Clear quality in South West Tourism Excellence Awards

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Written by:   | Posted 28-November-2013 10:21

Clear quality in South West Tourism Excellence Awards

FINALISTS REVEALED: After assessing nearly 350 entries, a record 213 visits and 20 hours of panel meetings, 63 finalists and 34 highly commended entries have been announced in this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards. 

From theses, 59 finalists will carry the South West’s flag in the national VisitEngland awards in May.

Considered the “official” tourism awards for the region, covering Somerset, Bath, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly, as well as linking closely with the awards in Cornwall and Devon and the new awards scheme in Dorset. Eligible winners will also progress to the national VisitEngland awards in London, to which eligible winners will now progress.

Nearly 350 entries were considered, with all entrants undergoing a rigorous short-listing process with 213 visits by a team of 35 judges and mystery shoppers. Entry was free, and All entrants will receive feedback, giving them the best opportunity to hone their entry in future years and make improvements to their business.

Alongside numerous first-time entrants, this year’s list of winners includes many former entrants whose past feedback has helped them develop and enhance their business. Pippa Griffith, curator of recent winner, the Tiverton Museum of Mid-Devon Life, said: “The rewards have been fantastic. Winning two prestigious awards has really helped us to raise our profile.”

Sponsor support meant entry into the awards was free, with 16 categories to choose from, ranging from pubs, restaurants, hotels, events, attractions, activities, holiday parks and self catering holidays to awards for customer service, access, sustainable tourism and business tourism. Up to four finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until January 30 to learn whether they have won gold, silver or bronze at the awards ceremony, to be hosted for the first time at the Holiday Inn in Plymouth.

This year’s judging was the tightest ever, with winners separated by fractions in their mystery shop scores and requiring lengthy debates by judging panels, which met for more than 20 hours.

Chairman of the South West Awards Panel, Alistair Handyside, said: “This year sees a truly excellent collection of winners across the South West, with many new entrants as well as well-known established beacon businesses. The awards night promises to be a spectacular showcase of all that is best in the South West.”

Monica Read, Director of headline sponsor Source for Business, said: “The South West tourism industry should be rightly proud of the high standards in customer service, quality standards and overall visitor experience as exhibited by all the nominated businesses. Let’s hope the sun continues to shine in 2014 for our wonderful region.”

Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who co-ordinate the awards, added: “Each year sees more businesses entering, more benefits to entrants and sponsors, and tougher judging decisions. This year is no exception and I wish all entrants well and offer both congratulations and good luck to our finalists as they progress to the regional event and national finals.”

Full details can be found at www.southwesttourism


@Listings are in alphabetic order

Bed & breakfast and guest accommodation of the year – finalists@ Launceston Farm B&B, Blandford Forum, Dorset; Pendragon Country House, Davidstow, Cornwall; Pentillie Castle, St Mellion, Cornwall; The Seafood Restaurant – restaurant with rooms, Padstow, Cornwall

Highly commended @The Elmdene, Torquay, Devon; The Village Pub, Cirencester, Glos

Self catering establishment of the year – finalists@ The Big House Company, Wellington, Somerset; Greenwood Grange, Dorchester, Dorset; Headland Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall; Seahorse Apartments & Westward Living at Duckhaven Stud, Westward Ho! Devon

Highly commended@ Little White Alice, Carnmenellis, Cornwall; West Pitt Farm, Tiverton, Devon

Tourism event of the year – finalists@ Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, Salisbury, Wiltshire; Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth, Dorset; Falmouth Oyster Festival, Falmouth, Cornwall; RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day, Yeovilton, Somerset

Highly commended@ Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink, Exeter, Devon; Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Peach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Holiday park of the year – finalists@ Cofton Country Holidays, Dawlish, Devon; Gwel an Mor Resort, Portreath, Cornwall; Highlands End Holiday Park, Bridport, Dorset; Wooda Farm Holiday Park, Poughill, Cornwall

Highly commended@ Finlake Holiday Park, Chudleigh, Devon; The Park Mawgan Porth, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall; Perran Sands Holiday Park, Perranporth, Cornwall; South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park, Lytchett Minster, Dorset

Tourist information service of the year – finalists@ Dartmouth TIC, Devon; English Riviera Visitor Information Service, Devon; Lyme Regis TIC, Dorset; Poole Welcome Centre, Dorset

Highly commended@ Bodmin Visitor Information Centre, Cornwall; Ilfracombe Tourist Information Centre, Devon; Launceston TIC, Cornwall

Venue & business tourism award – finalists@ Arundell Arms Hotel, Lifton, Devon; Deer Park Country House Hotel, Weston, Devon; Dartington Hall, Dartington, Devon

Small visitor attraction of the year – finalists@ Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, Cornwall; St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre, St Austell, Cornwall; Tiverton Museum of Mid-Devon Life, Tiverton, Devon; National Trust Coleridge Cottage, Nether Stowey, Somerset

Highly commended@ National Trust Trerice, Kestle Mill, Cornwall; Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall

Tourism activity, sport & experience of the year – finalists@ Arundell Arms Hotel, Lifton, Devon; Calvert Trust Exmoor, Kentisbury, Devon; National Trust Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset; Polkerris Beach, Polkerris, Cornwall

Highly commended@ Big Zoo Animals Keeper Experience at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall, Somerset; Le Vignoble, Plymouth, Devon

Tourism superstar award for customer service – finalists@ Geoff Curtis from Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset; Dickon Allen from Montacute House, Montacute, Somerset; Christine Horsnby from Perran Sands Holiday Park, Perranporth, Cornwall; Matt Druce from Westward Living at Duckhaven Stud, Westward Ho! Devon

Taste of South West award – finalists@ Bybrook Restaurant at the Manor House, Castle Combe, Wiltshire; Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne, Dorset; The Herring, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall; River Cottage Canteen & Deli, Plymouth, Devon

Highly commended@ Juliet’s Garden Restaurant & Bar, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly; Northcote Manor Country House Hotel, Umberleigh, Devon; Porthminster Beach Cafe, St Ives, Cornwall; Tudor Farmhouse Hotel & Restaurant, Clearwell, Gloucestershire

Tourism pub of the year – finalists@ The Cornish Arms, St Merryn, Cornwall; The New Inn, Tresco, Isles of Scilly; Pandora Inn, Mylor, Cornwall; Start Bay Inn, Torcross, Devon

Highly commended@ The Inn at Cranborne, Cranborne, Dorset. The Jack in the Green, Rockbeare, Devon; The Lamb Inn, Sandford, Devon

Sustainable tourism award – finalists@ Arundell Arms Hotel, Lifton, Devon; Compton Pool Farm, Marldon, Devon; Little White Alice, Carnmenellis, Cornwall; Railholiday, St Germans, Cornwall

Highly commended@ Hedgehog Corner, Uplyme, Devon; Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon.

Large visitor attraction of the year – finalists@ The Big Sheep, Bideford, Devon; Cotehele, Saltash, Cornwall; Longleat, Warminster, Wiltshire; Trebah Garden, Mawnan Smith, Cornwall

Highly commended@ Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall; The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, Cornwall; RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon; Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon

Access for all award – finalists@ A Little Bit of Heaven, Lostwithiel, Cornwall; Calvert Trust Exmoor, Kentisbury, Devon; Countryside Mobility South West, Exeter, Devon; • Mortons House Hotel, Corfe Castle, Dorset

Highly commended@ Wingz Bird & Animal Sanctuary, Par, Cornwall

Large hotel of the year – finalists@ Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall; Headland Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall; Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Colerne, Wiltshire; The Manor House Hotel & Golf Club, Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Small hotel of the year – finalists@ Barnsley House Hotel, Cirencester, Gloucestershire; Hell Bay Hotel, Bryher, Isles of Scilly; The Old Rectory Hotel, Martinhoe, Devon; Talland Bay Hotel, Looe, Cornwall

Highly commended@ The Alverton, Truro. Cornwall; Bridge House Hotel, Beaminster, Dorset; Percy’s Country Hotel, Virginstow, Devon.

Pictured: The Red Arrows thrill the crowds at Yeovilton International Air Day, which is among the finalists for the South West Tourism Awards.

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