VisitEngland has announced the winners of the annual Awards for Excellence, celebrating the best of the country’s tourism industry, with the South West again outperforming all other regions with 17 national winners.

The announcements marked the end of the cycle which started in 2021 when businesses entered their local tourism awards in Dorset, Bristol, Bath and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. The national winners were announced at a glittering event at the Library of Birmingham, hosted by Clare Balding.  Categories ranged from Experience of the Year to Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, from the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award to the Small and Large Hotel of the Year, the Taste of England Award to the Pub of the Year and the Bed and Breakfast of the Year award.

Nominations for the national awards were put forward following the South West Tourism Excellence awards at Sandy Park, Exeter, in April, following online events for the Dorset, Cornwall, Bristol, Bath and Somerset and Devon tourism awards. Since then the nominees have been through a further round of national judging leading to the announcement of national winners.

Bristol, Bath and Somerset winners were a Gold for The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa for Large Hotel of the Year, a further Gold to The Cotley Inn for Pub of the Year, a Silver to No. 15 by Guesthouse in the Small Hotel category, and Bronze to Savouring Bath for the TXGB Trailblazer Award.

Cornwall winners were a double Gold to Mylor Sailing and Powerboat School for Accessible and Inclusive Tourism and Experience of the Year, Gold to Three Mile Beach for New Tourism Business of the Year, Silver to The Idle Rocks for Small Hotel of the Year and a further Silver to Glynn Barton for Self Catering Accommodation of the Year.

Dorset winners were also delighted with Nothe Fort winning Gold for Small Visitor Attraction of the Year, The Acorn Inn winning Silver for Pub of the Year, West Bay Discover Centre taking Bronze for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, and All Hallows’ Farmhouse Cookery School winning Bronze for Experience of the Year.

Devon celebrated three winners, with The 25 Boutique B&B taking Gold and Brightham House Boutique Bed and Breakfast Bronze in the B&B and Guesthouse of the Year category, while Pitt Farm Holiday Cottages won Bronze for Self Catering Accommodation of the year.

A final two awards were a Gold for Ben Lerwill of National Geographic Traveller for his coverage of ‘Pirates and prehistory on Devon’s southeast coast’ and a Silver for Visit Gloucester in the TXGB Trailblazer Award.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Our superb tourism businesses offer something for everyone and the sector is one we can be proud of. It is fantastic to see so many hardworking businesses of all sizes recognised for their gold-standard contribution to English tourism and I congratulate all the winners."

Robin Barker from South West awards organisers Services for Tourism, commented: “After all we’ve been through over the last two years it was an absolute delight to gather again in person alongside the cream of South West tourism businesses.  Huge congratulations to them all – to have excelled in regional awards and then gone on to national success in such difficult times is testament to their innovation, resilience, and commitment.”

Co-Director Nell Barrington added: “Last night showcased all that is brilliant about Tourism in England. I was so delighted and proud to be able to celebrate with the many, many winners from across South West England, my heart felt congratulations to them all.”

The 2022/23 awards are currently open for entry with a deadline of 19 June.  South West businesses are encouraged to enter, with the chance of going on to national success.