Cream of England’s tourism industry announced at VisitEngland’s annual Awards for Excellence

VisitEngland has revealed the cream of England’s tourism industry, announcing the winners of its Awards for Excellence for 2018. 

The prestigious awards, now in their 29th year, recognise, congratulate and celebrate businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

The 21 winners, announced on St George’s Day at an event hosted by Kirstie Allsopp at the Bath Assembly Rooms, range from Afternoon Tea of the Year to Tourism Pub of the Year, from Dog-Friendly Business of the Year to Visitor Information Provider of the Year.  The winners were selected from hundreds of submissions including accommodation businesses, attractions, food establishments and guided tour operators, spanning the length and breadth of England from Cornwall to Yorkshire, from Kent to Suffolk, Somerset to Tyne & Wear.

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:

“These awards shine a spotlight on our fantastic tourism industry, with the winners showcasing the quality, innovation and excellence on offer throughout the country.

“From an outstanding boutique hotel in the Dales to a guided 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.”

In addition to the winners across 18 categories, there were three special awards: Outstanding Contribution to Tourism awarded to Historic Royal Palaces, Tourism Superstar winner Jim O’Reilly following a public vote and Travel Article of the Year awarded to journalist Richard Mellor.

Historic Royal Palaces received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism in recognition of the powerful draw the royal palaces have on domestic and international visitors. VisitEngland’s Annual Attraction Survey found that in 2016 there was a seven percent increase in the number of visitors to historic houses and castles compared to the previous year.

The Tourism Superstar competition, run with the Daily Mirror, was this year won by Jim Reilly, a customer service adviser with Red Funnel Ferries. Nigel Thompson, the Daily Mirror’s Travel Editor, presented the accolade.

Richard Mellor is the winner of the Travel Article of the Year 2018 award for his piece in The Guardian titled Party in the Sea – Between the Isles of Scilly. This citation recognises the important contribution of the media in shaping domestic tourism.

Latest VisitEngland statistics show that in 2017 Brits took more than 47 million holidays in England, up six percent on the previous year. Brits spent more than £11 billion on domestic staycations in 2017, up six percent on 2016.

Tourism in England contributes £106 billion to the 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


Notes to Editors:

About the Sponsors

Barclays - sponsor of the Inclusive Tourism Award, for the third consecutive year.

Barclays are committed to accessibility and aim to become the most accessible and inclusive organisation in the FTSE 100. – sponsor of the Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year offers over 20,000 holiday homes in some of the UK, Ireland, France and Italy’s most amazing locations.


Hotels & More – sponsor of the Guided Tour of the Year

Hotels & More is a leading inbound tour operator for the UK and Ireland, offering a wide range of services for groups and individual travellers.


Shearings – sponsor of the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Shearings is the UK’s largest escorted tour company, offering a broad range of holidays and hotel breaks to more than 200 destinations across the UK, Europe & beyond.