Hosted by former Emmerdale actress Natalie Anderson and broadcaster Rich Williams the glitzy ceremony, which is the largest celebration of tourism in the UK, featured entertainment from footballing legend turned Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara who performed two festive favourites from his debut album ‘Here’s to Christmas’.
William’s Den, which opened in July 2017, won the Best New Tourism Business award. The judges said, “William’s Den has quickly established itself as a fantastic venue for families.” They praised the clear focus on delivering a wonderful customer experience (to all ages) while not compromising on either sustainability, inclusivity or accessibility. The judges went on to say, “though still a young, developing business, it’s building strong foundations to surprise customers and to surpass all expectations to all its visitors.”
The popular family attraction also won Gold in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism award which recognises tourism businesses committed to the highest standards in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment. William’s Den swept to Gold in this new award for 2019 with its outstanding and innovative work. The judges said, “this forward-thinking attraction has a well-developed and executed ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism strategy and these principles run throughout the entire business – embracing the whole of the customer journey.”
William’s Den is the brainchild of local farmers Christian and Tor Carver, who had the vision to create a natural play space in a rural setting where children could use their imagination to play, explore and discover. Named after their son, William, it includes the UK’s biggest indoor wooden play structure, outdoor play area with water play, discovery zones, and den-making materials.
Says Tor Carver, “we are absolutely thrilled to win these two prestigious awards, and immensely proud of all the team who have worked so hard to create and launch William’s Den and see it grow in our first two years.
“In creating William’s Den, we aimed to offer a unique visitor experience for families which would benefit the landscape, the environment, and the community, and we are so proud of the results.”
William’s Den will now go forward to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence national finals.