Durham Farm Attraction is Cream of the the Tourist Crop
15 February 2011
Hall Hill Farm, near Lanchester, has scooped a top prize as the National Farm Attraction Network (NFAN) "Farm Attraction of the Year" beating stiff competition from scores of similar attractions across the United Kingdom. The award was announced at the NFAN Annual Conference last week (9th February) at Drayton Manor in the West Midlands and presented by Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Government spokesperson, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
A Lanchester farm is celebrating its success as a tourist attraction with a national award, as it prepares to open at half-term for the new tourism season.
Hall Hill Farm, near Lanchester, has scooped a top prize as the National Farm Attraction Network (NFAN) “Farm Attraction of the Year” beating stiff competition from scores of similar attractions across the United Kingdom.
The award was announced at the NFAN Annual Conference last week (9th February) at Drayton Manor in the West Midlands and presented by Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Government spokesperson, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
This is the second accolade in recent months for the farm as it was also named Best Tourism Experience of the Year at the 2010 North East England Tourism Awards.
Hall Hill Farm, which employs upto 50 people, welcomes around 60,000 visitors every year attracted by the family fun on offer and the opportunities to see and touch animals at close quarters. Visitors can bottle feed lambs, see fluffy chicks, inquisitive goats, magnificent Highland Cattle and get close to children’s favourites such as guinea pigs and rabbits, as well as enjoy a tractor or donkey ride around the beautiful countryside.
The County Durham farm, which opened in 1981, is very much a family business. Situated on a 291 hectare site near to Lanchester, Hall Hill Farm is owned by Jack & Pat Gibson, whose son David runs the working farm and livery and daughter Ann Darlington manages the Visitor Enterprise.
“We are thrilled to be named as Farm Attraction of the Year, as we were up against farms from all over the country. This prestigious award is fantastic news for everyone at Hall Hill” says Tourism Manager, Ann Darlington. “We have all worked very hard to make sure that we provide each visitor with an enjoyable and memorable experience. The fact we have won a national award is a real credit to all of our staff."
The National Farm Attractions Network is unique, set up as the only independent national cooperative for farm and rural attractions. The awards recognise the importance of high quality farm and rural tourism businesses. Now in the 9th year of the competition, Hall Hill Farm are the first ever winner from North East England.
Whilst judging they looked at the overall experience and enjoyment, visitor safety, together with the efficiency and attitudes of employees. Facilities are also closely judged; looking at the general layout, range of facilities including parking and toilets and the welfare of animals.
Barry Davies, from National Farm Attractions Network said, “Hall Hill Farm offers a fantastic experience for children, and is a well managed and professional organisation, with a commitment to staff training. They richly deserve this award.”
Hall Hill Farm will re-open for the new tourist season at half-term when it will be open to the public daily 10.30am -4.00pm from Saturday 19th February – Sunday 27th February. It will then be open to the public every weekend until April when it is open every day until the autumn.
Craig Wilson, Destination Development and Marketing Manager, Visit County Durham said: “Tourism is very important to the local economy. Hall Hill Farm offers a wonderful visitor experience and it is great to see a Durham attraction gaining recognition at a national level.”
Tourism in Durham is growing faster than in any other part of North East England according to economic impact figures released last year. The industry supports 11,500 jobs and attracts 18m visitors to County Durham per year. Tourism is a major part of the economy of North East England. It is worth nearly £4bn to the local economy and employs over 65,000 people.
For further information go to www.hallhillfarm.co.uk.
1. Ann Darlington receives Farm Attraction of the Year Award for Hall Hill Farm from Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Government spokesperson, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
2. Ann Darlington and the Hall Hill Farms magnificent Highland Cattle
3. Feeding Alpaca at Hall Hill Farm