VisitEngland Family Friendly Awards – see the full shortlist
VisitEngland is the country’s tourist board. It’s their job to seek out the best that England has to offer and let the world know about it!
Just like Family Traveller, VisitEngland is dedicated to helping families enjoy exceptional holidays and make memories they will treasure forever. Family Traveller is delighted to be sponsoring the VisitEngland Family Friendly Awards 2017 and what’s more, we’re giving a few lucky families the chance to help VisitEngland pick their winners.
VisitEngland need your help choosing winners in the following categories:
– Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year
– Family Friendly Attraction of the Year
– Family Friendly Food & Drink Business of the Year
They have drawn up a shortlist of businesses in each category, which the winners of this competition will mystery shop with the VisitEngland judge. This means that you and your family will stay in a self-catering cottage, visit an attraction or eat at a restaurant near you, and then give your feedback to VisitEngland. Find out more about what being a VisitEngland mystery shopper involves.
ENTER NOW to become a mystery shopper!
And read on to see the shortlist >>>
1/9 Accommodation finalist: The Olde House
The Olde House offers 28 self-catering holiday cottages on a 500-acre working farm in Cornwall, close to Padstow and Port Isaac. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool complex, outdoor tennis courts, children’s indoor and outdoor play areas, a bird hide, a farm trail and a pets’ corner offering daily feeding times. During the school holidays, there are free activities including pond dipping, woodland fun, falconry, archery, farm ride and communal barbeques.
Families have the chance to experience farming first hand and help during the lambing season. The farm ride is an opportunity for guests to witness a variety of field practices including ploughing and harvesting. Children are allowed to sit in the tractor too! Cottages are well equipped with cots, high chairs and stair gates provided free of charge.
2/9 Accommodation finalist: Bosinver Farm Cottages
Bosinver Farm Cottages is a family run business comprising 20 stylish, detached cottages in 30 acres of meadows in South Cornwall. The family pride themselves on being helpful and friendly, with local knowledge and a real passion for giving families opportunity to relax away from hectic lives. The cottages include everything a family needs for a stress-free holiday – cots, highchairs, strollers, blackout blinds, beach equipment and lots more. On site is a heated pool, soft play, gym, tennis court and therapy room. Frozen meals and a private chef give mums and dads a break, the village pub is walking distance and there are beaches three miles away. Activities include Forest School, animal feeding, pony rides and other pop-up events.
3/9 Accommodation finalist: Darwin Forest Country Park
Darwin Forest Country Park is a family-owned, five star holiday park in the Derbyshire Peak District. The Park combines luxury self-catering holiday accommodation with fantastic onsite facilities including a swimming pool, gym and spa. Perfect for families, the park has a huge indoor play centre, mini golf, tennis, a range of outdoor activities, cycling trails and woodland walks. The restaurant is family friendly and has a fantastic playground adjacent to the outdoor seating area.
The lodges are nestled within a 47-acre woodland paradise which creates a peaceful location from which to fully relax and get closer to nature. Children will love exploring the woods and seeing the vast array of wildlife whilst parents will find the peaceful and tranquil surroundings the perfect antidote from their hectic daily lives. Lodges sleep between two and eight people with spa lodes also including a hot tub on the veranda.
4/9 Accommodation finalist: Mill Farm Eco Barn, Winterton-on-sea
At Mill Farm Eco Barn, the owners’ philosophy is to provide family-friendly luxurious eco holidays in a gorgeous part of Norfolk. The four bedroom, four bathroom Eco Barn sleeps up to eight and the Hay barn sleeps two – plus infants. Both are set on a two-acre site with stunning farmland views and incredible sunsets.
Children love to collect eggs from the free range hens, groom and feed the ponies and collect fresh veg from Grandad Terry’s allotment. Cots, high chairs, toys, books and DVDs are provided, as well as suggested itineraries. Bikes, buggies, boules, croquet, child carriers, beach equipment, table tennis and table football are found in the rustic games barn. The open plan Eco barn, complete with downstairs’ wet-room and bedroom, means that all generations can come together to enjoy this fabulous space.
5/9 Attraction finalist: Thames Rockets
Thames Rockets, London’s No1 boat tour, operating for over 10 years from the London Eye Pier and St Katharine Pier, allows unrivalled coverage of both South and North banks. They engage both the young and the young at heart.
Thames Rockets offer an adventure like no other, with our handpicked guides who, being actors, comics, closet history buffs and London aficionados, bring together their passion with the fantastic history of the Thames. Cutting edge, superfast, and VERY red fleet ‘Thames Rockets’ propel passengers at a thrilling 35mph along the iconic waterway as you take in over 30 amazing landmarks.
6/9 Attraction finalist: Gallery Oldham
Gallery Oldham in Greater Manchester provides a welcoming environment where all visitors can explore, relax, learn and have fun. Everything is geared towards making a family day out as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. Dea Birkett, Director of Kids in Museums, says ‘Gallery Oldham stands out because visitors of all ages – from 80-year-old grandparents to two year old toddlers – say how welcoming it is, how friendly the staff are and what a wide range of things there are to do. Gallery Oldham is an excellent example of a small, local museum making a big impact.’
The onsite Naked Bean café is perfect for a bite to eat, with the best coffee in Oldham and milkshakes that are out of this world!
7/9 Attraction finalist: Beamish
At Beamish families enjoy an unforgettable trip back in time to experience incredible sights, sounds and tastes, as the past comes to life. Objects aren’t locked away in glass cases at this unique open-air museum, set in 350-acres of County Durham countryside. This is hands-on history, where families explore the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. Ride on a tram and steam engine, knead bakery dough, taste food from a coal-fired range, take a spin on the steam gallopers, write on a schoolroom slate, meet friendly costumed folk, join a Home Guard drill.
Beamish is an true family attraction, with a range of discounted family tickets, giving unlimited visits for a year as well as free family activities, events year-round, children’s menus, baby changing and other facilities.
8/9 Restaurant finalist: The Rainforest Cafe
Located in the heart of the West End at Piccadilly Circus is the world famous Rainforest Cafe, London’s largest family restaurant that offers a Wild place to shop and eat. All the family can enjoy great food and drinks in this spectacular restaurant whilst the unique jungle surroundings are brought to life with the help of stunning special effects including thunder and lightning storms and cascading waterfalls, as well as lifelike animatronic inhabitants including chattering gorillas, a menacing jaguar, snapping crocodile and trumpeting elephants.
Spread over three floors, the Rainforest Cafe has been delighting children and big kids alike for nearly two decades. Hidden amongst all this fun is also an important message that we do not inherit the Earth, but borrow it from our children. Rainforest Cafe is a keen sponsor of the World Land Trust, a charity protecting the environment, so it is as ethical as it is appealing.
9/9 Restaurant finalist: Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo has been voted the UK’s number one zoo*. With 1.6 million visitors every year, 20,000 wild and wonderful animals from over 500 exotic and endangered species, there is so much to see and do. Wander around the fantastic animal exhibits, including the Realm of the Red Ape and Tsavo Black Rhino reserve – complete with free flight aviary. Islands at Chester Zoo is a breath-taking new experience and lets you embark on your own wildlife expedition in the amazing tropical environments of six South East Asian islands. Learn all about these amazing animals and what Chester Zoo is doing to protect them in the wild.
Kids and grown-ups will love the Zoofari Monorail, allowing you to see the animals from a different perspective or find out a new favourite fact at one of our many animal talks. Chester Zoo is fully accessible with buggy and wheelchair hire, baby changing and baby feeding facilities, plus we’re open every day.