Hospitality & Tourism

County triumphs at tourism excellence awards with family favourite turning silver into Gold

Claire Howitt, Accounts and Finance Manager, and Charlie Howlett, Quality Operations Manager, with the Farmer Palmer's Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: March 26, 2023 | Updated: 26th March 2023

What a way to celebrate your 25th anniversary!

Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park turned silver into Gold after being named Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

The family favourite, founded in 1998, was among several Gold winners from Dorset at the ceremony held at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

The Business Events Venue category was a clean sweep for the county.

Lighthouse Poole was awarded Gold, Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel won Silver and Dorset Museum received the Bronze award.

In total, the county picked up six Golds, six Silvers, eight Bronzes and three commendations.

Mary Pidgley, of Ferndown’s Birchcroft – Hideaway, also won an Unsung Heroes award.

More than 300 winners, supporters and tourism leaders celebrated the region’s tourism achievements with 90 awards presented.

A total of 482 entries were submitted from across the region including Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Many had already won in their own county schemes including the Dorset Tourism Awards.

Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, which manages the awards, said: “What a delight to be in the company of the region’s best and at one of our most iconic venues.

“The conversations and celebrations were a real joy – I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

Co-Director Nell Barrington added: “It was fantastic to see so much happiness and celebration among the best businesses in South West England after another difficult year for hospitality and tourism.”

Headline sponsor for this year’s awards was South West Water.

The Dorset award-winners were:

ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE TOURISM AWARD

Bronze: Dorset Museum

B&B AND GUESTHOUSE OF THE YEAR

Gold: Brunswick Bed and Breakfast, Weymouth

BUSINESS EVENTS VENUE OF THE YEAR

Gold: Lighthouse Poole
Silver: Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth
Bronze: Dorset Museum

CAFÉ AND TEAROOM OF THE YEAR

Silver: Picnic Park Deli, Bournemouth
Bronze: Taste Café at Dorset Museum
Commended: Seasons Kitchen & Coffee Barn, Moors Valley

CAMPING AND CARAVANNING PARK OF THE YEAR

Silver: Monkton Wyld Holiday Park
Commended: Longthorns Farm, Wareham

CASUAL DINING AWARD

Gold: Renoufs Cheese and Wine Bar (Wimborne)
Commended: The Dorset Burger Company, Weymouth

ETHICAL, RESPONSIBLE & SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARD

Silver: The Grange at Oborne, Sherborne

EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR

Bronze: Get Lost Powerboat Training, Poole

HOLIDAY PARK OF THE YEAR

Bronze: Durdle Door Holiday Park

LARGE VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Gold: Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park, Organford

RESILIENCE AND INNOVATION AWARD

Gold: Bagwell Farm Touring Park
Bronze: Lighthouse Poole

SMALL HOTEL OF THE YEAR

Silver: Captain’s Club Hotel
Bronze: The PIG on the Beach

SMALL VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Silver: Museum of East Dorset, Wimborne

TOURISM EVENT/FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR

Gold: Inside Out Dorset 2021 – Activate Performing Arts
Bronze: Sherborne Abbey Festival 2022

UNSUNG HERO AWARD

Winner: Mary Pidgley, Birchcroft – Hideaway

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