13 SOUTH WEST WINNERS IN NATIONAL TOURISM AWARDS  

VisitEngland has announced the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence, celebrating the best of the country’s tourism industry, with the South West again outperforming all other regions with 13 national winners.

The 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 Self Catering, from the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award to the Small and Large Hotel of the Year, the Taste of England Award to the Pub of the Year and the Bed and Breakfast of the Year award.

Nominations for the national awards were put forward following the South West Tourism Excellence awards in Exeter Cathedral in February, following a record year for the awards with 773 entries into the Dorset, Cornwall, Bristol, Bath and Somerset, Devon and South West awards. Since then the nominees have been through a further round of national judging leading to the announcement of national winners.

National Gold winners were The 25 Boutique B&B from the English Riviera, Dorset’s Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve, The Dining Room at Whatley Manor in Wiltshire, Wild Wookey from Somerset and North Hayne Farm Cottages from Devon.  The six Silver winners were the Three Horseshoes Pub and Kitchen from Dorset, Bath’s Roman Baths & Pump Room (two Silvers), Devon’s Cary Arms, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath, and Lucknam Park in Wiltshire. Bronze awards went to Mylor Sailing and Powerboat School from Cornwall and Dorset’s Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum. In addition a Bronze special award for International Distribution went to Destination Bristol, and the South West picked up a clean sweep of Gold, Silver and Bronze in the special Travel Content award, with The Guardian’s Rachel Dixon taking Gold for her article on ‘Uncrowded Cornwall: fine food and walking on the Lizard’.

 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.”

Robin Barker from South West awards organisers Services for Tourism, commented: “What an amazing evening and success for tourism across the South West. The passion, innovation and resilience of our winners has shone through yet again in what has been an extraordinary year, and I invite everyone to share in congratulating them as well as all those working in tourism  who are continuing to ‘pull out all the stops’ to offer a fabulous experience to visitors.

EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR 

GOLD – Wild Wookey, Somerset wildwookey.co.uk, @wildwookey