Kielder Water & Forest Park won gold to be officially recognised as the best tourism experience in the country.
The park won the prestigious honour at the VisitEngland 2013 Awards for Excellence held last night (May 20) at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Elisabeth Rowark, Director, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: “We are thrilled to have been recognised as the very best tourism experience in the whole of the country and it was a great honour to represent North East England at these top national awards.
“Our members across the Park in the last year have enjoyed an increase in the number of visitors to their attractions to nearly 370,000 and the best has yet to come.
“This year will see exciting developments including our bid for Dark Sky Park status, growth of the art and architecture programme, capital developments across several of our visitor centres and an ever growing, action packed event programme that is attracting visitors from across the UK.”
Stacy Burlett, Head of Customer and Cultural Services for Northumberland County Council, said: Tourism is a vital economic generator for our county providing 11% of our employment and an area the Council is committed to growing. We are proud to be a core partner on Kielder Water & Forest Park and celebrate its success as a key destination for Northumberland.”
Kate Priestly, Chair of Northumberland Tourism, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Kielder Water & Forest Park has been recognised in the National Tourism Awards as one of the must visit destinations in Northumberland.
“More than nine million people visit the county each year contributing a staggering £706 million to our local economy.
“There is no doubt that Kielder Water & Forest Park is an outstanding tourism experience, offering unrivalled events and playing a significant part in the success of tourism in Northumberland.”
Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information go to www.visitkielder.com.
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Kielder Water & Forest Park is the ultimate outdoor playground that everyone can enjoy.
Kielder Castle is the visitor centre for Kielder Forest. Features include information centre, tearoom and exhibitions about forestry and conservation. Bike hire available.
Luxury lodges on the lakeside of Kielder Water boast panoramic views stretching over the lake and forest.