VisitEngland announces winners of tourism Awards for Excellence 2020

17 August 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


Special Awards:


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,’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)


Lorry Middleton, Hovertravel, Isle of Wight


Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award


The business events industry for England’s Nightingale Hospitals


See all winners on the Business Advice Hub




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.