Fabulous cheese, Christmas ice skating and mad clowns with chainsaws – York’s incredibly diverse tourist sector was reflected in the winners of the Visit York Awards.

The best in tourism gathered in the National Railway Museum’s Grand Station Hall for the 18th awards on Wednesday night (June 3).

Biggest winner of the night was York Maze, which took home three awards, including large Visitor Attraction of the Year and Visitor Experience for that clown-with-chainsaw fright-fest Hallowscream.

Love Cheese on Gillygate is the Shopping Experience of the Year while real ale have the Blue Boar on Castlegate was named top pub or bar.

This year, the title of York Tourism Ambassador was awarded to Roger Lee, Bedern Hall director and chairman of the York Festival Trust which stages the Mystery Plays.

‘Exceptional people’

The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley, was named Hotel of the Year, while the Café/Tearoom of the Year is vegan haven El Piano. Sumptuous 18th century manor house Middlethorpe Hall & Spa is Restaurant of the Year.

Donna Price was awarded the Outstanding Customer Service Award for her work at the Hilton Hotel on Tower Street.

Conference Venue of the Year went to York Racecourse while skating and hot chocolate haven Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland is Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000 visitors).

Kate McMullen, Make It York’s head of consumer products and marketing, said:

For our tourism sector to be successful York needs exceptional people, as well as exceptional businesses and this is what these tourism awards celebrate.

The 2015 winners

Bed & Breakfast of the Year: Bishops Guest House

Photograph: Bishops Guest House Facebook

Photograph: Bishops Guest House Facebook

Finalists
Carr House Farm
No. 21 York

Café/Tearoom of the Year: El Piano

Photograph: El Piano Facebook

Photograph: El Piano Facebook

Finalists
Cakes d’Licious
Kafeneion
Nunnington Hall
UGOT

Caravan Park of the Year: Robin Hood Caravan Park

Photograph: Robin Hood Caravan Park on Facebook

Photograph: Robin Hood Caravan Park on Facebook

Finalists
Cawood Holiday Park

Conference Venue of the Year: York Racecourse

Photograph: York Racecourse

Photograph: York Racecourse

Finalists
National Railway Museum
Scarborough Spa
York Conferences
York Science Park Ltd

Family Friendly Experience of the Year: York Maze

Brian Blessed at the launch of York Maze in 2014. Photograph: York Maze

Brian Blessed at the launch of York Maze in 2014. Photograph: York Maze

Finalists
DIG – An Archaeological Adventure
JORVIK Viking Centre
Novotel
The Web Adventure Park
York Racecourse
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland

Hotel of the Year: The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

Photograph: Black Swan Hotel Facebook

Photograph: Black Swan Hotel Facebook

Finalists
Middlethorpe Hall & Spa
Middleton’s Hotel
The Judge’s Lodgings
York Marriott Hotel

Outstanding Customer Service Award: Donna Pryce, Hilton Hotel

Finalists
Deighton Lodge – Jennifer Marsden
The Whippet Inn Steak and Alehouse – Morgan McDermott
York Museums Trust – Thomas Jacobs
The team at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland
The team at York Maze

Pub/Bar of the Year: The Blue Boar

Photograph: The Blue Boar Facebook

Photograph: The Blue Boar Facebook

Finalists
The Golden Fleece
The House of Trembling Madness
Walmgate Ale House & Bistro
The Drovers Arms

Restaurant of the Year: Middlethorpe Hall & Spa

Photograph: Middlethorpe Hall & Spa

Photograph: Middlethorpe Hall & Spa

Finalists
Hudson’s restaurant – Grand Hotel & Spa
Mumbai Lounge
The Star Inn The City
The Whippet Inn Steak and Alehouse

Self-Catering Venue of the Year: The Dovecote Barns

Photograph: Dovecote Barns on Facebook

Photograph: Dovecote Barns on Facebook

Finalists
Lendal Tower
Wolds Edge Holiday lodges
York Hop Store
Street Farm Cottages

Shopping Experience of the Year: Love Cheese

Photograph: Love Cheese on Facebook

Photograph: Love Cheese on Facebook

Finalists
Pandora York
York’s Chocolate Story
York Does Vintage – Now & Then Events

Visitor Attraction of the Year (over 50K visitors): York Maze

Geoff Boycott and Tom Pearcy. Photograph: York Maze

Geoff Boycott and Tom Pearcy. Photograph: York Maze

Finalists
Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens – The National Trust
Nunnington Hall – The National Trust
York’s Chocolate Story

Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50K visitors): Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland

Photograph: Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland on Facebook

Photograph: Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland on Facebook

Finalists
Goddard’s House and Gardens – The National Trust
The Richard III and Henry VII Experiences – the JORVIK Group
The World of James Herriot

Visitor Experience of the Year: York Maze – HallowScream

Hallowscream_Logo_LARGE

Finalists
Wild Harvest
Yorkshire Food Finder
Yorkshire Museums Trust – York Castle Museum
York Racecourse

York Tourism Ambassador: Roger Lee

York Tourism Ambassador Roger Lee with Kate McMullen of Make It York. Photograph: Kippa Matthews

York Tourism Ambassador Roger Lee with Kate McMullen of Make It York. Photograph: Kippa Matthews

Heather Corbett

Heather Corbett

Heather has just finished her English Lit and Philosophy degree at York University. She loves books, writing and tea