A TOWN centre shop which doubles as a literary hub has been crowned Yorkshire’s top small tourist attraction.
Grimm and Co - the gift emporium and literary charity on Doncaster Gate - earned the accolade at the 2018 White Rose Awards.
Run by Welcome to Yorkshire, the annual ceremony celebrates the region’s best tourist destinations.
Its judges were impressed by the magical apothecary’s fairytale mail service, forgotten library and other family-friendly attractions.
They called Grimm and Co “a magical world in the heart of Rotherham that helps children re-connect with the awe and wonder of their imaginations by building their writing skills and confidence”.
Judges loved how, “in an instant, digital age, this unique attraction gives children a chance to truly engage with traditional storytelling and the joy of seeing their own story printed in book form at the end”.
They added: “With a secret door and children-only writing room, this is real delight and a wonderful addition to the Yorkshire tourism offer.”
Grimm and Co was up against Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Experience and Helmsley’s National Centre for Birds of Prey for the Small Attraction accolade.
Founder Deborah Bullivant and colleagues attended the awards event at Harrogate Convention Centre on Monday night, to accept the prize from BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration.
Deborah said: “We didn’t think we stood a chance, as there is much more investment elsewhere in Yorkshire, but we were delighted to be shortlisted.
“We went to the ceremony thinking that it would be a good chance to network.
“When the golden envelope was opened, I thought I must go and congratulate the winners - when it was us, I was floored.”
Shortlisting was done partly on the basis of TripAdvisor - Grimm and Co has 97 per cent five-star reviews, making it Rotherham’s top attraction there.
The venue was also assessed by mystery shoppers, who dropped in unannounced between June and November.
Deborah said: “This shows that our staff and volunteers are consistently sensational, so much so that we’ve won a really significant award.
“And it’s not only them - it’s our products, our work with children and the experience of visiting us.
“Now we know that what we’re doing works really well, we can build on it. We won’t stand still.”
She added: “People outside Rotherham are realising what gems we have here -people who know what they’re talking about.
“It’s great for our exposure around Yorkshire, but we really need Rotherham people to get behind us, too.”
The night’s bigger winners included Leeds' West Yorkshire Playhouse, Bradford Literature Festival and the Yorkshire Event Centre.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.