Arts Derbyshire


Peak District pub tour guide shortlisted for national Tourism Superstar Award – cast your vote!

A Peak District pub tour guide who offers bespoke tours of the area’s unique and historic local pubs has been nominated for one of the tourism industry’s top awards.

Emily Williamson – founding guide at Pub Tours Ltd – has been revealed as one of 10 finalists in VisitEngland’s highly-prized 2024 Tourism Superstar competition. The annual accolade celebrates those who go the extra mile to ensure visitors have an amazing and unforgettable experience.

Widowed mother-of-three Emily is a lifelong resident of the Peak District National Park and founded the Peak District’s first dedicated pub tour company to help visitors taste, experience and be educated on the authenticity, history and culture of the area’s rural pubs.

Emily is passionate about celebrating, showcasing and preserving the local pub trade and was inspired to set-up Pub Tours Ltd following the pandemic, when many businesses faced significant hardship or collapse after repeated lockdowns.

During the tours, visitors are taken on a journey through history at six hand-picked Peak District pubs where they learn about their unique stories and sample locally-produced beers and spirits.

Pubs that often feature on the tours include The Flying Childers at Stanton-in-Peak, an historic inn with links to an undefeated 18th-century thoroughbred racehorse; The Barrell Inn at Bretton, the highest pub in Derbyshire with far-reaching views; and The Maynard at Grindleford, a boutique hotel that became famous for hosting international touring cricket teams.

The 10 Tourism Superstar finalists were selected out of dozens of submissions from employers and destinations across England.

The competition invites members of the public to visit to watch a short film created for each finalist and then to vote for their favourite.

Visit Peak District, Derbyshire & Derby – the area’s accredited Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) – is now leading the campaign to encourage residents, businesses and visitors to vote for Emily.

Voting closes on 24 March at the end of English Tourism Week (15-24 March 2024). The finalist with the highest number of public votes will be declared Tourism Superstar.

Emily Williamson, founding guide, Pub Tours Ltd, says: “I founded Pub Tours Ltd, the Peak District’s very first dedicated pub tour company, to highlight the importance of our local pubs to a much wider audience than just those of us that have been lucky enough to grow up and reside within the Peak District National Park.

“I am beyond thrilled that through this desire to showcase our unique pubs and their importance to the world, and to in turn bolster our rural pub trade, I have been shortlisted for the finals of such a prestigious national award.”

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, says“We’re immensely proud to see Emily nominated as a Tourism Superstar, flying the flag for the Peak District and Derbyshire on the national stage.

“Pubs are not just an important part of the visitor experience, they are also the beating heart of many rural communities and an integral part of the local economy – supporting hundreds of jobs. Emily has turned her passion for our local pubs into a fantastic visitor experience, helping people to learn more about their stories, history and communities along the way.

“Emily is a worthy ambassador for the destination, and a champion of our rural pub trade, and we hope people will show their support for her by voting!”

2024 marks the third consecutive year that an entrant from Derbyshire has reached the finals for the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar award, with Great British Car Journey’s Luke Henshaw coming runner up in the 2023 contest and Matlock Farm Park’s George Finlay scooping the top prize in 2022.

For more information on VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar award, please visit:

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