A PAIR of iconic Vale locations have been shortlisted as finalists in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016.
Eckington Manor and The Fleece Inn in Bretforton will join 78 other businesses with the chance to wining a gold, silver, bronze or highly commended award at a ceremony at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Tuesday, March 8.
Eckington Manor, a country house on the border of the Cotswolds, was shortlisted for the ‘Tastes of England Award’, which recognises a tourism business that produces or prepares quality food or drink products with a strong emphasis on local sourcing.
The Fleece Inn, a National Trust property, was shortlisted for the ‘Tourism Pub of the Year Award’, which recognises a pub providing an outstanding experience through its range of beers, wines and beverages, while serving quality and locally produced food.
The awards stretch back more than 25 years and are firmly established as representing the highest accolade in English tourism.
Nigel Smith, The Fleece Inn’s landlord, told the Observer: “It’s amazing to be shortlisted for an award from VisitEngland as we work very hard to attract visitors to Evesham and the Vale.
“We’re excited to make the trip to Blackpool and I’m taking members of our team, as without them we wouldn’t have made it as finalists in these awards.
“We just work hard at being a proper pub which serves great quality food and drinks and we look after anyone who walks through our door, whether it’s a regular or someone’s first visit.”
Judy Gardner, manager at Eckington Manor said: “We’re delighted to be in the final. It’s been very much a team effort and credit goes to head chefs Sue and Mark Stinchombe.
“The couple help make the service as important as the food and Mark has recently won BBC’S MasterChef: The Professionals.
“We’re very lucky to be in the Vale of Evesham as we can source and produce quality food.”
Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain said: “These finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England.
“They not only honour the great and the good in tourism and hospitality, but raise the profile of England and celebrate the importance of the industry’s contribution to local and national economies.
“There’s absolutely no doubt those chosen are representative of the best in the industry, who place delivering an unforgettable experience to visitors in England at the heart of their business operations.”
Visit www.visitenglandawards.org to find out more information.