The winners of the 2018 Group Leisure & Travel Awards were honoured at a glittering ceremony held in Birmingham on 10th October.
Voted for by readers of Group Leisure & Travel magazine, the annual Reader Awards celebrate first class destinations, attractions and providers across group travel.
Held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, 20 accolades were handed out on the night which was full of fizz, delicious food and entertainment.
Gracing the stage to pick up trophies for the second-year running were LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, which retained the title of the Best UK Attraction for Children & Families and Group Line, named Best Ticketing Agency for 2018.
There were some exciting changes this year, not least with all finalists being revealed ahead of the ceremony itself.
And there were some new awards too, the gong for Best Museum or Gallery went to the team behind the King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester while readers named Chatsworth in Derbyshire as the Best Historic Attraction or Venue.
London was the focus of other honours with Disney’s Aladdin winning Best Theatre Production and Best UK Attraction won by The View from The Shard. Planet Hollywood scooped Best Group Dining Experience.
But the north of England also had its moment with Manchester voted Best UK Destination for a group visit. Further afield scenic Switzerland surprised many after it emerged as the winner of the Best International Destination.
The awards were presented by TV personality and self-confessed ‘culture vulture’ Gyles Brandreth, alongside Group Leisure & Travel Magazine publisher Rob Yandell.
Gyles is best known for his appearances on programmes ranging from the BBC’s The One Show and QI to Have I Got News for You and Just a Minute.
Group Leisure & Travel editor, Keeley Rodgers, said: “Our readers have had their say on the best across the group leisure and travel industry and what a fantastic array of providers, attractions and destinations we have.
“The quality this year has been so good that some outstanding attractions and companies didn’t even make the shortlist. A huge congratulations to all of the finalists and of course, our ultimate winners. They continue to prove that if you get it right, you reap the rewards, receive the kudos and, most importantly, retain and attract group business.”
Individual awards were presented on the night to Barbara Flood of Warner Leisure Hotels who won The Excellence Award, for great service to people organising group experiences. The hotly anticipated Group Travel Organiser of the Year Award® was awarded to Olivia Goodfellow of the Enfield Over 50s Forum. Olivia was chosen by a judging panel for her commitment and passion in organising trips for members of her group to a whole range of destinations.
The annual Group Leisure & Travel Awards recognise the best destinations, attractions, and providers in the group travel industry, as voted for by active travel organisers from sports and social clubs, retired associations, special interest societies and other groups.
The 2018 categories and winners are…
• Best UK Attraction for Children & Families: LEGOLAND Windsor Resort
• Best Museum or Gallery: King Richard III Visitor Centre
• Best Historic Attraction or Venue: Chatsworth
• Best Coach or Tour Operator - UK Tours: InterChoice
• Best Ferry or Fixed Link Operator: Eurotunnel
• Best Event For Groups: Newmarket Nights at Newmarket Racecourse
• Best Christmas Experience: Longleat Festival of Light
• Best Guided Tour: Woburn Abbey and Gardens
• Best Accommodation for Groups: Potters Resort
• Best Group Dining Experience: Planet Hollywood London
• Best Theatre Production: Aladdin
• Best Cruise Line: Cruise & Maritime Voyages
• Best Ticketing Agency: Group Line
• Best UK Destination: Manchester
• Best International Destination: Switzerland
• The Excellence Award 2018: Barbara Flood, Warner Leisure Hotels
• Best Group Tour Operator - Short Haul: Jet2 Holidays
• Best Group Tour Operator - Long Haul: South Quay Travel & Leisure
• Best UK Attraction: The View from The Shard
• Group Travel Organiser of the Year 2018: Olivia Goodfellow, Enfield Over 50s Forum
A special awards brochure and review will be included in the November edition of Group Leisure & Travel magazine.