VisitEngland announces Awards for Excellence 2020 finalists

28 July 2020

VisitEngland has today announced the finalists who will go forward to compete for the tourism industry’s annual national Awards for Excellence.

Applications were put forward for national judging from businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation providers, B&Bs, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs, museums and conference centres.

The 53 finalists will now go on to compete in 15 core categories at this year’s awards, from the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award, the Taste of England Award to Self Catering Accommodation of the Year and Small Visitor Attraction of the Year. There will also be four special awards, including the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award. All finalists are invited to attend an online virtual event on Monday 17 August when the winners are set to be announced.

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:

“These awards celebrate businesses and individuals in tourism across England who have exceeded expectations and delivered excellence during the last 18 months and it is fantastic to see such an outstanding list of finalists. 

“The impressive list reflects the sheer scale of innovation, quality and experiences across our tourism landscape and I congratulate all the finalists and wish them the very best of luck.

“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely opportunity to acknowledge the determination and dedication of tourism businesses across the country who have worked extremely hard to reopen and welcome visitors back safely.”

The Awards champion the very best of the country’s tourism industry celebrating quality, innovation and best practice. This year’s Awards aligned with 18 local competitions around the country, with winners automatically put forward for the national awards.

List of finalists:

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award:

Birmingham Hippodrome                                                                West Midlands

Durlston Country Park & National Nature Reserve                         Dorset

Mylor Sailing and Powerboat School                                              Cornwall

B&B and Guest House of the Year:

Haven Cottage                                                                               Cumbria

St Cuthbert’s House                                                                       Northumberland

The 25 Boutique B&B                                                                     Devon

Business Events Venue of the Year:

College Court Conference Centre and Hotel                                  Leicestershire

NTU Events and Conferencing                                                       Nottinghamshire

The Brewery                                                                                   Greater London

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year:

Eye Kettleby Lakes                                                                         Leicestershire

Landal Darwin Forest                                                                     Derbyshire

Swallowtail Hill                                                                                East Sussex

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award:

Hoe Grange Holidays                                                                     Derbyshire

The Hive Café and Bakery                                                             West Midlands

The Quiet Site                                                                                Cumbria

Experience of the Year:

Ezekial Bone - Nottingham Robin Hood Town Tour                        Nottinghamshire

Wild Wookey                                                                                   Somerset

ZSL London Zoo Lodges                                                                Greater London

International Tourism Award:

Blenheim Palace                                                                            Oxfordshire

International Bomber Command Centre                                         Lincolnshire

The Roman Baths & Pump Room                                                  Somerset

Large Hotel of the Year:

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa                                                            Wiltshire

Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa                                                Hampshire

The Ned                                                                                          Greater London

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year:

Old Royal Naval College                                                                 Greater London

The Roman Baths & Pump Room                                                   Somerset

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter     Hertfordshire

New Tourism Business Award:

Hotham's Gin School and Distillery                                                  East Yorkshire

The Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre                                           Lancashire

Vine + Country Tours                                                                        East Sussex

Pub of the Year:

The Baskerville                                                                                Oxfordshire

The Howard Arms                                                                            Warwickshire

Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen                                                    Dorset

Self Catering Accommodation of the Year:

Broadgate Farm Cottages                                                               East Yorkshire

North Hayne Farm Cottages                                                            Devon

Wallops Wood Cottages                                                                  Hampshire

Small Hotel of the Year:

Cary Arms & Spa                                                                            Devon

Grays Court                                                                                     North Yorkshire

Seaham Hall                                                                                   County Durham

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year:

Gladstone Pottery Museum                                                            Staffordshire

Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum                                         Dorset

Herschel Museum of Astronomy                                                     Somerset

Taste of England Award:

John's House                                                                                  Leicestershire

Restaurant Hjem                                                                            Northumberland

The Dining Room - Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa                        Wiltshire

Travel Content Award:

Helen Coffey,

Don’t let the Russian Poisonings put you off visiting Salisbury, the UK’s loveliest medieval city

Rachel Dixon, The Guardian

Uncrowded Cornwall: fine food and walking on the Lizard

Paul Healy & Mark Barnes

Anywhere We Roam

Tourism Superstar:

Lorry Middleton                                                                               Isle of Wight

International Distribution Award:

Destination Bristol                                                      

Newcastle Gateshead Initiative

Visit County Durham

Notes to Editors:

  • All finalists from the core categories have been forwarded to the national competition as eligible winners from 18 local competitions and will be awarded either a Bronze, Silver or Gold award at the virtual ceremony.
  • These local competitions took place during 2019 and early 2020.
  • VisitEngland appointed industry experts across several judging panels to determine the Gold, Silver and Bronze national winners for each core category.
  • This event is the culmination of the first awards cycle since the modernisation of the awards in March 2019.
  • The 2020 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence event will be streamed live at and on our YouTube channel: VisitEnglandBiz on 17 August from 19:00 – 21:00