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24 Apr 2018

Cream of tourism crop revealed with VisitEngland's latest Awards for Excellence
BY Tom Anstey

Situated in Staffordshire on the edge of the National Forest, the National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance

Situated in Staffordshire on the edge of the National Forest, the National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance
photo: National Memorial Arboretum

VisitEngland has named the best Britain's tourism industry has to offer, announcing the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence.

The awards, which enter their 29th year, recognise businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is among the winners this year, with the attraction picking up the Gold Award for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, beating Blenheim Place and the Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, which picked up Silver and Bronze Awards respectively.

In the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year, the Charterhouse in London was the Gold Award winner, with County Durham's Hall Hill Farm winning Silver and the Screech Owl Sanctuary & Wildlife Park in Cornwall with Bronze.

Brighton's i360 also picked up a Gold Award, winning the category for Innovation in Tourism. The visitor attraction beat the Tyne & Wear area's Go North East transport service, which won Silver, and the English Lake District China Forum, which was the Bronze winner.

"These awards shine a spotlight on our fantastic tourism industry with the winners showcasing the quality, innovation and excellence on offer throughout the country," said VisitEngland chief executive, Sally Balcombe.

"From an outstanding boutique hotel in the Dales to a tour of York’s chocolate-making history, from pine holiday lodges on the sandy beaches of Cornwall to a quintessentially English country-pub in Hertfordshire, these winners provide outstanding and truly memorable visitor experiences."

Latest VisitEngland statistics show that in 2017 Britons took more than 47 million holidays in England, an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year. Staycationers also spent more than £11bn (US$15.3bn, €12.6bn) in 2017 – also a 6 per cent rise on 2016. Overall tourism contributes an estimated £106bn (US$148bn, €121.1bn) to the English economy.

Below are the winners in each category for this year’s awards:

Bed & Breakfast of the Year

GOLD - Alkham Court Farmhouse, Kent
SILVER - The 25 Boutique B&B, Devon
BRONZE - South Lodge Boutique B&B, Buckinghamshire

Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year

GOLD - Yorebridge House, Yorkshire
SILVER - Hever Castle & Gardens, Kent
BRONZE - Cary Arms & Spa “Inn on the Beach”, Devon

Business Tourism Award

GOLD - Sage Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
SILVER - Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa, Cheshire
BRONZE - Tewkesbury Park, Gloucestershire

Dog Friendly Business of the Year

GOLD - Wallops Wood Cottages, Hampshire
SILVER - Bulleigh Barton Manor, Devon
BRONZE - Salad Days Beach Hut, Somerset

Guided Tour of the Year

GOLD - York’s Chocolate Story, Yorkshire
SILVER - World of Wedgwood, Staffordshire
BRONZE - Cotswolds Distillery, Warwickshire

Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year

GOLD - Landal Gwel an Mor, Cornwall
SILVER - Seafield Caravan Park, Northumberland
BRONZE - Polmanter Touring Park, Cornwall

Hotel of the Year

GOLD - Rudding Park, Yorkshire
SILVER - Lucknam Park, Wiltshire
BRONZE - Seaham Hall, County Durham

Inbound Tourism Award

GOLD - Beiwei 55°, London and Tyne & Wear
SILVER - The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Bath & North East Somerset
BRONZE - The Grand Hotel & Spa, Yorkshire

Inclusive Tourism Award

GOLD - The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Bath & North East Somerset
SILVER - Mylor Sailing & Powerboat School, Cornwall
BRONZE - Cottage in the Dales, Yorkshire

Innovation in Tourism Award

GOLD - British Airways i360, East Sussex
SILVER - Go North East, Tyne & Wear
BRONZE - English Lake District China Forum, Cumbria

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

GOLD - National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire
SILVER - Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
BRONZE - Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset

New Tourism Business Award

GOLD – Stasher, London
SILVER - Ascent Trampoline Park, Lancashire
BRONZE - Loose Reins, Dorset

Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

GOLD - Sheepyard Barn at The Suffolk Escape, Suffolk
SILVER - The Milkshed, Devon
BRONZE - The Treehouse Hotel at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, Kent

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

GOLD - the Charterhouse, London
SILVER - Hall Hill Farm, County Durham
BRONZE - Screech Owl Sanctuary & Wildlife Park, Cornwall

Sustainable Tourism Award

GOLD - Laverock Law Cottages, Northumberland
SILVER - Browsholme Hall, Lancashire
BRONZE - Colton House, Staffordshire

Taste of England Award
GOLD - Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park, Wiltshire
SILVER - Miller’s Fish and Chips, Yorkshire
BRONZE - Askham Hall, Cumbria

Tourism Pub of the Year

GOLD - The Riverside at Aymestrey, Herefordshire
SILVER - The Cartford Inn, Lancashire
BRONZE - The Bruce Arms West Tanfield, Yorkshire

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

GOLD - York Visitor Information Centre, Yorkshire
SILVER - Oxford Visitor Information Centre, Oxfordshire
BRONZE - Liverpool Tourist Information Centre, Merseyside

Tourism Superstar

Jim O’Reilly, Red Funnel Ferries, Isle of Wight

Travel Article of the Year

Richard Mellor, The Guardian
Party in the Sea - Between the Isles of Scilly

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism

Historic Royal Palaces



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