Hospitality & Tourism

Published: April 10, 2022 | Updated: April 11, 2022

Gold rush! Five businesses & attractions named winners in tourism awards for the south west

Weymouth’s Nothe Fort which was named as the South West’s Small Visitor Attraction of the Year.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

They’re the toast of Dorset after striking gold in this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

Held last night at a celebratory black tie dinner at Exeter’s Sandy Park, no fewer than five businesses and attractions bagged the top prizes in their categories.

They were:

  • Picnic Park Deli, Bournemouth (Cafe/Tearoom of the Year).
  • Monkton Wyld Holiday Park, Charmouth (Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year).
  • West Bay Discovery Centre, West Bay (Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award).
  • Highlands End Holiday Park, Eype (Holiday Park of the Year).
  • Nothe Fort, Weymouth (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year).

Dorset also received 14 silver and bronze awards.

This year’s awards saw 90 finalists drawn from 476 entries in the region which also covers Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

It was the first time they’ve been held in person since February 2020.

More than 70 judges spent months poring over entry submissions, websites, social media and review sites, as well as carrying out business visits, many of them mystery visits.

Reports and recommendations were then submitted to an independent panel which made the final decisions.

Picnic Park Deli in Bournemouth.

Some of the finalists are expected to represent the South West in the national VisitEngland awards later in the year.

The full results for the Dorset finalists in the 2021/22 South West Tourism Excellence Awards were:

  • B&B AND GUESTHOUSE OF THE YEAR

Bronze: St John’s Guest House, Weymouth

  • BUSINESS EVENTS & WEDDING VENUE OF THE YEAR

Silver: Highcliffe Castle.

Bronze: Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

  • CAFÉ/TEAROOM OF THE YEAR

Gold: Picnic Park Deli, Bournemouth

  • CAMPING AND CARAVANNING PARK OF THE YEAR

Gold: Monkton Wyld Holiday Park, Charmouth.

Bronze: South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park, Lytchett Minster

  • ETHICAL, RESPONSIBLE & SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARD

Gold: West Bay Discovery Centre, West Bay.

Bronze: Dorset Forest Garden Glamping, Beaminster.

  • EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR (ACTIVE OR LEARNING)

Silver: All Hallows Farmhouse Cookery School, Wimborne St Giles.

Bronze: Jurassic Coast Guides

  • HOLIDAY PARK OF THE YEAR

Gold: Highlands End Holiday Park

Silver: Golden Cap Holiday Park, Seatown.

  • LARGE HOTEL OF THE YEAR

Bronze: Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

  • LARGE VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Silver: Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Bronze: Dorset Museum

  • SMALL VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Gold: Nothe Fort

  • NEW TOURISM BUSINESS AWARD

Silver: Carey’s Secret Garden, Wareham

  • PUB OF THE YEAR

Silver: The Acorn Inn, Evershot

  • TOURISM EVENT/FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR

Bronze: FORM – The Sculpture Exhibition: Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington Lakes near Dorchester

  • UNSUNG HERO AWARD

Christine Hughes, Moors Valley Country Park & Forest, was one of four finalists.