Published: June 9, 2022 | Updated: June 10, 2022

What a stunning result as Nothe Fort is named England’s Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

By Andrew Diprose, editor

What a brilliant success for Dorset!

A gold, silver and two bronzes for the county, no less, in the annual VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

The gold went to Weymouth’s Nothe Fort which can now proudly boast that it’s England’s Small Visitor Attraction of the Year.

Picture: VisitEngland/Simon Hadley Photography

Operated by the Weymouth Civic Society, a registered charity, the victory was nothing short of a stunning success.

A delighted James Farquharson, Chairman of Nothe Fort, pictured, collected the award at the ceremony, held at the Library of Birmingham and hosted by Clare Balding.

He thanked the people of Weymouth as well as volunteers at the historic fort, visitors and the “brilliant staff” for their contribution.

James added: “Thank you for everything that all of us have done to deliver this – the Best Small Visitor Attraction in England.”

Other Dorset successes were:

  • Pub of the Year – Silver: The Acorn Inn, Evershot.
  • Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award – Bronze: West Bay Discovery Centre.
  • Experience of the Year – Bronze: All Hallows Farmhouse Cookery School, Wimborne St Giles.

In total 17 of the gold, silver and bronze recipients came from the South West with the region outperforming all others in the awards.

The results declaration marked the end of the cycle which started in 2021 when the four Dorset businesses first entered the county’s tourism awards.

Nominations for the national awards were put forward following the South West Tourism Excellence awards in April.

The nominees then went through a further round of judging, leading to the announcement of the national winners.

Nigel Huddleston, Tourism Minister, 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, added: “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.”

The 2022/23 Dorset Tourism Awards are currently open for entry with a deadline of June 19.

Businesses are encouraged to enter, with the chance of going on to national success.

More details can be found here.