Saturday, February 4, 2023
HomeCultureScottish Thistle Award Winners 2022/23 – Regional Winners

Trending

Scottish Thistle Award Winners 2022/23 – Regional Winners

We are the champions, my friends! It was all glitz and glamour in the world of tourism when the Scottish Thistle Regional Awards took place throughout autumn. Three regional award ceremonies took place for Lothian & Borders, West and Central, and Fife & Tayside which were organised by VisitScotland. There was also award ceremonies for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) and Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) who are responsible for organising their own regional awards, with winners from all five regions progressing to the National Final in February 2023.

The Scottish Thistle Awards have been running for over 25 years, recognising and championing the very best of the Scottish tourism, hospitality, and events industries. Our judges were impressed by this year’s entries and these businesses made the winners list. They also provide great holiday inspiration for your next trip to Scotland!

Check out all our regional winners for 2022/23:

North
North East
Central Scotland
South Scotland
Islands
Scottish Agritourism winners

North

Falls of Foyer © VisitScotland / Luigi Di Pasquale

Regional Ambassador

Fiona Campbell, Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Argyll – Fiona was praised for showing great leadership when working alongside her team during the COVID-19 pandemic. The award recognises her efforts to help support the self-catering industry in Scotland.

Best Bar/Pub

MacGregor’s Bars, Inverness – the bar’s founder, Bruce MacGregor is one of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians and makes a regular appearance on Sunday afternoons playing tunes with his friends. Not to be missed!

Best Hotel Experience (over 20 rooms)

Mackays Hotel, Wick – if you’re looking to trace back your ancestors, the hotel can put you in touch with a local genealogist and will help get you access to Wick’s local library.

Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience

In Your Element – Aviemore & Cairngorms, Inverness and Loch Ness and Loch Lomond & Trossachs – the friendly team are always on hand when it comes to outdoor activity experiences. Improve your aim with archery, learn to paddle on a guided canoe tour or have good fun amongst the treetops where you’ll face an obstacle course of zip wires, balance beams, tight-ropes and much more.

Best Self-Catering Accommodation Experience

Knoydart Hide, Mallaig – couples will be able to experience a life of luxury at this magical woodland stay.

Food Tourism Award

Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Ltd, Campbeltown – flying the flag for sustainability, the distillery is powered using their own hydroelectricity and ingredients are sourced locally from their walled garden. If you fancy making your own bespoke gin, spend an afternoon at Kintyre Gin School.

Highland Ambassador

Ellie & Murray Lamont, Mackays Hotel – it was a winning streak for Mackays Hotel owners Ellie & Murray Lamont who recently achieved a remarkable milestone after notching up 65 years of ownership by one family. The couple were praised for their training, high level of customer service and work across the community for tourism and hospitality over the years.

Highland Rising Star

Dougal Cameron, The Lunchbox Boys, Newtonmore – the judges sent their compliments to the chef when Dougal Cameron picked up his award. The Highland Rising Star award recognises young people who are making a real impact on Scottish tourism and continue to excel in their chosen industry.

Royal Bank of Scotland Climate Champion  

Visit Inverness Loch Ness – a brand-new category was added to this year’s award list. Visit Inverness Loch Ness were the lucky winners who played an active role to deliver the highest levels of excellence in all things sustainability.

Tourism and Hospitality Hero

Graham Rooney, Platform 1864 – Graham set up a home delivery service cleverly named ‘deliverooney’ during the height of the pandemic. This gave locals the chance to savour the delicious flavours of its hearty pub fare at home.

North East

Douneside House

Best Eatery Experience 

WeeCOOK Kitchen, Carnoustie – from beef steak bourguignon to chicken and bacon pies, you’ll be amazed with the selection on offer here, and it’s even Taste Our Best approved!

Kirk View, Aberdeen – inspired by the flavours of Scotland, enjoy a spot of afternoon tea. During the summer, kids eat free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival

Over Lunan by Aproxima Arts, Lunan Bay, Montrose – this fabulous event won over judges which complemented the work of journalist Charlie Ross who spent his summer in Lunan Bay in 2015. Live performances were held in September 2022 shedding light on some of the hidden connections he found between Lunan and places far afield, including the ancient cultures of the Middle East.

Aberdeen Jazz Festival – regular festival goers were still able to get their music fix at this year’s hybrid event. This helped to play an important role in keeping musical performances alive during the pandemic.

Best B&B or Guest House Experience

Lys-na-Greyne, Aboyne – guests can enjoy a comfortable stay and spectacular views from their room. You might be lucky to spot some wildlife within the area!

Best Hotel Experience (under 20 rooms)

Douneside House, Aboyne – luxury accommodation awaits. Choose from 13 elegantly furnished rooms in the main building or if you’re travelling with family or a large group of friends you might be tempted by the holiday cottages.

Best Hotel Experience (over 20 rooms)

Maryculter House, Aberdeen – make your stay extra special by booking a unique experience. Watch the Braemar Gathering in all its glory or trace back to the Gordon’s clan history on an exclusive tour.

Working Together for Tourism

Cairngorm Lodges and Bothies, Aboyne – the judges were impressed by the team’s collaborative work for developing forward and their engagement with a wide range of quality partners during the pandemic.

Tourism and Hospitality Hero

Marta Skowron-Thielun, Hilton TECA – Marta went the extra mile for others during the pandemic whether that was for customers, colleagues or the local community. Judges described her as “a self-starter with energy, initiative and self-motivation who went above and beyond in the workplace.”

Regional Ambassador 

Stephen Gow, General Manager of The Chester Hotel and Chairman of Hospitality Apprenticeship North East – Stephen’s wealth of experience within the hospitality industry was instrumental to him creating the Hospitality Apprenticeship North-East initiative, hoping to inspire and encourage a new generation into a career in hospitality.

Best Bar/Pub 

Titan Sky Bar Meldrum House, Oldmeldrum – won the award for working with local suppliers which ultimately helped reduce their food miles.

Best Outdoor or Adventure Activity 

Wild Discovery, Ballater – this tour operator has helped put Aberdeenshire on the map as one of the best counties for wildlife watching and raising the profile of the area, to the benefit of the local economy.

Food Tourism

City of Aberdeen Distillery & Gin School – become a distiller for the day and create your very own Scottish Gin. You’ll kickstart the experience with a double G&T welcome drink and uncover the rich history of Aberdeen’s distilling heritage whilst crafting your perfect tipple.

Best Visitor Attraction Experience

Macduff Marine Aquarium back to reclaim their 2015 title, the judges were impressed by the aquarium’s online presence during the pandemic and its focus on the area rather than the business. It was also noted that the aquarium was considerate of the challenges that their potential customers would face with the cost-of-living crisis, ticking all the right boxes for inclusivity.

Central Scotland

Celtic Connections © Glasgow Life / Gaelle Beri

Best Bar/Pub

Allanwater Brewhouse, Stirling – visitors are always in high spirits with its wide range of brewery tours, you can even become a brewer for the day!

Teuchter’s Landing, Leith, Edinburgh – enjoy your favourite comfort food in a mug! Haggis, neeps and tatties, Cullen skink and mac and cheese are just some of the favourites amongst visitors and locals.

Best B&B or Guest House Experience

Crescent House, Edinburgh – located in Edinburgh’s New Town, relax in style in this boutique B&B. Before you set off for the day, enjoy the signature ‘Buddha’ continental breakfast.

Best Eatery Experience

Café St Honore, Edinburgh – sustainability is at the heart of Café St Honore. The restaurant are loyal supporters of Slow Food Edinburgh and support local producers while raising awareness of global food issues.

Best Hotel Experience (over 20 rooms)

Murrayshall Country Estate, Perth – escape the busy bustle of everyday life with a luxury four-star country house stay. Keen golfers can also play a round of golf or two.

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, Edinburgh – guests can feel like a pampered pooch at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Spa. Facilities include an indoor pool, sauna and steam room.

The Kirklands Hotel, Kinross – this rustic 17th century coaching inn went under a major refurbishment in 2007 and the rest as they say is history. With eight en-suite bedrooms and delicious food and drink on offer, you’ll never want to leave!

Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience

Beyond Adventure, Aberfeldy – Scotland is your oyster when it comes to outdoor adventures. Enjoy the thrill of mountain biking or take to the water with paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing.

A wee pedal, Edinburgh – this multi-award-winning family business certainly knows a thing or two about cycling. Get your bearings and discover Edinburgh’s hidden gems with a cycling tour, or brush up on your cycling technique with tuition lessons.

Best Self-Catering or Accommodation Experience

The Old Millhouse, Dalkeith – this luxurious stay, which sleeps 10, offers a private swim spa. Guests will even be given their very own robe, spa towels and flip flops for the ultimate spa experience.

Best Visitor Attraction Experience

The Helix: Home of the Kelpies, Grangemouth – designed by Andy Scott, the Kelpies have been dominating the Scottish landscape since late 2013. Enjoy a tour around Helix Park and discover the story behind these magnificent metal sculptures before venturing off to explore its paths and trails by bike or on foot.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh – enter a world full of optical illusions! Located just next to Edinburgh Castle, you’ll find five floors of over 100 interactive, hands-on exhibits to enjoy. Don’t forget to head to the Rooftop Terrace where you’ll be treated to impressive views of the city’s skyline.

Food Tourism Award

Once Upon a Whisky, Glasgow – you’ll be blown away by the whisky ambassador’s impressive knowledge of our national drink. Book a tour today or enjoy an online whisky tasting in the comfort of your own home.

Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival

Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh – entertaining audiences for over 70 years, the biggest arts festival in the world brings together the very best of music, theatre, opera and dance during the month of August.

Glasgow Life: Celtic Connections – Glasgow never misses a beat when it comes to music. This toe-tapping festival knows how to start the new year off right, hosting concerts, ceilidhs and workshops.

Regional Ambassador

Steven Campbell, Discover Clackmannanshire – born and bred in Clackmannanshire, Steven started his career in hospitality at the award-winning Inglewood House in Alloa and has never looked back. He founded Discover Clackmannanshire to help bring together the regions’ tourism businesses and his hard work has definitely paid off. The judges praised the chairman for his clear commitment to the region and the ‘spirit of collaboration’ he displays in his own businesses and in the work of Discover Clackmannanshire. Well done Steven!

Emma Chalmers, Mary’s Meanders Tours – Emma has been a powerful advocate for the impact of Outlander on the local tourism economy. Based in Linlithgow, the tour operator’s Outlander themed tours have proved popular amongst visitors. The judges were impressed by her passion and drive to help promote the region through film tourism working alongside Visit West Lothian and other groups within the local area.

Tourism & Hospitality Hero

June Goodfellow, Taste Perthshire – it was a recipe for success when June took home the award for Tourism & Hospitality Hero. Taste Perthshire offers a unique blend of shopping and run an all-day family restaurant, providing outstanding service and high-quality products.

Working Together for Tourism

What would Mary do? Hostelling Scotland, Stirling – the ‘What would Mary do?’ campaign captured the judges’ hearts with a beautifully shot cycling film. It follows the journey of Lee Craigie, Phillippa Battye and Alice Lemkes from The Adventure Syndicate who take on a five-day, 300-mile cycling journey showcasing Scotland’s magical landscapes with the true spirit of hostelling.

Watch the heart-warming video now

A Toast to Gaia – Edinburgh Science, Edinburgh – earlier this year, visitors and locals were able to enjoy exclusive cocktails while also doing their bit for the planet. In preparation for the Edinburgh Science Festival, a self-guided tour was created which involved 17 independent bars dotted across the city with bartenders creating climate-friendly and sustainable drinks. It proved so popular that it even got a green thumbs up from our judges!

South Scotland

The Eye, Black Loch © Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere

Best B&B or Guest House Experience

Queensberry House, Moffat, Dumfries & Galloway – this adults only hotel is located in Europe’s first Dark Sky town and provides excellent customer service. You won’t even have to carry any of your heavy luggage to your room as all rooms are situated on the ground floor.

Best Eatery Experience and Best Hotel Experience (under 20 rooms)

The Ship Inn & No1 Fleet Street Restaurant, Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries & Galloway – scooping up not only one but two awards, The Ship Inn & No1 Fleet Street Restaurant definitely have stars in their eyes. The inn won the ‘Best Hotel Experience’ at the regional finals and enjoyed another taste of success when its restaurant picked up the ‘Best Eatery Experience’.

Best Self-Catering Experience

Loch Ken Eco Bothies, Dumfries & Galloway – families can enjoy a luxury wilderness stay in fully equipped and furnished bothies in the heart of the Galloway and Southern UNESCO Biosphere.

Best Visitor Attraction Experience

The Devil’s Porridge Museum, Dumfries & Galloway – the museum which tells the story of HM Factory Gretna WWI munitions site was given positive feedback from the judges. The award recognises their outstanding creativity and continuous involvement with the local community.

Tourism & Hospitality Hero

Caroline Raeburn, Peebles Hydro Hotel, Scottish Borders – Caroline was crowned Tourism & Hospitality Hero for putting the interests of staff, colleagues, and the visitors to the hotel at the heart of everything she does.

Lee Medd, Annandale Distillery, Dumfries & Galloway – the judges were impressed by Lee’s can-do attitude and always going above and beyond to ensure visitors had the best experience possible and that his staff were always well supported.

Working Together for Tourism

Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere – the UNESCO site has been a trailblazer for demonstrating a strong community-led collaborative approach by sharing their sustainable and responsible activities with the wider industry.

Islands

Hermaness National Nature Reserve © Nature Scot / Lorne Gill

Best Bar/Pub

The Ormidale, Isle of Arran – this family-run business came out on top at the regional finals. The pub was praised for adapting operations during the pandemic and for always providing a warm and friendly service.

Best Hotel Experience (over 20 rooms)

Auchrannie Resort, Isle of Arran – fun for all the family. The resort offers a range of facilities including restaurants, leisure clubs, spa, an adventure centre and playbarn and much more. Bringing your electric car on holiday? Good news! You can top up at the resort’s very own EV charging point.

Best Hotel Experience (under 20 rooms) and Best Eatery Experience

Coll Hotel, Isle of Coll – you’ll feel right at home when you stay at the Isle of Coll’s only hotel. Each room is kitted out with toiletries and a hospitality tray filled with lots of goodies to try. You’ll even be lucky enough to soak in the impressive views from your hotel room looking out across the bay to Mull, Staffa and the Treshnish Isles.

Best B&B or Guest House Experience

Tigh Na Mara Guest House, Isle of Barra – keep your energy levels up with a delicious cooked breakfast before you set off for the day. Film fans might be familiar with this location too as Barra’s renowned beaches and rugged coastline were made famous by the film Whisky Galore.

Best Visitor Attraction Experience

Shetland Seabird Tours – The Noss Boat – head out on a chartered boat tour with an expert skipper and see an incredible range of seabirds and wildlife up close.

Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival

Fèis Ìle, The Islay Festival – whisky fans unite for a festival like no other, jam-packed with tastings, tours, beaches, walks, ceilidhs, sunsets and sunrises.

Working Together for Tourism

Wild Skies Shetland – this volunteer-run charity aims to showcase the very best of Unst skies and works with other organisations to help achieve this.

Scottish Agritourism Winners

Kitchen Coos and Ewes © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Agritourism is quickly becoming a growing travel trend. Visitors are now seeking out authentic rural experiences that connect them to the countryside and Scotland’s natural larder. You’ll find lots of farm experiences across the country which are the cream of the crop, including tours, food and drink and accommodation.

Best B&B or Guest House Experience

Newton Farm Holidays & Tours, Inverarity – stay on a working farm and get ready to meet your new animal neighbours. Experience life like a farmer on a farm tour or groom a Highland Cow’s magnificent coat. During the spring, you’ll be given the chance to bottle-feed new-born lambs.

Best Self-Catering Accommodation Experience

Morton of Pitmilly, St Andrews – upgrade your countryside stay with 4 or 5 star accommodation. Get your bearings and take a walk around the 150-acre farm with lots of paths and trails to explore. Wildlife enthusiasts will be in their element where they will be able to see regular sightings of pheasants, partridge, heron, badgers, hares and deer.

Down On The Farm, Fraserburgh – glamping just got a whole lot cooler. Choose from a wide range of quirky accommodation, which includes everything from coastal carriages to harvest huts, while you wake up to the sound of farm animals. From May to September, take a trailer tour where you’ll start on the farm learning about the cattle before concluding the tour along Aberdeenshire’s coastline, uncovering its rich history and natural heritage. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, you might be lucky enough to see dolphins and a variety of seabirds.

Food Tourism Award

Thyme Deli & Bistro at Errichel Farm, Aberfeldy – launching brand-new farm tours in 2022, this has helped encourage visitors to meet and feed ethically-reared rare-breed livestock and engages with the businesses field to fork ethos. The judges were impressed with their commitment to promoting artisan food suppliers from all over Scotland and recently introduced Scottish cheese and charcuterie tasting sessions, where visitors can sample award-winning Scottish produce. 

Drift Coffeehouse, East Lothian – food with a view. Drift coffeehouse provides local employment, good hospitality and freshly prepare all their food using locally sourced produce. They’re also proud to be part of the Scottish Enterprise Agritourism Project.

Best Outdoor Adventure or Adventure Experience

Kitchen Coos & Ewes, Dumfries & Galloway – Fancy afternoon tea with a difference? Head out on a farm tour trailer and see Highland cows and Beltex sheep up close and a sheep shearing demonstration. Afterwards, seek shelter in the farmhouse kitchen and dig into tasty sandwiches and baked treats.

Congratulations to our worthy winners at this year’s Regional Awards, an amazing and well-deserved achievement! In February 2023, the red carpet will roll out again for our regional winners who will represent their region at the national Scottish Thistle Awards. Make sure to keep up to date with all the winners on their website. Good luck everyone!

The post Scottish Thistle Award Winners 2022/23 – Regional Winners appeared first on The Blog.

 

Read More On VisitScotland.com

Bookmark (0)
Facebook Comments Box

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!

Scottish Culture

Generated by Feedzy