosh in 1916-17. Along with extensions and remodeling, it is the stunning interior design at 78 Derngate that is Mackintosh’s real contribution to the house. After many years, the building was sensitively restored according to Mackintosh scheme in 2002-3, while 80 – next door – was remodeled to create a visitor centre and exhibition space, opening the house to visitors.

Best Event, Festival, or Exhibition - Winner

Castle Howard

Christmas at Castle Howard is a festive event like no other. With the theme ‘12 Days of Christmas’, the objective was to provide a truly magical visitor experience and encourage more people than ever to visit this historic house. Our aims were exceeded with over 51,500 people visiting us this Christmas – a 40% growth since 2017.

The project was meticulously planned beginning early 2018 with staff coming together from across the organisation to create a fully cohesive and immersive experience.

Our Christmas event highlighted historical traditions, celebrating the twelve day Christmas holiday. The theme was expertly interwoven with the Howard family history bringing to life stories such as the 12 children of Lady Georgiana, 6th Countess of Carlisle.

The House was professionally decorated by theatre designers Charlotte Lloyd Webber and Bretta Gerecke, with each room reflecting an element of the classic song as well as a 26ft tall Christmas tree. Enchanted evenings and a grotto meant that over 2000 children were able to meet Father Christmas while festive afternoon teas offered gourmet dining with a roaring fire.

Exceptional organisation and a highly professional team meant that all of this plus live music, magic shows and a Christmas market was executed to the highest standards.

Judges described it as a striking innovation that is not linked to the House but makes a great success of it.  Well executed plan with clear purpose and result. This should inspire others to make a success of a theme.  Good reviews and growth increase.

Contribution to Heritage - Winner

Blenheim Palace

For more than 300 years as the custodians of Blenheim, three things have stayed constant; a duty to preserve our legacy, a responsibility to continually evolve, and a need to sustain the strong connection with the community.

2018 they unveiled an ambitious strategy with 10 goals over 10 years which will revolutionise virtually every aspect of Blenheim. The initiative involves everybody and every area of the Estate – we believe there is no possible vision for a future successful Blenheim which does not depend on the communities around it, and the same is true in reverse.

Last year we also announced our largest restoration project to date, saving ‘The Finest View in England’ with an estimated project cost of £12,000 which includes restoration of Queen Pool and vital repairs to the Grand Bridge.

We’re working hard to do more than ever for our local communities, enhance our green credentials and restore and conserve our World Heritage Site. We recently sent out our Annual Update, to share and educate the local community on what exciting things we have been up to at Blenheim over the last year.

Judges wanted to recognise their work in exposing new Heritage, even draining the lake. An industry leader in forward planning

Individual Award for Contribution to Heritage

Dr. Christopher Ridgway

We at Visit Heritage like to recognise individuals that have made a significant contribution to Heritage in United Kingdom.

Today we want to recognise an individual that has actively worked in this sector for over thirty years.  This man is an author and written many books in this field, sat on Editorial Boards, in fact he has sat on Boards of various Trusts, including the National Trust for Scotland, is a Fellow of a number of Societies, is an Adjunct Professor and a Trustee.  This person has also lectured both Nationally and Internationally, on subjects relating to his passion. 

In particular the judges want to recognize him for his work in the development of the Yorkshire County House Partnership where he has been Chair.  

This Partnership was established in 1999 as a collaboration between seven houses in the county of Yorkshire and the University of York where he has a BA.  The Partnership is dedicated to researching the architecture, landscapes, collections, families and archives of the country houses of Yorkshire.

Today the membership encompasses the departments of History, English, Archaeology, Art History, and Music at York, together with more than a dozen houses who are involved in some or all of the research projects.

The research outcomes take a number of different forms ranging from dissertations at undergraduate or MA level, doctoral theses and scholarly publications, to exhibitions, seminars, and projects hosted by various houses.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please recognise the man who has been Curator at Castle Howard since 1984 and Chair of the Yorkshire County House Partnership and has tirelessly dedicated himself to encouraging collaboration between parties to enhance the visitors experience to Heritage sites in Yorkshire.

Wedding Venue - Winner

Adlington Hall

Adlington is a beautiful country estate, full of character and steeped in nearly 1,000 years of history. Still privately owned, Adlington is a cherished family home which provides a multi-faceted well run offer, full of character. 

There are two beautiful indoor venues – The magnificent Great Hall and the Hunting Lodge. There are two outdoor areas – the Walled courtyard and the English Rose Garden.

They have a dedicated team of wedding coordinators to ensure that everything runs smoothly.  Splendor and intimate. 

Corporate Experience - Winner

Broughton Hall

Broughton provides an exceptional offering for corporate clients. They have a wealth of experience working with corporate clients. Conferences and events can be held within the Hall, at our newly opened Wellbeing Centre and within Utopia. We have excellent wi-fi and connectivity across the Estate, and staff on hand to work with any technology requirements as needed. In-house catering is provided in conjunction with our chefs at Utopia and is highly rated by our customers. We are extremely flexible and can work to any dietary requirements.

Alongside the meeting room offering, they can create a bespoke package of events for all our clients. Whether it is a one day strategy meeting, or a longer stay including accommodation. They have 72 bedrooms across the Estate, including rooms within the Hall and holiday cottages. Activities available across the estate include Wellbeing days & therapies, swim/gym/sauna, foraging, running/cycling, forest bathing, fire temple ceremonies, hiking and nature walks. The Landrover Experience is also located on the Estate. The Estate truly offers a bespoke, luxury service for corporate clients.

Must Visit - Winner

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace has 300 years of history and 2000 acres of beautiful landscapes to discover. It is home to the Dukes of Marlborough and one of the greatest Briton’s, Sir Winston Churchill. There are exhibits that tell the story of their lives, and the lives of those who have run the Palace and Estate for three centuries.   

It’s a chance to share the splendours of Baroque architecture, to wonder at the collections of art, tapestry and antiques, and to explore the Park and Gardens and discover landscapes crafted by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to form magnificent vistas of English countryside.

A World Heritage Site with a rich variety of cultural highlights spanning the calendar.  Arguably it can be called Britain’s Greatest Palace.

Must Visit - Highly Commended

Malvern Hills

Exhilarating climbs with fantastic views to gentle strolls through colourful wildflower meadows; the Malvern Hills and Commons has it all.

Wonderful example of British Landscape competing favourably with bricks and mortar. The landscape sits as its own entity. The quality of interpretation is clever, collaborative and creative. It is man’s activities eking out a living combined with nature that have created this cherished cultural landscape to enjoy.

Outstanding Customer Experience - Winner

Adlington Hall

Adlington Hall pride themselves on their dedication to the customer experience.  The judges were impressed with the level of training provided to the staff.  Every member of staff has a copy of our Service Excellence guidelines and a copy of our booking process. These documents ensure consistency making sure they are always striving to be better.


They only have 1 small team which handle everything relating to the booking, from the initial enquiry phone call right through to the final interaction. 


The customer is dealing with one person all the way through.  The team member who handles the initial enquiry is appointed to that customer, and every interaction, meeting, communication and the actual event is all handled by the same person. This consistency allows the customer to immediately feel safe, giving them a confidence in the service and building a close relationship with the venue.


They have some fabulous reviews and thank you cards, and many repeat bookings with our Corporate clients.  Their bookings come from recommendations and word of mouth, which is the best demonstration that their customer service is outstanding.

Judges Discretionary Award - Winner

The Guild Chapel

The Guild Chapel is one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s most iconic and important historic buildings. Its rich history dates back to the 13th Century when it was built by the Guild of the Holy Cross, a prominent social and religious organisation. As the Guild grew and prospered, so did its chapel, becoming central to medieval life in Stratford-upon-Avon. Today, almost half a millennia later, the Chapel’s rare and special wall paintings offer a unique glimpse back to that medieval past.

The Judges we impressed with the dedication of the trust in securing Heritage Lottery funding to renovate these rare and icon paintings and the effort to encourage and educate the local volunteers to ensure visitors to enjoy this piece of Shakespeare’s history.