Heidi Mottram, Chair of Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: “On behalf of all members across the Park we are delighted to have been recognised amongst such top visitor attractions. Over the last year the Park has enjoyed a growth in visitor numbers from 306,000 to 345,000 and also Kielder Observatory in particular has seen significant growth.

“Moving forward we have even more exciting developments ahead for 2013 including our bid for Dark Sky Park status, growth of the art and architecture programme, capital developments across several of our visitor centres and an ever growing, action packed event programme that is attracting visitors from across the UK. We’re very proud of our spectacular destination but also our strong customer focused approach and it has definitely paid off. It will be an honour to represent North East England at the national awards.”

Available for interview:

• Heidi Mottram, chair of Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and chief executive of Northumbrian Water

• Elisabeth Rowark, director, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust

• Gary Fildes, founding director, Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS)

Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information go to www.visitkielder.com.