Awards

Published: April 25, 2021 | Updated: April 26, 2021

Gold rush! Seven of our finest take first place at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards

Nothe Fort in Weymouth, named Small Visitor Attraction of the Year in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Seven Dorset businesses struck gold in this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards capturing more than a quarter of the available top honours.

They were:  

  • Dorset House B&B, Lyme Regis (B&B and Guest House of the Year)
  • Picnic Park Deli, Bournemouth (Cafe/Tearoom of the Year)
  • South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park (Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year)
  • Jurassic Coast Guides (Experience of the Year)
  • Al Molo, Weymouth (Restaurant of the Year)
  • Nothe Fort, Weymouth (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year)
  • White Star Running – Run Jurassic 2019 (Tourism Event/Festival of the Year)

Sponsored by South West Water, the awards were presented online with three hour-long sessions.

Winners came from Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath, Devon and Cornwall.

Accommodation, food and drink, attractions, events and experiences all had their successes, along with those recognised for innovation, new businesses, sustainable tourism and accessibility.

Twenty five – including the seven from Dorset – took the top gold accolade.

Robin Barker, pictured left, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, which manage the awards, said: “I feel honoured to have been involved in the awards over the past year and the last decade.

“Of all the years, this has been the one that has generated the most challenges as well as the most emotions.

“We are so gratified to have played our part in giving our outstanding businesses something to celebrate.

“They are all so deserving.”

Co-organiser Nell Barrington added: “I have been really humbled to hear stories from these amazing tourism and hospitality businesses about how they have overcome adversity in these terrible times.

“It has been great to be able to celebrate their success and I hope they have a fantastic season.

“Congratulations to them all.”

The successful Dorset finalists were:

1. ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE TOURISM AWARD, sponsored by South West Tourism Alliance.

 Commended

  • HolidayInDorset – Birchcroft

2. B&B AND GUESTHOUSE OF THE YEAR sponsored by Lovegrove Essentials.

 Gold

  • Dorset House B&B, Lyme Regis

Silver

  • St John’s Guest House, Weymouth

 3. BUSINESS EVENTS & WEDDING VENUE OF THE YEAR sponsored by Clockwork Marketing.

Bronze

  • Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

Commended

  • Upton Country Park

4. CAFÉ/TEAROOM OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Owens Coffee.

Gold

  • Picnic Park Deli, Bournemouth

5. CAMPING AND CARAVANNING PARK OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Vickery Holman.

Gold

  • South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park

6. CASUAL DINING AWARD, sponsored by Plymouth Business School.

Bronze

  • Fish ‘n’ Fritz, Weymouth

7. DOG FRIENDLY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Forthglade.

Commended

  • Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth.

8. ETHICAL, RESPONSIBLE & SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARD, sponsored by South West Water.

Commended

  • Pause Cat Café, Bournemouth.

9. EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR (ACTIVE OR LEARNING) sponsored by VisitBath.

Gold

  • Jurassic Coast Guides

Silver

  • Shore Campers – Campervan Hire

 Commended

  • Fore / Adventure, Studland

10. GLAMPING BUSINESS OF THE YEAR sponsored by Anytime Booking.

Bronze

  • Farmstead Glamping, Sturminster Newton

Commended

  • Dorset Forest Garden Glamping, Beaminster

11. LARGE HOTEL OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Hotel Perfect.

Commended

  • Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

12. LARGE VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Worldpay.

Silver

  • The Tank Museum, Bovington

13. NEW TOURISM BUSINESS AWARD sponsored by Soundview.

Bronze

  • The Cross Keys, Sherborne

14. RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR, sponsored by St Austell Brewery.

Gold

  • Al Molo, Weymouth

Bronze

  • Moose Kitchen, Bournemouth

15. SMALL VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Pear Communications.

Gold

  • Nothe Fort, Weymouth

Silver

  • Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington

16. TOURISM EVENT/FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Met Office.

Gold

  • White Star Running – Run Jurassic 2019

Silver

  • Sculpture by the Lakes – Dorset Arts Festival 2020

17. TOURISM INNOVATION AWARD, sponsored by Quality in Tourism.

Commended

  • The Grange at Oborne, Sherborne

In addition, the Outstanding Contribution to South West Tourism, sponsored by Bristol Airport, went to the Great South West Tourism Partnership Group.

It is formed of organisations from a range of backgrounds including commercial and not-for-profit business, local authorities and business improvement districts across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.