Ribble Valley Tourism Awards 2014 Online edition

In 2014 Patrick Tostevin managed, after many years dedicated hard work to secure the return of the famous roman helmet to Ribchester. It took years of negotiating and fundraising to get one of the most famous roman artefacts back for the museums centenary year. As a result there was a significant increase in visitor numbers including many from overseas.

The Special Contribution Award goes to Patrick Tostevin from Ribchester Museum.


Working together really is the essence of the Ribble Valley Tourism Association and the first award, Tourism Partnership, recognises two local businesses that work together to significantly increase business for each of them as well as benefitting the wider Ribble Valley, enticing new visitors to discover the area. By combining a unique dining experience with high quality boutique accommodation, a very attractive short stay package has been developed, which captured the attention of national media. The awards for Tourism Partnership goes to La Locanda &  Park House.

La LocandaPark House

Effective team work is often the key to business success and this area boasts many outstanding teams, one such team has been key to the transformation of an old village pub into a highly popular dining experience, with a reputation that attracts diners from across the region whilst maintaining the warmth atmosphere and charm of a classic English country pub. The team works together to offer the highest standards of personal customer service. The Tourism Team award goes to the Assheton Arms.Assheton Arms

The next award goes to a hotel with very green credentials but one which has also incorporated new technologies into the business. With state of the art solar panels, heat source pumps and heat exchange systems, this hotel cares for the environment as well as reducing operating costs significantly. The award  Innovation in technology goes to Mytton Fold Hotel .

Mytton Fold

Events form one of the mainstays of Ribble Valley Tourism, and one event in particular last year grew significantly in size and impact, with even more ambitious ideas participated for 2014. From humble beginnings, this event now attracts top musicians, and has even diversified into poetry and crafts. The event has introduced a whole new generation to jazz locally, attracting large numbers of day visitors and staying tourists into the area. The Event of the year is the Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.Ribble Valley Jazz Festival

A business website is now a fundamental tool for marketing new business and maintaining contact with customers. There are many outstanding business websites and surprisingly some which are not so well maintained. The winner of the most customer friendly website offer clever simplicity with a website that is easy to understand and navigate and yet technically clever I the range of functions and services that it offer. The site is therefore user friendly, its language and graphics are clear and it is informative to use. Sharp, up to date and fun to use, the  Customer Friendly website is www.millstonehotel.co.uk i.e. Millstone Hotel Mellor.


Tourism is highly competitive, which means that businesses have to be entrepreneurial and creative. Our first award for innovation goes to a business which, having enjoyed years of success as an outdoor education and adventure centre for young people has had to diversify to ensure its future. Introducing new facilities, events and marketing, this award winner has altered direction to think into the future, in order to develop new target markets, whilst at the same time continuing to provide excellent service to longstanding user groups. Our first  Business Innovation award goes to Waddow Hall.Waddow Hall

Some of the Ribble Valley businesses are owned by groups that invest and reinvest in the quality of their products, often employing highly motivated skilled staff. One such example stands out for their careful and highly tasteful investment in their properties some of which are historically important buildings. Of note is there clever interior designs d furniture choice which together with creative menus and excellent serves, especially for weddings, results in tourism of the highest standard, including the winner of the Best Wedding venue in Lancashire. An award for Business innovation therefore goes to The James Places group.

Eaves Hall

The environment in which we dine is always very important to business success, and the next award winner has managed to create a most tasteful and vibrant atmosphere, which is backed up by excellent customer service and of course, quality food. It has become a haven in its locality, the place to meet, an award for Creativity in Food and Hospitality goes to Benedicts of Whalley.


There is an outstanding range of excellent food outlets in the valley but some stand out for the quality of their food and service, as well as offering good value for money. One such venue stands out for their flexible service, including the ability to accommodate group visits speedily, whilst maintaining the highest standard of food quality. An  award  for  Creativity in Food and Hospitality goes to Calf’s Head, Worston. Calfs Head

The need to continuously invest in quality is critical to success in an area which boasts some of the finest leisure and hospitality venues. One that is worthy of recognition has continually invested and grown its facilities to the highest standards possible. By offering a range of dining options, wedding facilities, together with leisure, beauty and business tourism experiences, and this hotel has a stunning range of facilities maintained to the highest standards. A tastefully designed and extremely well managed. The winner of  Quality Business Development is  Stanley House Hotel.Stanley House

The Ribble Valley Tourism Association relies on volunteers to manage its business and to raise its profile, and one member has made an outstanding contribution to the association in recent years. Often working behind the scenes, he has always taken his roles and responsibilities seriously, with the good of the association as his primary concern, the award for  Special Contribution to RVTA goes to Howard Brindle of York House.

Tourism needs Champions to set standards and break new ground. Our tourism Champion started in business with a home baking stall on Blackburn market. Taking the brave step to start a restaurant with a humble six serviced bedrooms, the business has just grown and grown, into an award winning 30 bed four star hotel. Our Champion has always endeavoured to stay ahead, and in 1995 her hotel became the first in Lancashire to be registered for civil weddings where hundreds of couples have been made so welcome, and very happy with sumptuous hospitality and outstanding service in truly glorious surroundings. Our 2014 Tourism Champion is, of course, pioneer and entrepreneur, Janet Simpson of the Gibbon Bridge Hotel.

Gibbon Bridge

Working well as a team is critical to providing excellent customer service, and one team in the nominations stood out for their success. Offering an outstanding range of dietary options, together little touches of unexpected luxury and service, this hotel is driven by the ambition to exceed customer expectations. The Stars in Tourism award winner for Team Excellence in Customer Service, is the award winning and very environmentally friendly Stirk House Hotel.

Stirk House Hotel

Ribble Valley Tourism is all about quality experiences, and there is one business which, over the past year has invested significantly to develop the highest possible food and hospitality experience, probably one of the best in the country, not least with their unique Chefs table dining experience.  Always at the cutting edge of culinary experience, this business has yet again pushed the boundaries of quality with their investment in fine dining. The winner of  Quality Tourism Investment is Northcote.


One of the new self-catering businesses to arrive on the Ribble Valley scene has established facilities of the highest quality, and this business is already achieving outstanding customer feedback and high occupancy levels through the year. The  New Enterprise award goes to Bramley Farm Cottages.