Visit England victory for the cook, the spooks and the zoo

PAUL Askew’s award winning restaurant, The Art School, is the toast of the nation today after scooping a top tourism prize.

It won the Taste of England Award from the country’s official tourism agency, Visit England, in its annual Awards for Excellence.

And there was an extra helping for Liverpool, with Shiverpool picking up the gong as the country’s top Guided Tour of the Year.

Chef Patron Askew and the team from Shiverpool celebrated their victories at a glittering ceremony, hosted by Sue Perkins, at the Hilton Waldorf, in London, where 67 finalists selected from almost 600 applications gathered - the highest number of entries ever received.

Shiverpool, takes walkers on a theatrical, historic tour of Liverpool, exploring the city’s folklore myth and legend.

The double whammy is a boost for the city’s Hope Street Quarter, where Askew feeds fine food to diners in Sugnall Street and Shiverpool  does its best to spook its audience on their night time strolls.

“So we only went and did it, we can’t quite believe it,” the Art School people tweeted.

“Amazing accolade for Porkyaskew, well deserved recognition for his great food and his fantastic food,” tweeted Gary Maddock.

The victory comes as Askew prepares to expand the Art School with a Wine Cellar bar in the premises next door which were recently vacated by Kabinett on Myrtle Street.

Shiverpool tweeted a photo of its team celebrating with Paul Askew.

The Shiverpool team and Paul Askew fly the tourism flag for Liverpool in the Visit England awards

Meanwhile, over on Deeside, Chester Zoo won scooped the prize for Family Friendly Food & Drink Business of the Year and Michelin chef Nigel Haworth’s Northcote Manor, near Blackburn, took one of the major awards, the Hotel of the Year accolade.

The prestigious  Awards for Excellence now in their 28th year, celebrate those businesses and individuals who continuously raise the bar of England’s tourism “offer”. 

The 25 award winners, from Afternoon Tea of the Year to Sustainable Tourism Award, Tourism Pub of the Year to Business Tourism Award, span the length and breadth of the country from Yorkshire to Devon, Warwickshire to Northumberland.

The Premier League was singled out for the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award due to English football’s draw for domestic and international visitors. More than 800,000 overseas visitors attended a football match during their trip to Britain in 2014, spending £684 million.

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “This year’s awards were fiercely contested and we had some terrific applications, showcasing not only the excellence on offer within English tourism but also the outstanding innovation and the sheer diversity of experiences throughout the country.

“From afternoon tea in a railway carriage to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ boutique hotel rooms, from great family friendly animal attractions to cottages for one, all well deserved the recognition of their quality and service.”

The tourism economy is worth £106 billion annually to England.

2017 Visit England Awards for Excellence winners

Ghouls just wanna have fun: The Shiverpool team

1. Glamping Provider of the Year.

The Dandelion Hideaway, East Midlands

2. Self-Catering Property of the Year.

Cottage in the Dales - The Byre, Yorkshire

3. Sustainable Tourism Award.

Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant, North East

4. Guided Tour of the Year.

Shiverpool, North West

5. Afternoon Tea of the Year.

Countess of York, Yorkshire

6. Business Tourism Award.

Warwick Conferences, West Midlands

7. Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year award - sponsored by Family Traveller.

Bosinver Farm Cottages, South West

8. Family Friendly Food & Drink Business of the Year - sponsored by Family Traveller.

Chester Zoo, North West

9. Family Friendly Attraction of the Year - sponsored by Family Traveller.

Thames Rockets, London

10. Bed & Breakfast of the Year Award.

St Cuthbert’s House, North East

11. Tourism Superstar.

Duane Dibartolomeo, Owner, Grosvenor Fish Bar, Norwich @Norwichchippy VisitNorwich or

12. Boutique/Guest Accommodation of the Year award.

Glazebrook House Hotel, South West

13. Visitor Information Provider of the Year.

Gloucester Tourist Information Centre, South West

14. GREAT China Welcome of the Year – sponsored by Ping Pong Digital and Destination Britain.

Blenheim Palace, South East

15. Tourism Pub of the Year.

The Anchor Inn, South West

16. Small Visitor Attraction of the Year.

Monkey Haven, South East

17. Dog Friendly Business of the Year.

Letheringham Water Mill Holiday Cottages, East of England

18. Taste of England Award.

The Art School, North West

19. Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year.

Trethem Mill Touring Park, South West

20. Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year.

Blakelow Farm Holiday Cottages, East Midlands

21. Inclusive Tourism Award - sponsored by Barclays.

Eden Project, South West

22. Large Visitor Attraction of the Year.

Waddesdon Manor, South East

23. Hotel of the Year.

Northcote, North West

24. The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award.

The Premier League

25. Services to Tourism Award.

Viscountess, Penelope Cobham CBE