Double celebration at tourism awards

Simon Laing (left) and Brian Hunt.
Simon Laing (left) and Brian Hunt.
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A company offering innovative tours is celebrating after picking up two awards at a tourism event.

Cullercoats Bike & Kayak was among the winners at the North East England Tourism Awards for its innovative boating tours and seaside shop and cafe.

It won the Guided Tour of the Year award and took home silver for the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year.

The business gave visitors to August’s Tall Ships Race in Blyth a completely different view of the fleet via day and night-time guided kayak tours, and has now opened a second base at St Peter’s Marina in Newcastle, taking people on kayak tours of the River Tyne.

Simon Laing, business founder, said: “It’s fantastic just to reach the finals of the awards after what has been a great year for us.

“Our guided tours at the Tall Ships Race really helped to put the business on the map and showed more people the kind of thing we do. As a result, we’re attracting more business and have been able to open our second base right on the Tyne for our guided kayak tours of the river.”

The new base at St Peter’s Marina will facilitate guided tours to the nearby bridges over the Tyne.

Brian Hunt, manager of St Peter’s Marina, said: “This is such a wonderful river and the more people who use it the better for everyone. We have people walking and cycling past us every day as part of the Coast to Coast route and it will be great to see people enjoying themselves on the water too, under expert guidance.”

Cullercoats Bike & Kayak was set up by marine scientist and boating coach Simon Laing in 2014.

The Newcastle University graduate cemented his lifelong love of kayaking when he lived in Vancouver and explored the superb inlets close to the Canadian city. On his return to the UK, he decided to open his own business.

Just a stone’s throw from the sea, the shop also provides coasteering sessions, bike hire, along with hiring out kayaks and paddleboards, and taking people for marine safaris along the Tyne and along the rugged Northumberland coast.

Upstairs, visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of cake or tuck into home cooked breakfast or lunch in The Snug café.

For more on Cullercoats Bike & Kayak visit www.cullercoatsbikekayak.co.uk