The new category at this year’s Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards – ‘Hidden Gem’ – has produced an interesting and diverse shortlist. In the first round the public were asked to nominate their favourite ‘must see’ gem across the city region, as long it was off the main tourism trail. It could be a tucked away bar or restaurant, attraction, tour or natural asset. We were looking for the region’s best kept secret. After receiving over 400 nominations, independent judges have drawn up a shortlist of ten: Birkenhead Priory, Wirral – The oldest standing building in the city region, which comprises of a chapel, museum and refectory. Bluecoat Gardens, Liverpool – Located behind Bluecoat, is their secret Garden. Providing the perfect space for a quiet break in the heart of the city, the Garden hosts numerous performances, installations and celebrations. Friends of Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool – A labyrinth of tunnels and underground caverns in Edge Hill and preserved by this group of volunteers. Hobo Kiosk, Liverpool – Small friendly pub in the Baltic Quarter with selected local beers, unique design and warm atmosphere. L20 Restaurant, Sefton – Created by Hugh Baird College in 2013, the restaurant is part of their L20 Hotel School which provides training, work experience and inspiration for students taking their first steps into the catering industry. Old Dock Tour, Liverpool – Liverpool’s Old Dock – the world’s first commercial enclosed wet dock – has been carefully preserved under Liverpool One and has free tours available. Red Brick Hangar, Liverpool – An independent market in the Baltic Quarter with over 50 businesses under one roof – it also supports local artists and start-ups. Squash Café, Liverpool – An eco-friendly community led food space in Toxteth, which incorporates a food shop, café and catering space. St Peters Church, Liverpool – An Anglican Church in Woolton Village with strong links to the early days of The Beatles. Zap Graffiti Arts, Liverpool – A unique graffiti art focused venue providing classes, workshops for schools and custom artwork. The general public have three weeks to vote for their favourite hidden gem and can vote here. Voting closes on Thursday 25 April 2019. This year’s awards take place on 16 May at Liverpool Cathedral. The 17 award categories cover accommodation, attractions, food and drink, events and entertainment venues – amongst many others. Sponsoring the ‘Hidden Gem’ category is Marketing Liverpool. Chris Brown, Director at Marketing Liverpool, said: “We are delighted to again be a part of these prestigious awards. This category has given people a chance to champion their own favourite tourism asset and put the spotlight on something a little more unusual across our city region.” Sponsors this year already include: ACC Liverpool, Arriva, Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub, Liverpool ONE, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Marketing Liverpool, Merseyrail, NatWest, Ticket Quarter, Wild Thang and Wirral Chamber of Commerce. Further sponsorship opportunities are still available, please call Cathryn O’Grady on 07918 174176 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Tickets for the ceremony are available from Ticket Quarter – click here for details.