Hall Hill Farm, near Lanchester, is celebrating more national recognition as it prepares to open for the 2018 tourism season. The popular farm attraction on the edge of the Durham Dales has been named as the runner-up, receiving the Highly Commended accolade, in the National Farm Attraction of the year awards.

The National Farm Attraction Network Awards celebrate the best in UK farm and rural attractions, where winners are recognised for championing customer service, innovation, and outstanding education. Hall Hill Farm was only beaten by Tapnell Farm Park, located on the Isle of Wight. The two other finalists were Cantref Adventure Farm in Brecon and The Pink Pig in Scunthorpe.

This news comes on top of 2017 being a record-breaking year for the popular Durham farm after increasing its visitor numbers by 15%. The award-winning Hall Hill Farm, a family-run tourist attraction, which has been providing children and families with an educational and fun day out for over 35 years, were also recent winners of the Silver Award in the 2017 North East England Tourism Awards for Best Small Visitor Attraction, and Richard Darlington, the shepherd was also named as Durham Tourism Superstar in 2017.

Ann Darlington, tourism development manager at Hall Hill Farm said: “It’s always great to receive national recognition, as well as support in our own region. We are a very small team, at the heart of which is a family run business, and we are very lucky to have staff, who all work so hard at ensuring our visitors enjoy a great day out.

“We’ve already had some new arrivals here on the farm, or first newborn animal of 2018 was a pygmy goat and there will be much more during half-term. We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors during half-term, many of whom return time and time again helping us to create a fun environment for everyone to enjoy at our family farm.”

Farm parks are one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK visitor attraction’s market according to research from Visit England.

Colin Evans, NFAN chairman said, “Over 20 million visits a year are made to UK farm parks, enabling families and school groups to discover more about farming and food, all while having fun. The annual awards celebrate the best farm park cafes and restaurants, the innovators, the customer service champions and the outstanding educators. The judges have found this year’s awards to be the most hotly contested yet. It is a great achievement to be a finalist, the winners and highly commended should feel justly proud of their success.”

Hall Hill Farm, which employs up to 50 people, welcomed over 85,000 visitors last year attracted by the family fun on offer and the opportunities to see and touch animals at close quarters. Visitors can 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 crazy golf, the jumping pillow or a tractor or donkey ride around the beautiful countryside.

The popular Playbarn also provides a fun indoor soft-play area for families to enjoy as well as shelter from the rain or find shade from the sun. It also welcomes pupils from many regional schools and community groups on educational farm visits.

Hall Hill Farm will re-open for 2018 on Saturday 10 February and will open daily from 10.30am until 4pm during the February half-term school holidays.

Set in the beautiful rolling hills of Durham, Hall Hill Farm is an award-winning mixed farm of 290 hectares. The multi-award winning farm provides a great day out for children and schools with loads of great things to do and see.

For more information: www.hallhillfarm.co.uk