Merseyside’s best kept secret wins ‘Hidden Gem’ tourism award

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It’s the only catagory voted for by the public at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards.

The annual Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards took place at the Anglican cathedral last week and a host of gongs were handed out to venues, organisations and individuals from across Merseyside.

But only one of the plethora of accolades is voted for by the public: the ‘Hidden Gem’ award, which recognises the region’s best kept secret. This year, that honour went to Southport Bijou Cinema.

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Run as a not-for-profit, community interest company, the cinema screens old and new  classics, independent films and world movies. The venue even asks customers to add their requests for future programming on the cafe’s chalkboard.

“Thank you to absolutely everyone: our audience, those who voted and those who’ve supported us from the start,” Bijou Cinema posted after winning the award. “We are just beyond happy, humbled, and in lieu of a better, third H word for the aliteration, hungover.”

Tucked away on Post Office Avenue, a side road off Southport’s Lord Street, alcoholic drinks can be taken into the auditorium from the cinema’s bar.

The movie offerings for March include classics such as The Big Lebowski, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Se7en, All Quiet on the Western Front and newer films like Matilda the Musical. For the full listings visit

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Rated 5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor, one reviewer called it the ‘best cinema ever’, adding: “Tickets are half the price of the soulless multiplexes, it’s comfortable and fully accessible. The films start at the advertised time; no delays with endless ads and previews, just the film you’ve come to see. Every film fan should check out this hidden gem.”

Full list of Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards 2022 – Winners

Tourism Young Person of the Year - sponsored by Wild Thang

WINNER: Neve Sutton, Hosted by National Museums Liverpool

Unsung Hero Award - sponsored by Liverpool ONE

WINNER: Kayleigh Cox, Lu Ban Restaurant

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Veronica Matthews, Pullman Liverpool

Independent Tourism Business of the Year - sponsored by Bolland & Lowe

WINNER: The Romans

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award - sponsored by Lexus Liverpool

WINNER: Sefton Park Palm House Preservation Trust

Business Events Venue of the Year - sponsored by ACC Liverpool

WINNER: Museum of Liverpool

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Small Visitor Attraction of the Year - sponsored by Ticket Quarter

WINNER: British Music Experience

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year - sponsored by Wirral Chamber of Commerce

WINNER: National Trust, Speke Hall

New Tourism Business of the Year - sponsored by EPIC

WINNER: Escape Live Liverpool

Resilience and Innovation Award - sponsored by BDO LLP

WINNER: St Luke’s Bombed Out Church C.I.C.

Experience of the Year - sponsored by Merseyrail

WINNER: National Trust, The Beatles’ Childhood Homes

Pub of the Year - sponsored by Mr Yum

WINNER: Liverpool Gin Distillery

Taste Award - Café/Bistro of the Year - sponsored by National Museums Liverpool

WINNER: Bold Street Coffee

Taste Award - Restaurant of the Year - sponsored by Knowsley Safari

WINNER: Antonio’s Bar & Grill

Hidden Gem - sponsored by The Guide Liverpool

WINNER: Southport Bijou Cinema

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B&B and Guest House of the Year - sponsored by Liverpool Cathedral

WINNER: Sunnyside Guest House Southport

Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year - sponsored by Lu Ban Restaurant

WINNER: The Eden Warehouse

Hotel of the Year - sponsored by Liverpool BID Company

WINNER: Titanic Hotel Liverpool

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism - sponsored by Growth Platform

WINNER: Paul Beesley

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