Finalists in the 2018 White Rose Awards are announced

England's oldest surviving music hall and a £19m restoration project are among the Yorkshire tourist sites in the running for prizes in the UK's biggest hospitality awards.

Winners of the 2017 White Rose Awards

Today the finalists have been announced in the annual White Rose Awards – organised to celebrate Yorkshire’s £8bn-a-year tourism economy – after a record number of entries from restaurants, pubs, hotels, cultural events and caravan sites.

From coastal resorts to artisan food producers, the contest celebrates the best Yorkshire has to offer to tourists from around the world.

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More than a thousand people will be at the awards final, dubbed Yorkshire’s Big Night Out, at Harrogate Convention Centre in November.

Among the finalists is Victoria Hall in Settle, a Yorkshire Dales Victorian music venue which was established as a charity in 1991.

Built in the early 1850s, the venue first opened as Settle Music Hall in October 1853 and was restored in 2000.

The hall is nominated in the Arts and Culture category, along with venues including West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Hull New Theatre.

Halifax Piece Hall, a 200-year-old cloth trading site which opened last August following a 
multi-million pound regeneration scheme, is also nominated in the competition, organised by Leeds-based tourist organisation Welcome to Yorkshire.

The attraction, which dates back to 1779, is expected to draw 1.6m visitors to Halifax every year.

The Piece Hall is in the running for the Large Attraction of the Year prize.

Finalists in that category also include art gallery Hepworth Wakefield and the Emmerdale Studio Experience.

Entries in the contest were up by 20 per cent on last year.

Chairman of the White Rose Awards Judges is leading academic Professor Colin Mellor, Emeritus Professor at the University of York.

Also on the judging panel is James Mitchinson, Editorial Director for Johnston Press Yorkshire and Editor of The Yorkshire Post, media partner of the awards.

Prof Mellor said: “Winning a White Rose Award is a real accolade for Yorkshire’s tourism businesses and the task of shortlisting has been harder than ever.

“The standard of entries has been exceptional which is evidenced by the strength of the shortlists. It is testimony to the remarkable range and quality of the region’s tourism offer.

“With such tough competition, and a record 170 entries, selecting the winners this year is going to be extremely difficult.”

Tourist sites are nominated in categories including Visitor Information, Tourism Event, Restaurant and Pub of the Year.

Among hotels in the final are York’s Grand Hotel and Spa and Waterton Park Hotel in Wakefield.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The White Rose Awards are the largest and most prestigious in the UK’s hospitality and tourism industry and we have some really exciting finalists this year from both new and established businesses.

“The awards are a brilliant opportunity to shine the spotlight on the fantastic experiences to be had in Yorkshire.

“As well as the coveted gongs expect a night of first class entertainment – an event not to be missed.”

Winners of last year’s White Rose Awards included Harrogate’s Rudding Park Hotel, Cannon Hall Farm, near Barnsley, the Great Yorkshire Show and Bridlington Tourist Information Centre.

Finalists who were highly commended last year included the National Railway Museum in York, Vale of Pickering Caravan Park and Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb.

Businesses and organisations shortlisted in the contest benefit from the use of a White Rose Awards ‘finalist’ logo on their website and printed materials.

In some categories, finalists go on to be entered in the national Visit England awards. This year’s final will be held in Harrogate on Monday, November 12.