Ribble Valley in line for top UK tourism award

Browsholme Hall
Browsholme Hall

A stately home and a restaurant in the Ribble Valley have beat off nationwide competition to represent the county in the UK finals of the prestigious Visit England Awards 2016.

Browsholme Hall in Clitheroe is in the final of the Sustainable Tourism category and Gisburn’s La Locanda will represent the Taste of England category.

Maurizio and Cincia Bocchi of La Locanda restaurant (s)

Maurizio and Cincia Bocchi of La Locanda restaurant (s)

The Visit England awards were set up to inspire and motivate businesses to become outstanding leaders in the industry. The finals will be held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens next month when the Ribble Valley duo battle it out for gold, silver or bronze awards.

Sally Balcombe who is the Chief Executive Officer of Visit England said the finalists were the best examples of outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout the UK. She said: “We received over 400 impressive applications this year and there is absolutely no doubt those shortlisted are representative of the best in the industry.’’

Browsholme Hall is set on a 500 year old historic rural estate and owners Amanda and Robert Parker have already been recognised for their efforts in running it as a sustainable business. Over the past five years the couple have followed a programme of sustainable initiatives including installing a ground source heat pump which provides heating and hot water and electricity consumption has been reduced with LED lighting technology. And the restoration of the tithe barn as a wedding venue and tourist destination has created more jobs. La Locanda celebrated its 12th anniversary in 2015 by clinching three top awards, including being named as the Best Italian Restaurant under 50 seats, winners of the gold award with the Pasta and Pizza Association and winners in the Taste Lancashire category of the county’s tourism awards. Being named as a winner of the Visit England Awards would be the icing on the cake for owners Maurizio and Cinzia Bocchi.

Chipping’s Gibbon Bridge Hotel is also in line for an honour after reaching the finals of the Lancashire Business View Red Rose Awards.