VisitEngland has yesterday announced the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence, celebrating the best of the country’s tourism industry.
The 19 winners were announced during a virtual awards event hosted by Julia Bradbury from ‘The Outdoor Guide’ in categories ranging from Experience of the Year to Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year, from the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award to the Business Events Venue of the Year, the Taste of England Award to the Pub of the Year and the New Tourism Business Award.
The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, now in its thirty-first year, celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.
The winners were selected from hundreds of tourism businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs, museums and conference centres.
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Not only does our tourism industry offer incredible experiences to those who holiday here, it supports millions of jobs up and down the country. I'm delighted to see so many great establishments, from major Lincolnshire attractions to boutique Yorkshire hotels, being celebrated."
"This important sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus and we have helped with an unprecedented package of measures including the job retention scheme, a years' business rates holiday and most recently a £4 billion reduction in VAT benefitting the sector."
"I would like to congratulate all the winners and businesses around England who are doing an outstanding job in showcasing the best in tourism. I encourage everyone to get out, Enjoy Summer Safely, and experience everything England has to offer."
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “These prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding businesses and individuals in tourism across England who have delivered excellence. From a world-class boutique B&B in Devon to adventure-packed experiences in Somerset, from an accessible country park and national nature reserve in Dorset to a bespoke English wine tour in Kent, our award winners provide stand-out experiences of the highest calibre."
“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely reminder of the determination, innovation and commitment of businesses across the country who have been working extremely hard to reopen, to welcome visitors back safely and to continue to provide a first-class experience.”
In addition to the winners across the 15 ‘core’ categories, there were four special awards this year. The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism was awarded to the business events industry in recognition of its work to support England’s Nightingale Hospitals.
The Tourism Superstar competition, run with the Daily Mirror, was this year won by Lorry Middleton from Hovertravel on the Isle of Wight, following a public vote earlier this year.
The Travel Content Award, which recognises the important contribution of the media in championing domestic tourism, was won by Rachel Dixon for her piece in The Guardian “Uncrowded Cornwall: fine food and walking on the Lizard.”
Visit County Durham was awarded the International Distribution Award in recognition of its commitment to increasing the international distribution of local tourism products, driving inbound tourism and also benefitting the domestic market.
During the virtual event VisitEngland also announced a new approach for the 2020-21 awards in recognition of businesses and individuals within the tourism industry who have demonstrated innovation, resilience and adaptation along with support for their local communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Nominations for ‘Tourism Heroes’ will be welcomed from businesses as well as members of the public and colleagues within the industry. More details are set to be announced by VisitEngland in the coming weeks.
Below are the winners in each category of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020:
Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
Gold: Durlston Country Park & National Nature Reserve, Dorset
Silver: Birmingham Hippodrome, West Midlands
Bronze: Mylor Sailing and Powerboat School, Cornwall
B&B and Guest House of the Year
Gold: The 25 Boutique B&B, Devon
Silver: St Cuthbert’s House, Northumberland
Bronze: Haven Cottage, Cumbria
Business Events Venue of the Year
Gold: The Brewery, Greater London
Silver: College Court Conference Centre and Hotel, Leicestershire
Bronze: NTU Events and Conferencing, Nottinghamshire
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year
Gold: Landal Darwin Forest, Derbyshire
Silver: Swallowtail Hill, East Sussex
Bronze: Eye Kettleby Lakes, Leicestershire
Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award
Gold: The Hive Café and Bakery, West Midlands
Silver: The Quiet Site, Cumbria
Bronze: Hoe Grange Holidays, Derbyshire
Experience of the Year
Gold: Wild Wookey, Somerset
Silver: Ezekial Bone - Nottingham Robin Hood Town Tour, Nottinghamshire
Bronze: ZSL London Zoo Lodges, Greater London
International Tourism Award
Gold: International Bomber Command Centre, Lincolnshire
Silver: The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Somerset
Bronze: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Large Hotel of the Year
Gold: The Ned, Greater London
Silver: Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Wiltshire
Bronze: Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa, Hampshire
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
Gold: Old Royal Naval College, Greater London
Silver: The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Somerset
Bronze: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire
New Tourism Business Award
Gold: Vine + Country Tours, Kent & East Sussex
Silver: Hotham's Gin School and Distillery, East Yorkshire
Bronze: The Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre, Lancashire
Pub of the Year
Gold: The Baskerville, Oxfordshire
Silver: Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Dorset
Bronze: The Howard Arms, Warwickshire
Self Catering Accommodation of the Year
Gold: North Hayne Farm Cottages, Devon
Silver: Wallops Wood Cottages, Hampshire
Bronze: Broadgate Farm Cottages, East Yorkshire
Small Hotel of the Year
Gold: Grays Court, North Yorkshire
Silver: Cary Arms & Spa, Devon
Bronze: Seaham Hall, County Durham
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
Gold: Gladstone Pottery Museum, Staffordshire
Silver: Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Somerset
Bronze: Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, Dorset
Taste of England Award
Gold: The Dining Room - Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Wiltshire
Silver: John's House, Leicestershire
Bronze: Restaurant Hjem, Northumberland
Travel Content Award
Gold: Rachel Dixon, The Guardian: “Uncrowded Cornwall: fine food and walking on the Lizard”
Silver: Paul Healy & Mark Barnes: “Anywhere We Roam: How to spend a few days visiting Dorset’s Jurassic Coast."
Bronze: Helen Coffey, Independent.co.uk “Don’t let the Russian Poisonings put you off visiting Salisbury, the UK’s loveliest medieval city.”
International Distribution Award
Gold: Visit County Durham
Silver: Newcastle Gateshead Initiative
Bronze: Destination Bristol
VisitEngland/Daily Mirror Tourism Superstar Award
Winner: Lorry Middleton, Hovertravel, Isle of Wight
Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award
Winner: The business events industry for England’s Nightingale Hospitals