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VisitEngland reveals Awards for Excellence 2023 winners

VisitEngland has announced the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence 2023, celebrating the tourism industry’s brightest stars.

The 20 Gold Award winners were announced at an evening ceremony on 7 June hosted by Alex Polizzi at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, in categories ranging from ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ and ‘B&B and Guest House of the Year’ to ‘Business Events Venue of the Year’ and ‘Experience of the Year.’ The Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were selected from hundreds of tourism businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs and museums.

The prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, running for more than 30 years and in 2023 sponsored by the Caravan and Motorhome Club, celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said:

“It is fantastic to come together as an industry to celebrate our world-class tourism businesses. Competition this year was fierce with customer service excellence evident across every category, thanks to the passion and dedication of individuals.

“From an outdoor theatre in Suffolk to a boutique B&B in Essex, from an arboretum museum in Staffordshire, a zoo farm in Bristol, to island boat tours in Northumberland, this year’s awards also showcase the wonderful range of quality tourism products on offer across England.

“I congratulate all the winners and especially those who won Gold, an achievement cementing their place as the country’s crème de la crème, standard-bearers for England’s tourism industry.”

In addition to the 16 core categories award winners, four special awards were also presented this year including an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award,’ a ‘Travel Content Award’, a ‘Tourism Superstar Award’ and a ‘TXGB Trailblazer Award’.

The Tourism Superstar Award went to Geoff Colvin. Geoff, a volunteer stationmaster at the Kent and East Sussex Railway, was the winner of the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar 2023 run in partnership with the Mirror, following a public vote and competition earlier this year.

The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award went to ‘England’s Coast’ in recognition of its valuable role in boosting domestic and inbound tourism to England.

The Travel Content Award, which recognises the media’s important contribution in championing domestic tourism, was won by Alicia Miller of The Independent with her story ‘How to do a classic Cotswolds weekend, car-free.’

The TXGB Trailblazer Award went to Red Funnel, Isle of Wight, in recognition of its efforts in driving inbound bookings through the business-to-business platform, also benefitting the domestic market.

Tourism is one of England’s largest and most valuable industries, supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses, employing about 2.6 million people and, in 2019, generating £76 billion in domestic visitor spending.

See below for the full list of VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 winners:

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award:

  • GOLD Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol
  • SILVER Brickhouse Farm Holiday Cottages & Lakeside Hub, Lancashire
  • BRONZE WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire

B&B and Guest House of the Year:

  • GOLD Piglets Boutique B&B, Essex
  • SILVER Cedar Manor, Cumbria
  • BRONZE Sunnyside Guest House, Southport

Business Events Venue of the Year:

  • GOLD National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire
  • SILVER Imago Venues, Leicestershire
  • BRONZE The ICC Birmingham, West Midlands

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year:

  • GOLD The Quiet Site, Cumbria
  • SILVER Brook Meadow, Leicestershire
  • BRONZE Hendra Holiday Park, Cornwall

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award:

  • GOLD Pure Outdoor, Derbyshire
  • SILVER National Forest EBike Holidays, Leicestershire
  • BRONZE The Cottages at Blackadon Farm, Devon

Experience of the Year:

  • GOLD Grey Seal and Seabird Cruise, Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Northumberland
  • SILVER Make Your Own Gin Experience, Shed 1 Gin Distillery, Cumbria
  • BRONZE Peak District Walking Experience, myGuidedWalks, Derbyshire

Large Hotel of the Year:

  • GOLD Titanic Hotel Liverpool
  • SILVER Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Wiltshire
  • BRONZE Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort, County Durham

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year:

  • GOLD Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire
  • SILVER Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
  • BRONZE International Bomber Command Centre, Lincolnshire

New Tourism Business of the Year:

  • GOLD Thorington Theatre, Suffolk
  • SILVER Bassenthwaite Lake Station, Cumbria
  • BRONZE Great British Car Journey, Derbyshire

Pub of the Year:

  • GOLD The Blind Bull, Derbyshire
  • SILVER The Shoe, Hampshire
  • BRONZE The Duncombe Arms, Staffordshire

Resilience and Innovation Award:

  • GOLD St Luke’s Bombed Out Church C.I.C., Liverpool
  • SILVER Langley Castle Hotel, Northumberland
  • BRONZE Healing Manor Hotel, Lincolnshire

Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year:

  • GOLD Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages, Northumberland
  • SILVER The Dovecote Barns, North Yorkshire
  • BRONZE Eaton Manor Country Estate, Shropshire

Small Hotel of the Year:

  • GOLD Askham Hall, Cumbria
  • SILVER THE PIG-at Combe, Devon
  • BRONZE Wildhive Callow Hall, Derbyshire

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year:

  • GOLD Watatunga Wildlife Reserve, Norfolk
  • SILVER Muncaster Castle, Gardens and Hawk & Owl Centre, Cumbria
  • BRONZE PK Porthcurno, Cornwall

Taste of England Award:

  • GOLD Pensons Restaurant at the Netherwood Estate, Worcestershire
  • SILVER The Unruly Pig, Suffolk
  • BRONZE The Glasshouse Restaurant, Hampshire

Unsung Hero Award:

  • GOLD Michael Wilson, Official Guide to the Kent Estuary, Guide Over Sands Trust, Cumbria
  • SILVER Marie Colgrave, Welcome Building Supervisor, Whitchurch Silk Mill, Hampshire
  • BRONZE Carol Adams, Head of Horticulture & Biodiversity, Trentham, Staffordshire

The TXGB Trailblazer Award:

  • GOLD Red Funnel, Isle of Wight
  • SILVER New Adventures, Tyne & Wear & Northumberland
  • BRONZE Cotswolds Tourism, Cotswolds

Travel Content Award:

  • GOLD Alicia Miller, The Independent – How to do a classic Cotswolds weekend, car-free
  • SILVER Ben Lerwill, National Geographic Traveller – How art and ancient history collide on a hike through Deal, Dover and Folkestone
  • BRONZE Paul Healy, Anywhere We Roam -A wild getaway in Swaledale – the unspoilt valley in the Yorkshire Dales

Tourism Superstar:
Geoff Colvin, Chief Stationmaster, Kent & East Sussex Railway

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award:
England’s Coast