Castles, Kirks, Campervans and Crime all reach finals of Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards

Leslie Castle is vieing for the title of Best Guesthouse Experience

THE 2023 finalists in the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards are announced today (Tuesday 18 July). 47 tourism and hospitality businesses and individuals from across the northeast of Scotland will now go forward to the final judging ahead of the awards ceremony in September.

The shortlist demonstrates the scope and diversity of the local tourism product with the list including castles, kirks, campervans and crime.

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Leslie Castle in Auchleven and the Auld Kirk in Ballater will vie for the title of Best B & B or Guesthouse Experience. Grampian Campervan Hire by Kennethmont will line up with Shepherd’s Loch Glamping by Turriff, Boutique Farm Bothies – Drumblade and Down on the Farm – Rosehearty in the Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience category. Aberdeen’s Crime Festival – Granite Noir will face up to Spectra and Stonehaven’s Midsummer Beer Happening.

The awards are organised by a committee of volunteers from across the tourism and hospitality sector and are supported by sponsorship.

Stephen Gow, chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards, said: “We had an increase of 30% in entries this year and it’s great to see some first-time entrants reaching the finals.

“We’ve always wanted the awards to be representative of the entirety of our tourism sector with finalist businesses of all sizes and to represent all corners of our region. So, it’s excellent to see that the finalists are split equally between businesses in the city and those in the shire.”

The full list of finalists is:

Best B & B or Guest House Experience – sponsored by Leonardo Hotels

  • Leslie Castle – Auchleven
  • Auld Kirk – Ballater

Best Hotel Experience – sponsored by Fishers 

  • Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel and Spa
  • Saplinbrae Hotel and Lodges by Peterhead
  • Ferryhill House Hotel in Aberdeen

Best Eating Experience              

  • Tarragon by Graham Mitchell – Aberdeen
  • Castleton Farm- Laurencekirk
  • Peartree Coffee House and Bistro – Fraserburgh
  • Amuse by Kevin Dalgleish – Aberdeen

Celebrating Thriving Communities – sponsored by NorthLink Ferries     

  • Gordon Highlanders Museum – Aberdeen
  • Royal Deeside Golf Week
  • Benholm and Johnshaven Heritage Society

Best Self-Catering Accommodation Experience – sponsored by ACSHA 

  • Grampian Campervan Hire – Kennethmont
  • Shepherd’s Loch Glamping – by Turriff
  • Boutique Farm Bothies – Drumblade
  • Down on the Farm – Rosehearty

Best Bar or Pub – sponsored by Shepherd and Wedderburn

  • The Craftsman Company
  • Grape and Grain
  • The Tippling House – all Aberdeen

The MacRobert Trust Emerging Talent Award – sponsored by The MacRobert Trust

  • Liam Ord – Aberdeen Altens Hotel
  • Nicole Roy  – Siberia Hotel
  • Callum Davie  – Chop Grill and Bar
  • Kyle Ewen – Resident X
  • Rosa Jackson – Leonardo Hotels

 Inclusive Tourism – sponsored by VisitAberdeenshire

  • Crathie Opportunity Holidays
  • Aberdeen Art Gallery
  • Dalriada Luxury Lodges

Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival – sponsored by Luxe Scotland 

  • Granite Noir – Aberdeen
  • Spectra – Aberdeen
  • Midsummer Beer Happening – Stonehaven

Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience – sponsored by Opportunity North East

  • Down On The Farm
  • Highlands Unbridled
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • Wild Discovery

Tourism and Hospitality Employer of the Year

  • The Aberdeen Altens Hotel
  • Leonardo Hotels Aberdeen
  • Castleton Farm – Laurencekirk

Best Visitor Attraction – sponsored by Aberdeen International Airport

  • Gordon Highlanders Museum – Aberdeen
  • Aberdeen Science Centre
  • Aberdeen Art Gallery

Tourism Individual of The Year – sponsored by P & J Live

  • Ian Pithie – Gordon Highlanders Museum
  • Anna Mitchell -Castleton Farm
  • Alison Christie – Leonardo Hotels
  • Alan Findlater – Luxe Scotland

Climate Action Award

  • Cairngorms Bothies and Lodges – Logie Coldstone
  • Aberdeen Performing Arts
  • The Bay Fish and Chips – Stonehaven

The Awards take place on Friday 22 September at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. Tickets for the ceremony are available to buy online and the full finalist list can be viewed on the awards website  

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