A renowned County Durham farm attraction that aims to bring the story of the North East countryside to the masses has cemented its reputation after earning two awards.
Hall Hill Farm, near Lanchester, has received both a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and an LOtC Quality Badge from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
TripAdvisor, which recognises excellence in hospitality, only awards such certificates to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews, ranking them in the top-performing 10% of businesses listed on its website.
In order to make the grade, businesses must maintain an overall rating of at least four out of five.
The LOtC Quality Badge, meanwhile, was launched in 2009 as part of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, a national initiative to ensure young people are given opportunities to have get outside as part of the school curriculum.
It highlights both the educational worth and safety provision of organisations supporting the concept.
Hall Hill Farm tourism manager Ann Darlington said: “This is fantastic news for everyone at Hall Hill Farm. We continually do our best to offer our customers a memorable experience, and these accolades are evidence that our hard work is translating into positive experiences for all our visitors.
“Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of excellence and the LOtC Quality Badge is a real coup for all the staff. We are thrilled to get official recognition for our efforts and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors to Hall Hill Farm this summer.”
Employing up to 50 people at a time, Hall Hill Farm welcomes thousands of visitors every year, giving them the opportunity to learn more about everything from highland cattle to goats.
Visitors can also bottle feed lambs, pet guinea pigs and rabbits, and in the case of youngsters, enjoy a tractor or donkey ride around beautiful countryside.
The establishment, which aims to be both educational and entertaining, recently streamed the lambing process online so viewers could watch live births, and encouraged questions and comments over social media.
The farm’s annual sheep shearing events are likewise watched by hundreds and a new sheep racing event is already proving popular.
Vice president of marketing for TripAdvisor for Business, Alison Copus, said: “TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success of businesses around the globe which are consistently offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience.
“The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”
Beth Gardner, chief executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, said: “Educational visits are among the most memorable experiences in a child’s school life.
“The LOtC Quality Badge offers teachers a guarantee that not only is a venue providing the sort of educational value that they can build on in class long after the visit but they also have the appropriate risk management structures in place.”