A historic park has been named the best destination for a free family day out in the North East after securing the most public votes.
Hardwick Park near Sedgefield is among the regional winners of the inaugural Family Favourites Awards, organised by the popular website Dayoutwiththekids.co.uk.
The park, which is owned and managed by Durham County Council, came out top in the best free family day out category among the 20,000 families that voted.
Designed to recognise attractions that excel in the family travel and leisure sector, the awards celebrate those that go the extra mile to ensure a memorable day out for all of the family.
Nigel Dodds, strategic manager for culture and sport at Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted to be among the winners of the first Family Favourites Awards, especially as the decision was made by members of the public.
“Hardwick Park is a fantastic attraction, with excellent facilities and dedicated staff and volunteers who work hard to maintain high standards throughout the year.”
With free admission, other than car parking charges, Hardwick Park is ideal for dog walkers, runners, families and anyone wishing to get some fresh air while admiring the natural beauty of the lake, woodland and wildlife.
There is also a visitor centre where people can learn about the history and restoration of the parkland, along with a gift shop and an inviting café.
The council also runs a year-round programme of activities and events for the whole family including workshops, crafts and storytelling sessions.
Hardwick Park was not the only County Durham destination to triumph in the Family Favourite Awards, with the county’s attractions winning five of the six categories in the North East.
Lisa O’Keeffe, brand manager at Dayoutwiththekids.co.uk, said the response to the awards had been overwhelming, adding: “The competition was extremely tough across the region, but residents in the North East have had their say, with Durham proving to be home to a fantastic range of family attractions and some very deserving Family Favourites Awards winners.”