VisitEngland Excellence Awards 2016: Finalists

Guardhouse Cafe at sunset © Chris Slack Photography

The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2016 is almost here, and this year’s ceremony will be celebrating the businesses who work tirelessly to give their visitors an unforgettable English holiday experience.  

Check out our finalists who have been nominated for the top honours at this year’s awards, due to take place on Tuesday 8 March.

Access for All

Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, Leicestershire

Attenborough Arts Centre is a pioneering arts venue established with the help of founding patron Lord Richard Attenborough, and with the ambition for everyone to be involved in the arts: audiences, performers and staff alike.




Calvert Trust Exmoor, Barnstaple, Devon

Calvert Trust Exmoor is an activity centre with a passionate and dedicated team of staff and volunteers who are dedicated to providing a fun outdoor adventure for their visitors.




Hampton Court Palace, Richmond, London

This Ancient Monument aims to ensure their visitors get the most from their visit with British Sign Language interpreted tours, a ‘We-Go’ powered wheelchair with its own escort and excellent Access guides.




Hoe Grange Holidays, Matlock, Derbyshire 

Hoe Grange is a traditional family-run farm whose log cabins cater for guests with a range of mobility needs and even provide an off-road wheelchair to explore the farm and beyond.



The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Bath and North East Somerset

With its new innovative suspended walkway, British Sign Language tours and information for visitors with autism, this unique historical attraction in Bath is a good example of how a heritage site can be made truly accessible for all.




Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation

Low Mill Guesthouse, Bainbridge, North Yorkshire

Situated in a beautiful village in the Yorkshire Dales, Low Mill is set in a converted mill, complete with functioning water wheel and mill workings, and oozes character and perfect hospitality. 




Molland Manor House B&B, Canterbury, Kent

A historic and beautifully restored home from home, Molland Manor is set in tranquil grounds close to such attractions as Wingham Wildlife Park and Deal Castle. 




Pebble House Boutique Guest House, Mevagissey, Cornwall

Pebble House is the perfect place to go to escape from the kids, where guests are treated to a glass of bubbly on arrival and stay in rooms with views to die for.




St Cuthbert's House, Seahouses, Northumberland

St Cuthbert’s Guest House is situated in an elegant converted 19th century chapel just a short walk from Seahouses harbour and within easy reach of the spectacular Northumbrian coast.




Trevose Harbour House, St Ives, Cornwall 

Trevose House is a top end B&B that offers exemplary comfort in artistic surroundings with lovely seaside decor throughout, large and airy rooms with sea views and delicious breakfasts.




Business Tourism

Crewe Hall, Q Hotels, Crewe, Cheshire

Set in eight acres of parkland in a 400-year-old Jacobean mansion, Crewe Hall offers a beautiful mix of modern conference and meeting rooms in the state-of-the-art purpose built event centre with heritage conference and meeting rooms in the Old Hall. 




Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon

Dartington Hall is a stunning country estate that provides first class meeting facilities, team-building activities, comfortable accommodation and a fine dining catering experience.




Highbullen Hotel Golf & Country Club, Umberleigh, North Devon

Highbullen offers a wide choice of meeting and conference spaces, accommodating up to 400 delegates in the superb new purpose-built Palazzo, with 12 bedrooms in the Manor House and 25 Estate Rooms located in the grounds. 

Seaham Hall, Seaham, County Durham

Seaham Hall in County Durham, set in 37 acres in a stunning cliff-top location can offer business customers a choice of meeting and conference spaces, all with air conditioning, natural light and stunning views. 




Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa and Country Lodges, Nr. Colchester, Essex 

The Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa is a family owned and run business, whose visitors will enjoy the peaceful location, fabulous grounds and the quality of the leisure facilities for relaxation. 




Dog Friendly Business

Higher Wiscombe, Colyton, Devon 

Peaceful, luxurious, and beautiful, with hospitality second to none and faultless green credentials, this is a heaven for hounds and humans too. 




Old Swan & Minster Mill, Nr. Witney, Oxfordshire

The Old Swan and Minster Mill is a welcoming and laid back gastro pub and hotel with a number of dog friendly rooms and the added bonus that dogs can dine with their owners. 

Poston Mill Park, Peterchurch, Herefordshire

This holiday home and touring park in Herefordshire offers a wide choice of accommodations from camping to self-catering units and provides an understated bit of doggy heaven. 




Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

This very characterful boutique hotel combines 17th century character and charm with luxurious contemporary accommodation from both pooches and their owners.




Talbot Hotel, Malton, North Yorkshire

Talbot Hotel lies within fully restored Grade 2 listed historic building surrounded by attractive grounds, and the genuine enthusiasm of the staff towards dogs helps put owners at ease. 




Holiday Park / Holiday Village

Castlerigg Hall Caravan & Camping Park, Keswick, Cumbria

Castlerigg Hall Caravan & Camping Park is a well-maintained, family owned site with superb views and glorious sunsets overlooking Derwentwater.




Darwin Forest Country Park, Matlock, Derbyshire

This holiday park is set in 47 acres of woodland paradise featuring 110 luxuriously furnished timber lodges built by the park’s sister company Pinelog and maintained to a very high standard.




Padstow Touring Park, Padstow, Cornwall

Padstow Touring Park consists of 150 well-spaced and landscaped touring caravan and family camping pitches. Open all year, it provides the ideal base for touring this beautiful area of Cornwall.




Poston Mill Park, Peterchurch, Herefordshire

Poston Mill Holiday Park is set in 25 acres of riverside farmland and promises peace and quiet, riverside walks, high quality facilities and landscaping. 




Woodovis Park, Tavistock, Devon

Woodovis is a tranquil family owned park that offers a range of accommodation options from static holiday homes to glamping pods, camping and caravanning and a self-catering cottage.   




Large Hotel

Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, New Forest, Hampshire

Celebrating its 50th year, Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa is a world renowned luxury resort that manages to be sumptuous and elegant, whilst retaining a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.




Peckforton Castle, Chester, Cheshire

Housed in a truly magnificent Victorian castle set high up overlooking Cheshire, Peckforton Castle Hotel is everyone’s vision of ‘medieval’ grandeur. 




Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa, Darlington, County Durham

Rockliffe Hall is a truly impressive 60 roomed 5-star luxury golf and spa hotel offering a wide choice of beautifully presented accommodation.




Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa, Salcombe, Devon

Described as ‘a luxurious coastal spa’, the Salcombe Harbour Hotel’s superb location overlooking the water makes it particularly suited to wedding parties, birthday celebrations or a romantic weekend away. 




South Lodge, an Exclusive Hotel, Horsham, West Sussex

South Lodge Hotel is a magnificent country house hotel set in 93 acres of woodland and parkland, with rooms boasting wonderful views of the South Downs.




Large Visitor Attraction

Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, Beamish, County Durham

At Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, you can touch, taste, hear, see and smell history whilst on an unforgettable journey into the past.




Brunel's ss Great Britain, Bristol

Brunel's ss Great Britain is one of the UK’s finest attractions, where visitors can explore the cabins and state rooms, climb the rigging and enjoy all the sights, sounds and even smells of a sea voyage. 




Chester Zoo, Chester, Cheshire

Chester Zoo is an outstanding experience for visitors of all ages and abilities which remains at the forefront of innovative conservation.




Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Salisbury Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece and a magnet for tourists from all over the world and also houses the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta.




The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Manchester

With over 55000 artworks and 20,000 textiles, The Whitworth is one of Britain’s greatest collections of modern art and historic fine art. 




Self Catering Holiday Provider

The Dandelion Hideaway, Market Bosworth, Leicestershire

With designed cosy canvas cottages in a rural paradise, complete with roll top baths, wood fired stoves, oil lamps, and fairy lights round the beds; this is family glamping at its best.




The Dovecote Barns, York, York, North Yorkshire

The Dovecote Barns offers spacious and spotless self -catering accommodation in barns converted to a very high standard with spectacular kitchens and individually styled en suite bedrooms.




Treworgey Cottages, Nr. Looe, Cornwall

Treworgey Cottages is an upscale cottage resort with log fires, beautiful bedrooms, excellent bathrooms, well equipped kitchens and pretty private gardens. 




Whalesborough Cottages & Spa, Bude, Cornwall

With bright, contemporary accommodation complete with wood burning stoves, under floor heating and lovely open plan kitchens, Whalesborough Cottages & Spa is a luxurious beach getaway.




Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges & Snug Huts, Bishop Wilton. York

Wolds Edge Holiday Lodges offers a choice of comfortable, well-equipped self-catering lodges and two cosy shepherd’s huts in a truly peaceful rural setting.




Small Hotel

Cross Lane House Hotel & Restaurant, Allerford, Exmoor National Park, Somerset

Cross Lane House is a small country guesthouse with the impeccable service and eye for detail that would make it the envy of any grand establishment. 




Hell Bay Hotel, Bryher, Isles of Scilly

Hell Bay Hotel is a stylish seaside retreat in what is simply the best location in the islands with outdoor pool, friendly, attentive staff and excellent mostly locally sourced food. 




Kentisbury Grange, Barnstaple, North Devon

Kentisbury Grange, situated on the edge of Exmoor National Park is a superbly refurbished Victorian manor house with beautifully furnished bedrooms and superb ensuite bathrooms. 




Tudor Farmhouse, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

This stylish and romantic retreat in the charming village of Clearwell boasts cosy rooms with fluffy towels and roll top baths are augmented by the recently created suites. 




Yorebridge House, Bainbridge, North Yorkshire

This 5-star ‘restaurant with rooms’ offers contemporary luxury, amazing bedrooms, wonderful bathrooms and exemplary service in a relaxed atmosphere. 




Small Visitor Attraction

Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Laverstoke, Hampshire

This innovative visitor attraction, set in a beautifully restored historic paper mill, formerly used to produce banknotes and now distilling the famous Bombay Sapphire gin. 




Emma Bridgewater Factory, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Emma Bridgewater Factory provides its visitors with an enjoyable factory tour giving a fascinating insight into the manufacture of this very popular pottery range.




The Crystal, London

The Crystal is a truly stunning and fully sustainable landmark building in the form of a glittering crystal, which houses the world’s largest exhibition on the future of cities. 

Wheal Martyn Museum, St. Austell, Cornwall

Wheal Martyn is the UK’s only china clay museum and country park, and visitors can discover how Cornwall’s largest mining industry changed the world and the amazing uses of china clay.




Yorkshire Trike Tours, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Experience a fabulously exhilarating way to experience the Yorkshire Dales at their finest, on the back of a Billy Connolly style motor trike.




Sustainable Tourism

Browsholme Hall and The Tithe Barn, Clitheroe, Lancashire

Browsholme Hall and Tithe Barn is an excellent example of how a historic home can be ‘sustainable’ in the widest sense of the word. 




Colton House, Nr Rugley, Staffordshire

Colton House provides visitors with a real, distinctive and absorbing experience of the local area, as well as showcasing home-grown and local produce. 




Hoe Grange Holidays, Matlock, Derbyshire

Hoe Grange’s commitment to accessibility means that these rich experiences of the Peak District can be enjoyed by many normally excluded or restricted.




Railholiday, St Germans, Cornwall

Railholiday is an inspiring example of a business that is deeply rooted in its local area.




St Cuthbert's House, Seahouses, Northumberland

St Cuthbert’s Guest House is situated in an elegant converted 19th century chapel just a short walk from Seahouses harbour and within easy reach of the spectacular Northumbrian coast.




Taste of England

Eckington Manor, Eckington, Worcestershire

Eckington Manor provides 16 charming bedrooms, a superbly equipped cookery school and a restaurant with a committed ‘farm to fork’ policy.




La Locanda, Gisburn, Lancashire

La Locanda is a true Italian restaurant located in this rural Lancashire village, which uses Lancashire produces from local farmers and gamekeepers.




Martineau Guest House, Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear

This B&B is just three minutes from the beach, where very good food is served and great emphasis is placed on the local provenance of local ingredients.  




The Dining Room, Rock, Cornwall

A family-run fine dining restaurant in the beautiful coastal village of Rock with an efficient service in a relaxed and cosy atmosphere.




The Guardhouse Café, Brixham, South Devon

This super-friendly establishment sits in a stunning clifftop location and serves delicious ethically sourced fare in rustic surroundings.




Tourism Event

Durham University - Magna Carta Exhibition, Durham, County Durham





Giant Spectacular: Memories of August 1914, Liverpool





Imperial War Museum North - From Street to Trench, Manchester





Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow, Eastbourne, East Sussex





The Juddmonte International at York Racecourse, York, North Yorkshire





Tourism Experience

Canterbury Historic River Tours, Canterbury, Kent





King Richard III Partnership, Leicester, Leicestershire





Livingstone Lodge Overnight Safari Experience at Port Lympne Reserve, Nr. Ashford, Kent





Bay Cycle Way, Morecambe Bay, Cumbria, Lancashire





River Cottage HQ, Axminster, Devon





Tourism Pub

The Cartford Inn, Little Eccleston, Lancashire

The Catford Inn is one of Lancashire’s best country pubs and boutique hotels set in a quaint 17th century coaching inn, with its cosy nooks for eating and a lovely old bar area.




The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Worcestershire

The Fleece is a unique piece of Worcestershire’s heritage and is steeped in history, and provides many delights, including good food, local ales, and traditional entertainment. 




The Rising Sun, Truro, Cornwall

A charming little pub close to the centre of Truro, The Rising Sun has a growing and well-deserved reputation for great food.  




The Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax, Yorkshire

Nestled in West Yorkshire’s picturesque Shibden Valley, the 17th Century Shibden Mill is a hidden gem with a reputation for warm hospitality, excellent food and first class accommodation.




The Swan, Bampton, Devon

The Swan is the oldest pub in Bampton and offers its guest a culinary experience with dishes using fresh local produce is prepared with a great deal of flair and imagination.




Visitor Information Provider

Chesterfield Visitor Information Centre

The enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff not only promote Chesterfield but they also pride themselves on their knowledge of ‘hidden gems’ in the area.




Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre

This incredibly friendly team are a fountain of knowledge and live and breathe the town they love, enabling them to passionately inspire visitors to the centre.




Gloucester Tourist Information Centre

This incredibly friendly team are a fountain of knowledge and live and breathe the town they love, enabling them to passionately inspire visitors to the centre.




Thanet Visitor Information Service

This service has two volunteer run information centres in Broadstairs and Ramsgate with teams who are passionate about promoting Thanet, and offering a warm welcome to all visitors.




The Welcome People

The Welcome People provide a unique ‘street-based concierge’ service of highly trained bowler-hatted Ambassadors offering a warm welcome and information to visitors.  

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