Make It York

Visitor economy to be promoted with launch of new partnership

Tourism businesses in York and North Yorkshire are to be given more support with a new vision to help to ensure that the multi-billion pound visitor economy reaches its full potential.

A joint bid for a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) for both York and North Yorkshire has been approved, paving the way for a far more co-ordinated and strategic approach to promoting the tourism sector.

Local Visitor Economy Partnerships have been introduced as part of the Government’s response to an independent review of how the nation’s visitor economy is co-ordinated and promoted and have the potential to draw in additional support and funding from Westminster.

It is hoped that the new partnership, which has been approved by a panel involving the VisitEngland tourism organisation and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, will ensure that the greatest benefits are achieved for both York and North Yorkshire’s visitor economy.

Tourism is worth more than £3.2 billion each year in York and North Yorkshire, and in excess of 60,000 workers are employed in the sector.

Council leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “This announcement marks a watershed in the way we can help promote the visitor economy in both York and North Yorkshire.

“We know only too well how valuable the visitor economy is, providing jobs for tens of thousands of people and attracting visitors from across the globe.

“It is particularly important for North Yorkshire, as we now have the opportunity for a countywide strategy to promote the visitor economy following the launch of North Yorkshire Council in April.”

The announcement of the Local Visitor Economy Partnership is the latest indication of an increasingly close working relationship between City of York Council and ourselves with the prospect of a devolution deal and a combined authority.

City of York Council’s leader, Cllr Claire Douglas, said: “Known around the world as ‘God’s own county’, York and North Yorkshire are blessed with an incredible experience for anyone wanting to visit and enjoy our region.

“Our amazing range of independent businesses and SMEs within the tourism and hospitality sector provide unique services and experiences for visitors, along with a huge range of flexible and interesting roles for people working in the industry.

“We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in North Yorkshire to develop this essential industry for our region, to provide as much support as we can to help it grow sustainably, build more resilience and deliver improved pay, terms and conditions and productivity for its workforce.”

VisitEngland’s director, Andrew Stokes, who chaired the Local Visitor Economy Partnership panel, visited some of the region’s leading tourist attractions last month (October), including the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering and Clifford’s Tower in York.

Andrew said: “Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs) are at the heart of transforming the visitor economy landscape in England and we are delighted North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council worked together on the joint bid.

“We look forward to continuing our close collaboration as the LVEP is established and VisitEngland will provide expert support alongside guidance and resources in areas from product distribution, accessibility and sustainability to business support, funding bids and marketing.

“There is an incredibly diverse visitor economy in York and North Yorkshire, with wonderful coastlines, incredible National Parks and some of the best towns and cities that England has to offer and this new LVEP will ensure the region continues to be a compelling destination for both domestic and international visitors.”

Among those businesses which are set to benefit from the launch of the new Local Visitor Economy Partnerships is Bolton Abbey estate in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The estate, which takes its name from a 12th century monastery in the grounds, attracts more than 250,000 visitors every year.

Bolton Abbey’s visitor experience and marketing manager, Moira Smith, said: “Visitors have been welcomed to Bolton Abbey since the foundation of the Priory in 1154. We continue to extend a warm welcome to those who come to explore the estate’s diverse landscape and we are delighted that the Local Visitor Economy Partnership will support this. 

“The co-ordinated approach across the county will help us to realise the full potential of the visitor economy. Here at Bolton Abbey, the benefits will extend to our growing team, our community of on-estate businesses and the local economy.”

Local Visitor Economy Partnerships involve both the private and public sectors and will need to follow a new national process to be eligible for support and potential funding from the Government.

Established destinations in York and North Yorkshire, such as the coast, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors, Harrogate and market towns, are due to be supported through the proposed Local Visitor Economy Partnership.

A draft destination management plan for North Yorkshire and a proposed tourism strategy overseen by Make It York formed the foundations for the bid. Both documents will be considered by the relevant council executives by the start of next year.

The York Tourism Advisory Board is currently developing the city’s new tourism strategy alongside Make It York, City of York Council and the York BID.

The board’s chair, Brendan Paddison, who is also Associate Professor and Associate Dean at York St John University, said: “Achieving Local Visitor Economy Partnership status is a brilliant outcome for York and North Yorkshire.

“This will support Make It York and City of York Council to continue to position York as a leading destination, and working with North Yorkshire Council and the new mayoral combined authority, to advocate for the importance of tourism to the city and region together.”

There is a significant crossover in the priorities of the draft strategies for both York and North Yorkshire, adding even greater weight to pursue the joint bid.

Both of the proposed plans are looking to promote a year-round visitor economy, while ensuring that it is heavily themed on sustainability and that the industry can thrive alongside communities living in York and North Yorkshire.

It is hoped the promotional drive will ensure visitors stay for longer and explore more of what York and North Yorkshire have to offer, while attracting more people to travel from overseas.

Visitor economy to be promoted with launch of new partnership Read More »

Applications open for Cultural Wellbeing Grants 2023

York-based charities, social enterprises, voluntary and community groups are being urged to apply for the 2023 Cultural Wellbeing Grants, with an overall fund of £26,775 available.

In a collaboration between Make It York and City of York Council, with funding made available via the Better Care Fund, organisations are being invited to apply to grants up to £6,000 to aid initiatives throughout the city which will reduce loneliness and isolation and combat mental ill-health.

With applications open until Friday 9th June 2023, organisations can apply for funding to help engage isolated people in their communities through cultural engagement to combat mental ill-health, improve physical health, or access employment and learning opportunities. Funding can be used for a wide range of project costs – including everything from materials and venue hire to set up costs, marketing, transport and administration time. The grants are available for projects running anytime between July 2023 and March 2024.

The grants programme aligns with the York Culture Strategy, which commits to supporting people’s health and wellbeing through meaningful engagement with arts and heritage, through social prescribing and community-based cultural initiatives, as part of a joined-up and whole-person approach to healthcare provision.

Last year, nine different charities, social enterprises and community groups benefitted from the grants funding from Make It York and City of York Council. Spanning a diverse range of creative art forms and social activities, the grants supported everything from creative activity sessions for sanctuary-seekers in York, to an art exhibition by patients at Foss Park Mental Health Hospital, through to a programme of performance techniques to combat social isolation in women over 25.

Pauline Stuchfield, Director of Customer and Communities at City of York Council, said: “We’re proud to offer these grants again. Their proven benefits have a lasting impact on residents.

“If you’re involved with a project which supports or improves residents’ wellbeing through cultural activities, please apply for this funding. We’re want to reach often overlooked groups and support innovation, while building on the city’s fantastic voluntary sector which helps residents live the lives they want.”

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York said: “The Cultural Wellbeing Grants are a really important scheme – they support residents’ wellbeing through cultural and creative activities that reduce isolation and loneliness and support mental health, which is at the heart of York’s Culture Strategy. We’re looking forward to helping many more projects through this year’s programme, alongside City of York Council.”

Apply for a grant:

To apply for a Cultural Wellbeing Grant, please download and complete the application form and return it to carl.wain@york.gov.uk by 9am, Friday 9th June, 2023. 

Application forms must be completed and submitted by 9am on Friday 9th June 2023 to be considered. These will be assessed you will be informed if you have been successful by Friday 16th June 2023. If you have any queries or need support to apply, please email: Carl.wain@york.gov.uk

END

For more information:

Brittany Guymer, Communications Coordinator at Make It York 

Comms@makeityork.com

Notes to Editors:

About Make It York

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.

These are:

· City positioning and profile-raising

· Ensuring an exciting city centre· Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Culture Strategy

Applications open for Cultural Wellbeing Grants 2023 Read More »

Danish officials receive Civic welcome at Guildhall

A large group of senior cultural managers from Denmark have arrived in York to talk about the role of culture and creativity in our communities. They received a formal welcome on 17th April by the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Carr, in the Guildhall’s Council Chamber. The speakers responding were His Excellency the Danish Ambassador to the UK, Rene Dinesen; the Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Simon Mellor; for HM Government, Anna Nsubuga and the Director of Development, Region Midtjylland, Kim Kofod Hansen.

The Mid Jutland European Region of Culture was established as part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017. It consists of the 19 municipalities in the Central Denmark Region.

The Study Visit comes thanks to a close relationship between York and Viborg in Denmark, which were both designated UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts, York in 2014 and Viborg in 2020. The UNESCO Creative Cities network spans the world, with cities collaborating on the creation of new artworks, research initiatives, and placement opportunities, and sharing ideas on how creativity can improve lives in many ways, from health to planning, from tourism to social care. The joint focus of Viborg and York on creativity, digitalization and sustainability makes this a highly relevant visit at a time where working with technology is essential in all fields, not least in culture.

York’s newly refurbished Guildhall was a splendid setting for a series of meetings taking place over three days, and facilitated by the generous support of the University of York. Working sessions saw the visitors receive presentations from leading figures in York’s creative sector, about the role of culture and creativity in addressing issues such as the increasing impact of digital technology, how best to ensure that our urban communities are sustainable in cultural as well as economic and environmental terms, and the financial support needed for success.

Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts and the York organiser of the Study Visit says ‘this was an excellent opportunity to talk about the conditions for the success of culture and creative industries in York, and to share ideas about the opportunities for the creative economy in our two countries.’

Kim Kofod Hansen, leader of the delegation and Development Director of Region Midtjylland, said ‘although this was a very short visit, the opportunity to visit cultural organisations, hear about strategic priorities at national and regional level, and to hear about the realities of working life in the creative sector in York, was invaluable. You can be sure many of us will return.’

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, said: “It was really rewarding to meet with colleagues from Denmark this week, to share knowledge and discuss key initiatives and innovations in culture in both York and Denmark. The visit very much supported the Culture Strategy’s focus on raising the city’s profile internationally, through the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.” 

Note: The Guild of Media Arts was established in 2015 to support and promote the creative sector and to act as the Focal Point for York as a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts, working with City of York Council and Make It York.

Danish officials receive Civic welcome at Guildhall Read More »

York added to Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Status

Cultural and natural heritage sites including York’s historic city centre are a step closer to becoming
UNESCO World Heritage Sites after gaining Government backing for their bids.

Five new sites from across the UK and Overseas Territories have been added to the Tentative List
meaning they are now part of a seven site list to be put forward by the Government for inscription
on the illustrious list.

The Tentative List is published around every ten years by the UK Government. It sets out the sites it
feels have the best chance of succeeding and will now work with local authorities and devolved
administrations to develop their bids.

Cultural sites on the list include York which has fantastic civic and religious buildings including its
Minster as well as a rich history left behind by its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman inhabitants.

UNESCO also awards World Heritage Site status to the most extraordinary natural places on the
planet.

Laura Davies, HM Ambassador to UNESCO, said: “It is great that the UK is contributing to making World Heritage more representative.
“These five sites brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its Overseas Territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.”

Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “We are thrilled with this acknowledgement of York’s world-class heritage and its universal historic and archaeological importance. The various communities in York have worked hard together to achieve this place on the new UK Tentative List of World Heritage Sites and they
deserve the recognition this status brings.
“York is an outstanding example of continuous urban development over 2,000 years since its foundation as a Roman legionary fortress with evidence of every succeeding period on its urban development. The collection of medieval stained glass in York Minster and the historic parish churches in the city centre is unrivalled. York embraces and values this heritage and will manage it sensitively so that the city continues as a vibrant, innovative, living city.”

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site system offers a fantastic opportunity for cultural and natural heritage sites to gain international recognition and promote themselves on a global stage. If successful, the seven sites would join the 33 other World Heritage Sites already based in the UK including Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.


ENDS


Notes to editors

UK Tentative List:

Birkenhead the People’s Park [Cultural]East Atlantic Flyway – England East Coast Wetlands [Natural]The Flow Country [Natural]Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements [Cultural, Transnational]Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas [Natural]York [Cultural]The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland [Cultural]


Full list of current UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK (year of listing in brackets):
Cultural Sites
● Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (2000)
● Blenheim Palace (1987)
● Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church (1988)
● Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd (1986)
● City of Bath (1987)
● Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (2006)
● Derwent Valley Mills (2001)
● Durham Castle and Cathedral (1986)
● Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1987, 2005, 2008)
● Gorham’s Cave Complex (2016)
● Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999)
● Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda (2000)
● Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
● Jodrell Bank Observatory (2019)
● Maritime Greenwich (1997)
● New Lanark (2001)
● Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995)
● Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey (1987)
● Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal (2009)
● Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2003)
● Saltaire (2001)
● Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (1986)
● Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey (1986)
● The English Lake District (2017)
● The Forth Bridge (2015)
● The Great Spa Towns of Europe (2021)
● The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales (2021)
● Tower of London (1988)
Natural Sites
● Dorset and East Devon Coast (2001)
● Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (1986)
● Gough and Inaccessible Islands (1995, 2004)
● Henderson Island (1988)
Mixed Cultural / Natural
● St Kilda (1986, 2004, 2005)

York added to Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Status Read More »

City of Media Arts to welcome Danish officials to York for cultural visit

A large group of senior cultural managers from Denmark are coming to York, for three days in April, to talk about the role of culture and creativity in our communities. The Danish partnership European Region of Culture was established as part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 and it consists of the 19 municipalities in the Central Denmark Region. 

The visit comes thanks to a close relationship between York and Viborg in Denmark, which were both designated UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts, York in 2014 and Viborg in 2020. The UNESCO Creative City network spans the world, with cities collaborating on the creation of new artworks, research initiatives, and placement opportunities, and sharing ideas on how creativity can improve lives across many different disciplines, from health to planning, from tourism to social care. The joint focus of Viborg and York on creativity, digitalization and animation makes this a highly relevant visit at a time where working with technology is essential in all fields, not least in culture. 

“We look forward to visiting York with our partnership European Region of Culture. York represents important and successful experiences regarding ideas and creativity and is a role model in many aspects of the cultural and creativity industries. We have an ambitious partnership which right now has a strong and necessary focus on sustainability and digitalization from a cultural perspective and we want to reach out to and learn from the best. To us, York is the optimal place to visit,” says Kim Kofod Hansen, Development Director at the Central Denmark Region and chairman of the European Region of Culture.  

The Danish visitors will be welcomed in the Council Chamber by the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Carr, followed by an address by the Danish Ambassador to the UK, Rene Dinesen. There will be responses Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and from Anna Nsubuga, for HM Government. 

“After the Danish city of Aarhus was selected as European Capital of Culture in 2017, officials from Midtjylland have undertaken regular study visits to explore good practice in other cities. It is fantastic that they have chosen York for this year’s trip, and a testament to the close work between the creative sector in York and our colleagues in Viborg,” explains Owen Turner, Master of the Guild of Media Arts. “Through the Creative Cities network, we have undertaken a number of projects together, including the children’s project ‘Drawings of Hope’, the online artists’ collaboration Immersive Assembly, and we are working actively on the presentation of our shared Viking heritage.” 

York’s newly refurbished Guildhall will play host to a series of meetings, with the generous support of the University of York. Working sessions will see the visitors receive presentations from leading figures in York’s creative sector about the role of culture and creativity in addressing the issues such as the increasing impact of digital technology, how best to ensure that our urban communities are sustainable in cultural as well as economic and environmental terms, and the financial support needed for success.  

“There is a significant difference between the way local government works in the UK and Denmark, with projects that are grant- or privately-funded initiatives here coming under local authority control in Denmark, but the role of creativity – and particularly our expertise in digital technology – is a common thread across both countries,” adds Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts.   

“It’s the vision of the York Culture Strategy that by 2025 York is known as a city where outstanding, renowned heritage comes together with a cutting-edge contemporary approach to creativity, reflecting the city’s rich history and its status as the UK’s first UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. This visit very much supports and furthers the aims of the city’s Culture Strategy: it will be a great opportunity to share learnings, best practice, and discuss ways of working across culture, the creative sector, and beyond. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our visitors and having these interesting discussions together,” adds Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York. 

ENDS 

NOTE: The Guild of Media Arts is York’s membership organisation for the creative sector. The Guild is the Focal Point of York UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts 

Contact: Organiser – Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts E: baileychr@gmail.com M: 07920 450201  

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising  
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

City of Media Arts to welcome Danish officials to York for cultural visit Read More »

Winners of Visit York Tourism Awards 2023 Revealed

On Thursday 23rd March, the winners of the Visit York Tourism Awards were revealed at a prestigious awards ceremony at York Racecourse. The Visit York Tourism Awards, headline sponsored by LNER, celebrates the best of York’s businesses across tourism, hospitality and culture to win one of 16 trophies. 

Hosted by previous Visit York Tourism Award winner Alicia Stabler, also known as Mad Alice from The Bloody Tour of York, and BBC’s Elly Fiorentini, the ‘Tourism Oscars of the North’ sees eligible winners across a number of categories automatically put forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023. 

This year’s winners include Middletons Hotel, who take Large Hotel of the Year, with judges commenting on the ‘high-quality’ hotel and food, as well as praise for ‘team members who deliver great service’. The hotel’s General Manager, Adam Wardale, went on to win the national VisitEngland Award for Excellence in 2022 following his award win for Unsung Hero at last year’s Visit York Tourism Awards.   

Small Hotel of the Year and Taste of England Award goes to Grays Court Hotel and The Bow Room Restaurant, with judges commenting that they were “hard to beat” offering a “unique stay” and “excellent” standard of food. 

Elsewhere in accommodation, The Bishop & The Bison took the award for B&B and Guest House of the Year, with judges praising their “friendly and warm atmosphere” and “luxury”. The Dovecote Barns were awarded Self Catering Accommodation of the Year, judges commented that their “attention to detail shines through” and that “the personal touches were brilliant”. 

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year was awarded to Wigwam Holidays Ball Hall Farm, with judges commenting that it was a location they’d “come back to again and again”. 

No.1 by GuestHouse, York was awarded New Tourism Business of the Year. Judges praised the “positive attitude of this hotel” and that the “standards of service were excellent”.  

This year’s awards introduced two new categories, including the Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award which was presented to Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens who were praised by judges for their “really outstanding application” and “a peaceful and tranquil environment”.  

The second new award for 2023 was Cultural Venue of the Year, which was won by York Theatre Royal. Judges said they show “an excellent approach and passion for the future potential of theatre”. 

York Theatre Royal also picked up a second award for Event or Festival of the Year with ‘An Evening with Kyiv City Ballet’. Judges commented that the “key here is the event sold out, the money raised for charity, but the biggest result was that the event was held in the first place”. The event raised over £25,000 for UNICEF’s Ukraine Appeal in June 2022. Kyiv City Ballet will be returning to York Theatre Royal on Thursday 30th March for another very special fundraising gala performance. 

Next Door But One CIC took the Resilience and Innovation Award, with judges commenting that “the team should be commended for the adjustments made during the pandemic” and that they deliver “important and valued work”. 

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year was awarded to Mother Shipton’s Cave, with judges commenting that “there was a large focus on cultural and historical aspects of the experience” and that they were “very well communicated”. 

Castle Howard was awarded Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, with judges remarking on the “well-trained and enthusiastic” team members who focused on “providing a positive experience”. 

Experience of the Year was awarded to The Cookery School at The Grand, York, with judges commenting on the “excellent” quality of food and that the experience was “interesting, engaging and interactive”. 

York Gin took Retailer of the Year, with judges praising their “excellent initiatives” across the business supporting “staff, local producers, partners, sustainability and the community”.

Pub of the Year was awarded to The Drovers Arms Restaurant & Country Pub, with judges commenting on the “hard-working and pleasant” team and “good food”.  
 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “A huge congratulations to our thoroughly deserving winners and finalists at this year’s Visit York Tourism Awards. Every single business and organisation nominated tonight is one of the reasons why York has been recognised as such a welcoming place to visit. The Visit York Tourism Awards celebrate the very best in tourism, hospitality and culture; many of our winners tonight will automatically be put forward to represent York at the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence – we wish them the very best of luck!” 

David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “York has a huge amount to offer visitors and continues to be one of the most popular destinations on the LNER route. We’re therefore very proud to continue to support the Visit York Tourism Awards which shine a spotlight on the individuals and businesses that work tirelessly to make York a brilliant place to visit. On behalf of everyone at LNER, congratulations to everyone involved in this year’s awards.” 

Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities said: “Congratulations to all finalists and winners who have demonstrated excellence in their sectors across tourism, hospitality and culture. They have all been rightly recognised as providing the very best experiences for residents and visitors to the city. Throughout York there are so many businesses that work hard to make our beautiful city so welcoming and vibrant. A huge well done to all the finalists, and congratulations to the winners for their impressive achievements.” 

ENDS 

Notes to editors: 

Winners of Visit York Tourism Awards 2023:  

B&B and Guest House of the Year sponsored by Shambles Market 

Winner: The Bishop & The Bison  

Finalists: MonkBridge House, Westergate House, The Sidings Hotel & Restaurant   

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by Greatest Hits Radio 

Winner: Wigwam Holidays Ball Hall Farm 

Finalists: Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges, York Meadows Camping & Caravan Park  

Cultural Venue of the Year* sponsored by Latimer by Clarion Housing Group  

Winner: York Theatre Royal  

Finalists: York Mansion House, Grand Opera House York, York Barbican  

Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award sponsored by The Fabl  

Winner: Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens  

Finalists: Avorium, Fairfax Corner  

Event or Festival the Year* sponsored by LNER  

Winner: York Theatre Royal – An Evening with Kyiv City Ballet 

Finalists: York Proms, York Maze Hallowscream, Yorktoberfest, York Fashion Week   

Experience of the Year sponsored by Destination Core  

Winner: The Cookery School at The Grand, York  

Highly Commended: The Wizard Walk of York  

Finalists: The Hilt, The Deathly Dark Tours  

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by Ward Hadaway 

Winner: Castle Howard  

Highly Commended: North Yorkshire Moors Railway 

Finalists: The York Dungeon, The Web Adventure Park, JORVIK Viking Centre (York Archaeological Trust), The Hole in Wand York  

Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Streamline Taxis  

Winner: Middletons Hotel – part of Daniel Thwaites  

Highly Commended: The Grand, York 

Finalist: Malmaison York 

New Tourism Business of the Year sponsored by PPS  

Winner: No.1 by GuestHouse, York  

Finalists: 22 Yards Wine Bar & Merchants, Avorium, A Brecks Away Holiday Cottages, The Wizard Walk of York  

Pub of the Year sponsored by Hunter Gee Holroyd  

Winner: The Drovers Arms Restaurant & Country Pub  

Finalist: Valhalla York   

Resilience & Innovation Award sponsored by York St John University  

Winner: Next Door But One CIC  

Finalists: City Sightseeing (Transdev), Yemen Heaven, The Deathly Dark Tours  

Retailer of the Year* sponsored by Fidomoney  

Winner: York Gin  

Finalists: Avorium, Antiques Centre York, The Potions Cauldron  

Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year sponsored by YO1 Radio 

Winner: The Dovecote Barns  

Finalists: Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges, A Brecks Away Holiday Cottages  

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by VisiSoft  

Winner: Mother Shipton’s Cave  

Finalists: York Army Museum, World of James Herriot  

Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Inglis Chartered Accountants  

Winner: Grays Court Hotel & The Bow Room Restaurant  

Finalists: Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa, No.1 by GuestHouse, York  

Taste of England Award sponsored by Fowlers of York  

Winner: The Bow Room Restaurant at Grays Court Hotel  

Finalists: Corner Grill House Restaurant, Chopping Block at Walmgate Ale House, The Raj York  

*Visit York only. These categories are not eligible to go forward to the Visit England Awards for Excellence.  

Find out more about the Visit York Tourism Awards 2023 at visityork.org/tourismawards  

For more information, please contact: 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer 

Communications Team at Make It York 

Comms@makeityork.com 

About Make It York: 

Make It York  

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, Shambles Market and festivals and events. 

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand. 

Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. 

Winners of Visit York Tourism Awards 2023 Revealed Read More »

Snooks with Books win public vote to feature in new trail coming to York in 2024 

Almost 2,000 people voted for their favourite character to feature in a new public art trail coming to York in 2024. The votes mean that the bookish Snook, created by Yorkshire artist Sian Ellis, will be the subject of a long form character trail which runs from February 2024.  

Snook is a bookish breed, often found in cosy corners with their faces buried inside the pages of a good book. They’ve been here just as long as even The Norman House (the oldest building in York) but they are a little more hidden away than the historic sights of the city that you are familiar with. However recently Snook sightings have skyrocketed, and it looks like these friendly folk have been enjoying some sightseeing around the city walls. 

Snooks with Books is created by Sian Ellis, a Yorkshire based illustrator and mural artist whose work is playful, fun and full of humour. She is inspired by the bold and the bright, the weird and the wonderful. Sian has created art on a national scale and in a range of mediums, ranging from detailed fine drawing to twelve foot paintings and even a metre long knitted head band for a fibre glass gorilla! Sian has created a number of murals around Yorkshire and has worked on a number of charity sculpture trails across the UK, with which the sales of her sculptures have to date raised over £100,000 for charitable causes. 

Organised by Make It York, with charity partner St Leonard’s Hospice, the trail will see up to 30 Snooks with Books around the city. Each Snook will be sponsored by local businesses, who will be paired with an artist to create a bespoke design for each sculpture. Applications for artists to submit their designs will open in the coming weeks.  

Businesses and organisations interested in sponsoring a sculpture can contact events@makeityork.com for more information. 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “We’re really looking forward to bringing a tribe of Snooks to York in our new character trail for 2024. A huge congratulations to Sian and Snook for winning the public vote, and a huge thank you to our runner-up Christine and Barouse for their support and creativity.” 

Dawn Clements, Director of Income Generation at St Leonard’s Hospice, said: “It’s fantastic to hear that Snook has won the public vote and we can’t wait to see the character appear across the city. The trail will be a fun way to help us engage further with our community, not only educating people about our services but also helping to raise vital funds to support people facing life-limiting illnesses and bereavement. We are proud to be partnering with Make It York to represent hospice care in such a unique way and we are also looking forward to working with new supporters and volunteers.” 

Sian Ellis, artist of Snooks with Books, said: “I am over the moon to be teaming up with Make It York and St Leonard’s Hospice to bring the bookish snooks to York in 2024. After years of hiding in cosy corners with a good book these usually shy creatures can’t wait to come out and explore the city’s streets! I’m really looking forward to seeing how artists from across the region transform each one and excited to see the creative ways that the books that the snooks carry are brought into each design. I cannot wait to see these gentle giants brought to life and hope that families in the city have a wonderful time on their very own hunt for snooks next year.” 

Visit www.visityork.org/snooks-with-books to find out more.  

Snooks with Books win public vote to feature in new trail coming to York in 2024  Read More »

Public vote opens to choose new character trail in York

Larger than life, vibrant and bold characters will guide people through York’s cobbled streets and hidden gardens in a new sculpture trail coming to York in 2024. The chosen character for the trail is down to the people of York, who have two designs to choose from, with a public vote open from today until Tuesday 28th February at 5pm.  

Last year, Make It York put a call out for Yorkshire based visual artists, designers and illustrators to create a unique character or creature, bespoke to the city. The brief asked for artists to design a character or creature that represents the city, something new and something different. There were 75 submissions, with Make It York narrowing it down to two final designs. Will it be the friendly monster Barouse inspired by the city’s rivers and bars? Or the bookish Snook, who can be found hiding in the city’s corners?   

Organised by Make It York, with charity partner St Leonard’s Hospice, the new trail featuring Barouse or Snook will launch in early 2024. Find out more about the two final designs and artists below: 

Barouse by Christine Jopling 

“Barouse” is a friendly monster who has a castellated head and a big droplet of a body. It’s battlement-shaped head is inspired by the bars around York’s unique wall, and its rotund frame is like a drop of water from the River Ouse, which runs right through York’s centre. Bringing together these two important aspects of the City – the walls and the river – in a fun and approachable figure. Barouse is a simple, chunky monster, and its friendly features are created to appeal to humans of all ages.  

About Christine Jopling: Christine is a freelance illustrator based in a little studio, opposite a chippy in Pudsey, Leeds. Working as an illustrator since 1995, she’s still noodling and doodling – happy to hand-letter a wedding reading or a wall, paint British Birds or beer bottles, create monsters or maps, or ink in aliens and armadillos. All of Christine’s work starts with a doodle in pencil on paper, using Indian ink, watercolour, acrylic paint, Posca pens, emulsion paint or maybe a bit of digital scribbling to create the finished thing 

Snook by Sian Ellis 

There are plenty of old buildings around the city that you’re bound to have spotted, from the higgledy piggledy shops along The Shambles to Clifford’s Tower to the city walls, but have you ever set eyes on a Snook? They’ve been here just as long as even The Norman House (the oldest building in York) but they are a little more hidden away than the historic sights of the city that you are familiar with. 

A bookish breed they are often found in cosy corners with their faces buried inside the pages of a good book. However recently Snook sightings have skyrocketed, and it looks like these friendly folk have been enjoying some sightseeing around the city walls. 

Old habits die hard though and you aren’t likely to spot a Snook without a book in its hands. It could be a novel, an anthology or a playbook but it might also be a guide to bird spotting, a family photo album, an instruction manual for building a rocket or a travel diary and sketchbook.  

About Sian Ellis: Sian is a Yorkshire based illustrator and mural artist whose work is playful, fun and full of humour. She is inspired by the bold and the bright, the weird and the wonderful. Sian has created art on a national scale and in a range of mediums, ranging from detailed fine drawing to twelve foot paintings and even a metre long knitted head band for a fibre glass gorilla! Sian has created a number of murals around Yorkshire and has worked on a number of charity sculpture trails across the UK, with which the sales of her sculptures have to date raised over £100,000 for charitable causes.  

Vote for your favourite design here by 5pm on Tuesday 28th February. 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “We’re really looking forward to bringing a new trail and introducing a new character to York in 2024. Our final two artists have done a brilliant job at bringing the characters to life and we look forward to seeing the winning design in our city next year. We’re really pleased to be working with our charity partner, St Leonard’s Hospice, on this project.”  

Dawn Clements, Director of Income Generation at St Leonard’s Hospice, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Make It York and to be part of this exciting activity. It will be a fun way to help us engage further with our community, not only educating people about our services but also helping to raise vital funds to support people facing life-limiting illnesses and bereavement. We are proud that we can represent hospice care in such a unique way and it’s a great opportunity to work with new supporters and volunteers. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with Sarah and the team at Make It York and, of course, either Barouse or Snook.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities said: “York’s latest trail will add more colour and fun to our beautiful city whilst supporting a wonderful cause. I’d like to thank all artists who submitted their ideas as part of the competition, it was extremely difficult to narrow the excellent submissions down to the final two. The final choice is now in the hands of York’s residents who have the difficult choice between these two fun characters.” 

Christine Jopling, artist of Barouse, said: “I’m so chuffed that Barouse has made it this far, I still can’t quite believe it! It was quite a challenge to come up with something that represents York in a fun, approachable sculpture, but when Barouse popped into my head I thought – “That’s it!” If Barouse is chosen I hope it’s a fun form for the artists to let themselves loose on, and that the sculptures bring a smile to the faces of residents and visitors to York.” 

Sian Ellis, artist of Snook, said: “Since 2019 I have been travelling from my studio in Yorkshire to paint sculptures for trails across the UK. I absolutely love being involved with every trail so to get the chance to design a brand new and unique sculpture design would be an absolute dream come true for me! I would love love LOVE to see the Snooks with Books come to life and explore the city and it would be absolutely brilliant to see other artists unleash their imaginations onto each one. I think it could be such a magical addition for the local community to see them pop up on the streets of York.  My menagerie of painted pals currently totals 17 including gorillas, wallabies, elephants and even a T-Rex, and the sales of my painted sculptures have raised over £100,000 to date for local charities. To be chosen as the artist to design the sculpture for the Make It York 2024 trail would be the cherry on top of my work with sculpture trails so far!” 

ENDS 

For more information, please contact: 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer 

Communications Team at Make It York 

Comms@makeityork.com 

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

Public vote opens to choose new character trail in York Read More »

Sign In

Register

Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.

Skip to content