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VisitEngland announces winners of tourism Awards for Excellence 2020

VisitEngland has today 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, “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

Tourism Superstar (VisitEngland/Daily Mirror)

  • Winner - Lorry Middleton, Hovertravel, Isle of Wight

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award

  • Winner - The business events industry for England’s Nightingale Hospitals


See all winners on the Business Advice Hub here.



Notes to Editors:

  • Eligible winners from 18 local competitions, which took place during 2019 and 2020, were forwarded to the national competition. Following a rigorous judging process 53 finalists competed in this year’s VisitEngland Awards for Excellence across 15 ‘core categories’ and four special awards. The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2020 is the culmination of the first awards cycle since the modernisation of the awards in March 2019.
  • All winners receive a framed certificate with Gold winners also receiving a trophy.