Category Archives: Awards

4 Star Gold Awards for our luxury log cabins

VisitEngland 4 StarVisitEngland Gold AwardWe love our luxury log cabins and are delighted the VisitEngland assessor loved them too!

At our recent inspection we retained our 4 Star Gold Awards rating through the VisitEngland Quality Assessment Scheme.

4 Star Gold Award

Star ratings are not only awarded on the quality of our facilities, but also on the services provided and our hospitality. The inspection covers all aspects of the business and visitor journey, from initial enquiry and the website through to guest stay and departure. To gain the extra Gold Award in addition to the 4 Star rating shows that our standards and customer service are extremely high.

VisitEngland 4 Star Gold Awards

Like the Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi on the television the VisitEngland assessor is extremely thorough, checking everything from cleanliness, to pots and pans and ensuring mattresses are springy and comfortable. No stone is left unturned – tops of wardrobes, under beds, backs of cupboards, all the nooks and crannies are checked!

Top Team

Thanks to our amazing team of hardworking housekeepers I am delighted to say that the inspector reported “The underlying levels of cleanliness were found to be very high” and “sanitary ware is sparkling”! She also praised the wide selection of accessories and lovely personal touches.

National Accessible Scheme

The Inspector also assessed our disabled facilities and we are proud to have retained our National Accessibility Scheme ratings for Mobility, Visual and Hearing. The inspector was impressed with the excellent provision of mobility aids including an off road wheelchair. You can read more about this in our next blog, or view our disabled holiday accommodation.

Welcome Cyclists, Walkers and Families

In addition to the star rating we also have extra facilities and provisions to Welcome Families, such as highchairs and travel cots, toys and games. Hoe Grange is an ideal base for exploring the Peak District countryside so to Welcome Cyclists and Walkers we have route maps, washing facilities, puncture repair kits and secure cycle storage for guests to leave their bikes.

Why bother with inspections?

We value the inspection process as an excellent way for us to ensure we have everything in tip top condition ready for your arrival. We continually strive to improve our log cabins and gorgeous glamping pods so you can relax and enjoy your holiday to the full. It’s all the little things that make the difference, such as new Denby pottery mugs, our #LoveLocal welcome pack of Peak District goodies and up to date leaflets to inspire you to visit our amazing local attractions.

A good nights sleep

Hip;ley master bedroomAlthough the inspection is once a year we have a continual improvement plan in place to renew and improve our facilities on an ongoing basis . For example in January we refreshed Hipley master bedroom, which now has a sumptuous superking bed. With the new mattresses guests have the flexibility for the bed to be split into 2 singles if staying as a group of friends rather than a couple.

To add a contemporary touch I also bought a beautiful new print of Wirksworth skyline for the wall from a local artist.

New for 2018

Pizza ovenThere is nothing better than food with friends so why not treat yourself to a fun evening and hire the outdoor pizza oven. To make things easy we provide the oven and logs, together with the pizza dough and passata. All you have to do is provide the cheese, your favourite toppings and then get cooking.

Our new #LoveLocal shop and laundry room is also nearly complete – watch this space for further news!

guest reviewI believe that our guests appreciate the effort we go to to maintain our high standards. However don’t just take our word for it; we have some wonderful comments in the guest book or read what our guests say about us on TripAdvisor.

Every picture tells a story, so why not take a peek inside our gorgeous log cabins with our new 3D virtual tours!

We look forward to welcoming guests both old and new in 2018!

Felicity 

 

Rural Business Awards Champion of Champions

Jules HudsonAt a glitz and glamour gala evening hosted by Jules Hudson of BBC Countryfile fame, the Rural Business Awards overall Champion of Champions was revealed at Denbies Winery in Surrey on Thursday 5th October.

We thought the competition in the category of Best Rural Tourism Business, of which we were one of 5 finalists, was stiff to say the least. With a diverse group including, an open farm/craft venue employing 50 people, a welsh Eco wedding center, a glamping site in Yorkshire and a stunning holiday cottage in Lancashire, we were resigned to be leaving without a prize.

However when the runner up in our category was Barleylands Farm and craft village there was a glimmer of hope for the top slot. As Jane Headley, Senior Tutor at Harper Adams University, opened the gold envelope Felicity and I were overwhelmed to hear Hoe Grange Holidays from The Derbyshire Peak District announced as the winner!ruralbusinessawardsBest Rural Tourism Business Award

After being presented with the Best Rural Tourism Award on stage before the 300+ audience we were whisked off for photos and interviews.

It was then time to relax and revel in the glory of such a prestigious award. Having removed my jacket and loosened my tie I enjoyed a celebratory glass of the excellent Denbies red wine.

And the overall Champion of Champions are…

At the very end of the evening the co-founders of the Rural Business Awards, Jemma Clifford  and Anna Price, announced the outstanding category of Champion of Champions. The winner was the finalist with the highest overall scores in the highly secretive and technical judging system. Judges marked entries individually so no one knew what the other judges thought or indeed who had won! The atmosphere was electric.

rbaThe judges were unanimous in their decision and you cannot imagine our surprise when the clear winner was announced as Hoe Grange Holidays!

Wow! Stunned and amazed, after a rapid re-dress and quickly retying my tie we made our way to the stage to rapturous applause to receive our second trophy of the evening.

It was all was a bit of a blur and our heads were in a spin, so imagine the shock and horror when they asked us to address the gathering! Thinking on my feet I thanked my wife Felicity for all the hard work over the last 12 years and said that to be recognized in such a way by a host of industry experts was the ultimate reward. I think I may have earned some extra brownie points there!

Felicity added her thanks and said how the teamwork between the two of us was well balanced; with her creative ideas and me keeping a close eye on the purse strings ensuring that as well as having a fantastically inspired business, it remained financially viable!

As well as a scrumptious meal with superb English wines from Denbies, guests were entertained by Faith Tucker, a very talented 17-year-old opera singer.

The evening was sponsored by the Country Landowners Association (CLA) and Amazon and celebrated businesses from all corners of the UK. The finalists in the 13 categories were as diverse as technical fabric producers, butchers, PR companies, software developers, sporting businesses and of course holiday providers. Find out about the other amazing finalists and winners of the Rural Business Awards 2017 here.

Since the Rural Business Awards ceremony life has been quite hectic, appearing on East Midlands Today TV, and Radio Derby breakfast show, to talk about our eco-friendly, accessible self-catering holidays, as well as featuring on many social media platforms and blogs.

Awards co-founder Anna Price said: “We had more entries in our tourism category than any other but Hoe Grange Holidays just blew us away and was a clear winner, not only in this category but of the whole awards. The shortage of holiday providers offering good quality disabled access is shocking and we loved how Hoe Grange was showing such imagination in filling this gap in the market. Huge congratulations to them, and we wish them every success in the future”.

Although back down to earth at home in the Peak District countryside, cleaning log cabins, greeting guests and farming, we are still on cloud nine and celebrating our tremendous achievement!

David

David and Felicity with their new awards

Finalists in the Rural Business Awards

Rural Business Awards Finalist logoExciting news! We are thrilled to be one of five finalists in this years Rural Business Awards in the Best Rural Tourism Business category.

inquisitive number 9The judges are looking for unique rural businesses offering exceptional customer care, who have strong links with local communities, consider inclusivity, and have sustainability at their heart.Hoe Grange farm viewSome of the other categories include Best Diversification, Innovation, Social Enterprise, Food & Drink, Best Employer and many more.

close up with  lambsRural tourism was the category with the most entries, so to be picked out from such a large number from throughout the UK is amazing, and makes all our efforts worthwhile.

It gives us a real sense of satisfaction when we exceed guest expectations and everyone goes home with happy memories of their holiday with us.

Created by Directors and Co-Founders Jemma Clifford & Anna Price, the aim of the Rural Business Awards is to give recognition to businesses operating right across the Rural sector, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations.

A shortlist of 5 entries per category was announced last week, and the winners will be revealed at a glamorous awards ceremony on Thursday 5th October 2017 at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking Surrey. It will be wonderful to be guests ourselves for a change!

We are up against some pretty stiff competition in the Best Rural Tourism category from

Barleylands Farm Park and Craft Village, Ceridwen Centre, Humble Bee Leisure, and The Rookery, Roughlee Holiday Cottage.

Such a diverse set of businesses, it will be very difficult for the judges to choose a winner!

So wish us luck!

David

cows in field

VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016

Entering the Empress ballroom at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool for this year’s VisitEngland Awards for Excellence was a wonderful trip down memory lane. Can you believe it was 32 years ago that an apprehensive young farmer nervously asked a clothing studies student to dance at The Young Farmers Christmas Ball in the very same room?

VisitEngland Gold Award for Access for AllLittle did we know then that all these years later we would return to the place we first met for such a successful evening. We thought the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence venue was a good omen for us and that certainly proved to be the case; a fabulous double celebration winning both the Gold Award for Access for All and the Silver Award for Sustainable Tourism! Here we are being presented with the Gold Award by VisitBritain Marketing Manager and Sponsors Barclays. Find out what the VisitEngland judges thought about Hoe Grange Holidays.

chinese dragon lanternThe whole evening was an amazing experience. On entering the Winter Gardens we were ushered into the world’s largest indoor illumination experience which blends traditional Chinese lantern crafts with the latest in lighting technology, and sparkling 3D effects. It was incredible and definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Blackpool. Of all the Illuminasia halls my favourite was the “Land of the Giants”, which made you feel like Alice in Wonderland after she has drunk the potion, and there before our very eyes was an enormous Jack Russel dog just like our own Fudge, and even wearing a blue collar. Look at the pop up banner in the foreground and you can see just how big “Fudge” was.

Giant illuminations at BlackpoolAfter a delicious 4 course dinner the suspense and waiting were finally over and our VisitEngland Awards for Excellence were announced. We were absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive, not just one, but two of the top awards.

Returning home with both the Gold Award for Access for All and the Silver Award for Sustainable Tourism was incredible. To be recognised as one of the top businesses for two national awards makes all our hard work worthwhile and is also due to our dedicated staff and most importantly to you, our guests. Read more about all the VisitEngland Awards winners 2016.

Countryfile presenters Adam Henson & John CravenLook who we also bumped into in the bar – Countryfile presenters Adam Henson and John Craven. VisitEngland awarded the accolade “Outstanding Contribution to Tourism” to the Countryfile team for the programme’s contribution to raising awareness of England’s rural tourism offer.

To round off an excellent evening we sneaked up onto the balcony to take in the atmosphere and hold hands as if we were 21 again!

Although you’ll laugh at this – we nearly didn’t bring the Gold trophy home!! Felicity decided she wanted to take a photo of the trophy with the Blackpool Pleasure beach roller coaster in the background as our hotel window overlooked the “Big One”. She placed the award on the stool in front of the open doors  – great arty photo shot for our social media she thought. She picked up the camera and turned back horrified as the award went tumbling out through the window – which was bad enough, but we were on the third floor!

Gold Award TrophyDouble celebrations turned into double trouble! How to break the news to David that his prized Gold Award was lying on the gravel at the base of the “Big One” and how to get it back as it was not even in the hotel grounds!

Luckily the trophy wasn’t made of glass and being a VisitEngland high quality product it survived the impact intact. A big sigh of relief and thanks to the hotel staff who kindly retrieved it for us. After all our hard work we honestly didn’t mean to throw it away.

An amazing night to remember – 32 years on and 32 years still going strong!

David and Felicity

The Tower of Blackpool

Visit England Awards for Excellence 2016

VE Awards for Excellence 2016WebWe are both delighted and excited to be finalists in the Visit England  Awards for Excellence 2016. Yet again we have been shortlisted in not just one category, but two – Access for All and Sustainable Tourism, so that must mean I will need two new dresses for the awards night!

Qualifying for the awards is a rigorous process and time consuming. However it gives you an incentive to stand back and take a good look at the facilities and services you offer and what needs improving. It’s so easy to spend all year with your nose to the grindstone without ever taking the time to truly review how things are going. To have the reassurance of an award judge (or two) agreeing that you’re getting it right is fantastic.

renewable energies at Hoe Grange
Felicity and David by the solar tracking system and wind turbine

The two Awards for Excellence categories of Access for All and Sustainability are now so engrained into the core of our business that they drive the direction of any development decisions we make.

off-road wheelchair

This year there were over 400 entries to be carefully reviewed. The judges assessed recent VisitEngland quality reports, online customer reviews and also social media. A shortlist of businesses was then compiled for mystery shopping and overnight stays or visits.So to jump through all these hoops to reach the finals in two categories is a fantastic accolade and shows that we are not just specialists in accessible holidays, but a well rounded business sharing our special place, which we hope is reflected in our warm welcome to all our guests.

Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland commented “Awards for Excellence finalists exemplify outstanding tourism talent and distinguished businesses throughout England. We received over 400 truly impressive applications this year and there’s absolutely no doubt those shortlisted are a representatives of the best in the industry, who place delivering an unforgettable experience to visitors in England at the heart of their business operations”.

Wish us luck for the finals on Tuesday 8th March 2016 when the Gold, SIlver, Bronze and Highly Commended in each category will be announced at a gala dinner at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

A really good omen for the night is that it was at the Winter Gardens in 1983 that a certain young farmer caught my eye, and the rest as they say is history…

Felicity

Capturing the landscape in watercolour

Exciting news!

Following on from his success in the Derbyshire Open Art Exhibition, our resident artist, Roger Allen, has been successful in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition.

Now in its 28th year, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is the largest and most prestigious watercolour competition in the UK. Hugely popular with artists, gallery visitors and readers of The Sunday Times, the competition aims to celebrate and reward excellence and originality in the medium of watercolour.

Watercolour painting of Wolfscote DaleOur Peak District scenery is stunning and is the inspiration for Roger’s intricate paintings which, with their incredible light and depth, bring the landscape to life and take your breath away. The selected painting is one of only 90 chosen from over 1,200 entries, and depicts  a view of Wolfscot Dale from Gipsy Bank, which is near Biggin, on the Derbyshire-Staffordshire border.

Roger’s painting will be displayed at the Mall Galleries, London, from 14th to 19th September. Further awards will be presented and there is a prize fund of £17,000 – so we wish Roger good luck and hope he comes away with the top prize!

The exhibition will then tour venues across the UK including Castle Fine Art in Birmingham from 10th to 18th October and the Guildford House Gallery from 14th November to  2nd January.

Alternatively you can see some of his work hanging on the walls in our cosy log cabins when you stay at Hoe Grange, and find out first hand the inspiration for his artwork.

A lot of Roger’s paintings are views of our farm – this is one of my favourites – you might recognise our sheep!

Felicity

Sheep in the countryside

 

A night at The Catey Awards

Catey AwardIt makes a real change for David and I to be guests. We were delighted to be shortlisted for the prestigious Catey Awards in the Accessible category. As the winners were to be announced at a spectacular gala evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane we decided to make the most of the of the opportunity and stay in London for a couple of nights.

Often referred to as the “Oscars” of the tourism world The Cateys are the UK hospitality industry’s annual awards for excellence and customer service.

On the big night we were treated like film stars, starting with a Champagne reception, followed by a superb meal created by celebrity chef Mark Sargent, including an usual but delicious crab sausage roll for the starter. The tension in the room started to grow as film star John Hannah took to the stage to announce the winners.

Fortunately for our nerves the accessibility category was just fourth in a list of 22. As the Accessibility shortlist of 3 were announced, which included our friends at Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool and a Nottingham branch of a major hotel chain, we thought that our little holiday business in Derbyshire did not stand a chance. So when John Hannah announced the winner to be Hoe Grange Holidays, we were astonished. Especially as we were on a table right at the back of the room!
John Hannah presents David & Felicity with their Catey Award
The trip up to the stage was a bit of a blur with people stopping us to shake hands and then parting to let us through. We were presented with our trophy by the Publisher of the Caterer magazine, Mark Lewis, and Mark Flanagan Managing Director, of Shieldyourself who sponsored the Accessibility category. At which point I nearly dropped the trophy as to my surprise the 18 inch high statue was solid bronze!

To hear our achievements and the judges’ comments read out by John Hannah really bought home just what we have achieved along our journey in a little under 10 years.

This is what the Catey judges thought about us.
Hoe Grange impressed the judges with their thoughtfully adapted high quality accessible accommodation. All four log cabins are cosy and comfortable, but have discreet, state-of-the-art disability aids, for example the kitchen cupboard slides out to give wheelchair access to the sink and doubles up as a low-level worktop.

A real home from home for everyone with a wide range of specialist equipment and the unique offer of a Boma 7 off-road wheelchair for hire, so disabled guests can join family rambles through the countryside.

Catey Judge Arnold Fewell commented “Hoe Grange puts a smile on the faces of people with disabilities. They make a real difference and play an important part in delivering accessible tourism in the UK”

Catey Judge David Batterseby added “Hoe Grange has demonstrated progressive and imaginative thinking to build a sustainable business which has embraced accessibility and produces measureable business results”

Hoe Grange Holidays are not only award winning for their outstanding accessibility for all, but also exemplify best practice in hospitality as a whole.

CateysAwardNew

You can read more in a fantastic article published in The Caterer Magazine!

Felicity

A Taste of Derbyshire

From a taste of Italy back nearer to home for a taste of Derbyshire!

Derbyshire and the Peak District has a wealth of artisan food producers and over the next few weeks we thought we would like to share some of these local delicacies so you can treat yourselves whilst on holiday at Hoe Grange.

Firstly let us introduce you to Brock & Morten who produce rapeseed oil on their farm in Ashford in the Water, not far from Hoe Grange. The crop is nourished by the mineral rich spring water of the White Peak, harvested, bottled and sold from the farm.

Brock & Morten oil
The Brock & Morten team

Like ourselves farmers often have to diversify and Brock and Morten was set up in 2013 by Kate Brocklehurst and Ben Furness to compliment their existing family farming businesses. They are both passionate about creating a natural product that has low food miles and is traceable from field to fork; as farmers ourselves this is important to us too.

We love local produce, and the quality of their rapeseed oil is award winning, achieving a Great Taste Award for their Chilli flavoured oil in 2014. A fantastic achievement in such a short space of time.

Peak District rapeseed oilBut don’t take our word for it, you can try it for yourselves during your holiday stay as you receive a bottle of this delicate locally produced rapeseed oil as part of your welcome pack.

As it is cold pressed it is very versatile and is ideal for roasting, baking, stir-frying, and salad dressings.

Not only that, it is healthier than olive oil as it contains less than half the saturated fat and 10 times more omega 3! It ‘s a win, win – it’s healthy, tasty , and great for baking – why not try Kate’s wonderful recipe for carrot cupcakes.

We love the oil and use it at home, adding variety by choosing the different flavours, including lemon, garlic, chilli and basil. We know you’ll love it too!

We’ll be showcasing more local Peak District artisan producers for you to try out soon!

Felicity

The Cateys here we come!

Exciting news!
Felicity and I are delighted that Hoe Grange Holidays has been shortlisted as finalists in The Cateys Awards in the Accessibility Award category.

What are The Cateys I hear you cry? The Cateys are the catering and hospitality industry’s annual awards for excellence and customer service.

Since their inception in 1984, The Cateys have cast a spotlight on the industry’s highest flyers, strongest performers and hottest brands. Over more than a quarter of a century, they have become a byword for quality, class and achievement, the awards that everybody wants to win. No wonder they are often referred to as the Oscars of the tourism world.

Some of the recent winners in the Access category have been Park Plaza Westminster Bridge 2014, One Great George Street 2013, Chewton Glen, New Milton 2012.
Other big names to have won Cateys have been Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein, Brian Turner. The Savoy Hotel, The Grosvenor House Hotel and St Andrews Old Course Hotel…..so we are not out of our depth at all!

Cateys AwardThe Cateys Awards recognise and celebrate the individuals, teams and businesses shaping the hospitality industry at a spectacular ceremony at Grosvenor House, London. A great excuse for us country bumpkins to hit the big city – a little holiday of our own – a real change from the tranquil rural countryside at Hoe Grange!

We are up against stiff competition from Sandcastle Water Park, Blackpool and Nottingham Belfry Hotel. How the judges are going to select the winner from such diverse businesses I don’t know!

Wish us luck for the gala evening on 7th July 2015 and let’s hope we come home with one of these lovely lady statues (must have been modeled on Felicity!

David

Hearing Loss Friendly

 

We are delighted that Hoe Grange Holidays has been awarded the Platinum Level of the Sounds Good Charter Mark from Hearing Loss Friendly.

You’ve heard of dog-friendly accommodation, child-friendly holidays and female-friendly hotels: now Angie Aspinall and Julie Leggett have set up hearing-loss-friendly accommodation to help those with hearing loss find suitable places to stay – in particular people with hearing aids or cochlear implants who struggle with background noise.

Hearingloss friendly logo captureIt is fantastic to have been awarded the highest Platinum Award of the Sounds Good Charter Mark, which shows guests that our facilities are truly hearing loss friendly and gives them confidence to book with us.

We support all the steps along the visitor journey and aim to make booking a holiday as easy as possible. We provide a wealth of information on our website, online booking with the option to select specialist equipment, such as a hearing loop and a flashing/vibrating fire alarm, provide a mobile number so people can text us rather than talking on the phone, and give easy to follow written directions making finding our log cabins in the Derbyshire hills a breeze.

Our self-catering log cabins are set in peaceful rural farmland which is really appreciated by those who need quiet space. On arrival we personally welcome guests, offer a familiarisation tour, demonstrate any specialist equipment and assist with the luggage.

The facilities in our luxurious log cabins have been assessed by Hearing Loss Friendly against strict criteria which highlight what is done for those guests with hearing loss.

Portable-Induction-Hearing-LoopFrom simple steps such as good lighting, which makes lip reading easy, TV’s with subtitles, Hearing Dogs welcome free of charge, and access statements and fire evacuation plans with reference to provision for guests with hearing loss, to more complex requirements including specialist equipment, such as a portable hearing loop, and flashing/vibrating fire alarm.

All these mearsures are designed to make our log cabins accessible for everyone so that you can truly relax and enjoy yourselves.

book-nowCome and give us a try!

Click here to book your cosy, quiet log cabin in the countryside

Felicity