COVENTRY and Warwickshire’s diverse cultural and tourism mix has been celebrated at a major awards ceremony – as everything from Shakespeare through to bubble tea were honoured.
The annual Coventry and Warwickshire Tourism and Culture Awards were held at Coombe Abbey Hotel and saw 14 main awards handed out to businesses and organisations across the region as well as a clutch of special awards that went to those organisations and individuals that have made a key contribution to the region.
Special awards went to butchery group Aubrey Allen, The Episode Hotel, Ricoh Arena and to Lee House, who was described as a ‘legend’ for her work as director of the hugely successful Godiva Festival.
The glitzy event was organised by Touch FM and Rugby FM and was supported by Coventry City of Culture Trust – the organisation behind Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture – Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, Shakespeare’s England and the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.
Kya Wakelin, of Conference Coventry and Warwickshire, won a rising star award, while 12-year-old Darcey Harrison was also highly commended for his commitment to volunteering and Coventry’s medieval history.
Shakespeare’s England landed the Business Tourism Award while Avonlea, in Stratford, won the best Small Hotel/B&B/Inn award. Best Hotel went to Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa and The Boat Inn, in Birdingbury, took home the award for Best Pub. Oscar’s French Bistro – part of the Aubrey Allen Goup – based in Leamington Spa, found the recipe for success to win Best Restaurant.
Theatre Absolute, situated in Coventry, won the award for Best Venue for Live Music/Arts/Theatre and Motionhouse, in Leamington, picked up The Culture Award.
In2Cultures, in Stratford, landed the Cultural Education Award, while Twisted Barrel Ale, based at FarGo Village, was raising a glass after winning the Artisan Award.
Rugby Art Gallery & Museum won the Kids & Families Award, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall lifted the Visitor Attraction Award and Bubble Boba, also based at FarGo, won the Customer Care/Team Award.
The Royal Shakespeare Company – The Play’s The Thing, overcame stiff competition to win the History & Heritage Award and the Tourism Event went to Warwickshire Country Council and University of Warwick in partnership for their work on OVO Energy Women’s Cycle Tour.
Jo Billings, Regional Events Director of Quidem Media – the company behind Touch FM and Rugby FM, said: “It was a wonderful celebration of Coventry and Warwickshire’s outstanding mix of cultural and tourism businesses, organisations and individuals.
“Every winner, every finalist and everyone who entered, attended or sponsored the event can be extremely proud of the part they play in what this region has to offer.
“And I would urge the people of this region to look at the award winners, look at the list of finalists and go out and give them a try – there is so much to do in Coventry and Warwickshire and, very often, it’s not always appreciated.
“These awards were designed to make sure they are appreciated and celebrated and this was a fantastic way of showcasing our great region.”