Carrickfergus and Ballymena have been praised for town centre innovation despite disappointment in a national competition.
The towns were shorlisted as finalists in the Rising Star category of the Great British High Street Awards.
Newry emerged as the Northern Ireland winner at the prize-giving ceremony on Thursday.
However, the Mid and East Antrim towns received ringing endorsements during judging which earned them a tilt at the title.
A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “We were delighted to be shortlisted for the Rising Star category in the 2019 Great British High Street Awards, which recognise the nation’s most ambitious high streets which are taking the lead and working together to revive, adapt and diversify.
“The awards judges were impressed by the community spirit and engagement which exists in Ballymena and Carrickfergus, as well as the many events, initiatives and projects that have been delivered.
“We send our hearty congratulations to Newry, the eventual winners in the Rising Star category.”
Both applications were a joint effort between council, Ballymena BID and Carrickfergus Town Centre Partnership.
Meanwhile, Newtownards lifted the Champion Award prize for Northern Ireland.
A spokesperson for the awards stated: “Well done to all the winners and everyone who’s taken part in the Great British High Street Awards 2019.”