No matter where you are based in the country, your application will be judged against nationally-set standards, with the same scoring criteria and judging guidance for all core categories at local awards competitions.

vintage car driving past a small country house

VisitBritain/ Michael Cummins

Your online application will be scored and ranked against other local applicants in your category to determine a shortlist. All applicants will receive feedback on how to improve their application, even if they are not shortlisted.

Further rounds of judging, including judging visits with further feedback, may also form part of the judging process.

The overall winners of ‘core categories’ are automatically put forward for national judging. For competitions covering large areas, additional winners may also be eligible to progress.

National judging panels

VisitEngland appoints industry experts across several judging panels to determine the Gold, Silver and Bronze national winners for each category. Please note panel members are subject to change prior to panel meetings.

The following panel members sat on the national judging panel for the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2019/20. 


The accommodation judging panel experts judge the following categories: B&B and Guest House of the Year, Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year, Small Hotel of the Year, Large Hotel of the Year and Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year.

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent, the Independent, TV & Radio Presenter
Simon Law
Chief Portfolio Officer at Urbain Hospitality Group
David Weston
Chairman, Bed and Breakfast Association
Nikki Nichol
External Communications and Sponsorship Manager, Caravan and Motorhome Club
Allan Lambert
VisitEngland Advisory Board Member
Clare Mullin
Marketing Director, VisitBritain/VisitEngland

Attractions and experiences

The attractions and experiences judging panel experts judge the following categories: Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, Small Visitor Attraction of the Year and Experience of the Year.

Ben Cowell
Director General, Historic Houses; Deputy Chair, The Heritage Alliance
Paul Kelly
Chief Executive of BALPPA, The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions
Barry Noble
Quality Assurance Assessor, VisitEngland Assessment Services
Fiona Pollard
VisitEngland Advisory Board member
Vicky Howell
Contracts and Enterprise Manager, VisitEngland

Food and drink

The food and drink judging panel experts judge the following categories: Pub of the Year and Taste of England Award.

Jack Stein
Chef Director – Rick Stein restaurants, rooms, cookery school and shop
Paul Nunny
Founder & Director of Stay in a Pub Ltd, Director of Cask Marque and British Guild of Beer Writers
Dr Andy Wood OBE DL
VisitEngland Advisory Board member; Chief Executive, Adnams Plc
Dom Rowntree
Waiter at Daniel Humm's Davies and Brook, Claridge's; author of blog and Instagram account Samphire and Salsify
Robin Johnson
Europe Director, VisitBritain/VisitEngland

Business events

The business events judging panel experts judge the Business Events Venue of the Year category.

Michael Hirst OBE
Chair of the Events Industry Board
Ben Goedegebuure
Vice President, Global General Manager – Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Maritz Global Events
Heather Lishman
Association Director, ABPCO (Association of British Professional Conference Organisers); Director, Hospitality Assured
Anna-Lena Gras
Editor-in-chief, Convention International
Nadine Thomson
VisitEngland Advisory Board member and Global Chief Technology Officer, MediaCom
Kerrin MacPhie
Head of Business Events, VisitBritain/VisitEngland


The accessibility judging panel experts judge the Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award.

Kathryn Townsend
Head of Customer Accessibility, Barclays UK
Chris Veitch
Consultant, Access New Business; Former DWP Accessibility Champion for Tourism
Nick de Bois
Chair, VisitEngland Advisory Board
Ross Calladine
Head of Business Support, VisitEngland


The sustainability judging panel experts judge the Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable category.

Andrea Nicholas
Chief Executive, Green Business UK Ltd; Founder of the Green Tourism Certification Programme, sustainable tourism expert
Neil Warren
Sustainable Tourism Consultant, Neil Warren Support
Clare Jenkinson
Head of Sustainability at ABTA – The Travel Association
Alison Rice
Travel journalist and broadcaster
Isabel Choat
Online Travel Editor, The Guardian
Sarah Fowler
VisitEngland Advisory Board Member and Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority
Patricia Yates
Director of Strategy and Communications, VisitBritain/VisitEngland

New and international

The new and international judging panel experts judge the following categories: New Tourism Business Award and International Tourism Award.

Joss Croft
CEO, UKinbound
Richard Mellor
Freelance travel journalist, writing a weekly page for Metro and contributing frequently to The Times, the Mail on Sunday and other titles
Alexander Rushton
Tourism & Hospitality Programme Lead, Be the Business
Nigel Halkes
VisitEngland Advisory Board member
Andrew Stokes
England Director, VisitBritain/VisitEngland