bgb always give us the enthusiastic, honest advice we need
Kate Bowman, Sunday Times Travel Magazine
Enjoy England Awards For Excellence 26 April 2009
The great English ‘pub' has scooped the award for ‘outstanding contribution to tourism' at this year's Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, organised by VisitEngland and sponsored by The Caravan Club. Actor Neil Morrissey, proprietor of the restored Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn pub in Yorkshire, picked up the prestigious tourism award on behalf of all publicans at last night's award ceremony.
Previous winners of this outstanding contribution award have included Michael Eavis CBE, HM The Queen, the Harry Potter films, Sir Cameron Mackintosh and in 2007, Sir Paul McCartney and Liverpool. This year's accolade was given to pubs for the integral part they play in the fabric of the English way of life and the opportunity they provide for domestic and international visitors to meet local people and enjoy local foods and drink. Research carried out by VisitEngland has revealed that many visitors from overseas put visiting a pub very high on their list of things to do on their holiday in England. A delighted Neil Morrissey said: "I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of everyone who loves their local pub and loves visiting pubs as they travel around the country. Pubs are important. Having restored a pub myself at the centre of a village I really believe they are the heart and soul of communities and the place that should offer the best welcome to visitors. I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of publicans everywhere for the huge work they do in supporting local tourism."
The Enjoy England Awards for Excellence were held in The National Railway Museum in York, on 23 April as a celebration of St George's Day. Celebrating their 20th Anniversary, these annual tourism ‘BAFTAs' recognise the crème de la crème of domestic tourism. The eighteen gold winners in this year's awards include an eco-friendly café in Devon, London walking tours, beautifully converted medieval cottages set in an apple orchard in Herefordshire, a country B&B in Cumbria offering extraordinary castle style accommodation and a caravan park in Devon providing luxury touring facilities all year round. Lady Cobham, new VisitEngland chairman said: "The Enjoy England Awards for Excellence recognise the rising quality and diversity of holiday experiences on offer in England. On the twentieth anniversary of the awards, we are delighted that there is such a broad range of exciting, unique, high quality holiday experiences on offer in England particularly as holidaymakers are looking to take a break closer to home this year. More than ever this year, the winners showcase excellent value for money English breaks and some of England's best-kept secrets from foodie gems and quirky attractions to sustainable coffee shops and inspirational information services. England is an exciting world-class tourism destination, in which to discover something new. We are proud to honour the people behind those outstanding tourism businesses who play a vital role in encouraging visitors to holiday in England."
Director General of The Caravan Club, Trevor Watson said: "As a provider of quality accommodation ourselves, we are very proud to sponsor these awards which recognise the finest in English tourism. This sector is a true success story where we are witnessing ever-improving standards. Enjoy England Awards for Excellence nominees continually raise the bar and exceed expectations so I congratulate each and every winner for their amazing personal achievement and all the hard work these accolades represent".
Full details of all the winners are available on www.enjoyengland.com/excellence and they are:
Bed and breakfast of the year Augill Castle, South Stainmore near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria (www.stayinacastle.com; 01768 341937)
Sustainable tourism award of the year The Venus Company, Halwell, Totnes, Devon (www.venuscompany.co.uk; 01803 712648)
Hotel of the year Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon (www.gidleigh.com; 01647 432367)
Caravan holiday park of the year Hidden Valley Park, West Down, near Ilfracombe, North Devon (www.hiddenvalleypark.com; 01271 813 837)
Taste of England award The Pipe & Glass Inn, South Dalton, Beverley in East Yorkshire (www.pipeandglass.co.uk; 01430 810246)
Small visitor attraction of the year 78 Derngate: The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House and Galleries in Northampton (www.78derngate.org.uk; 01604 603407)
Large visitor attraction of the year Harewood House in Harewood, Leeds (www.harewood.org; 0113 218 1010)
Self-catering holiday of the year - was jointly awarded to Noelle's Cottages in Middleton, Pickering, North Yorkshire (www.noellescottages.co.uk; 01751 472 283) and the Woodhouse Farm Cottages in Staplow, Ledbury, Herefordshire (www.thewoodhousefarm.co.uk; 01531 640030)
Best tourism experience of the year is The London Walks (www.londonwalks.com; 020 7624 3978)
Best business tourism of the year The Rheged Centre in Penrith, Cumbria (www.rheged.com; 01768 868000)
Outstanding customer service of the year Robert Evans of the SS Great Britain Trust in Bristol (www.ssgreatbritain.org; 0117 926 0680)
Tourist Information Centre of the Year (TIC) winner is The Chesterfield Tourist Information Centre in Rykneld Square, Chesterfield (www.visitchesterfield.info; 01246 345777)
The Tourism Website of the Year winner is www.northumberlandbedandbreakfast.co.uk; the website for The Old School five-star bed and breakfast in Newton on the Moor, Northumberland (01665 575 767)
The Access for All Tourism winner is The Hytte, a Norwegian inspired, traditional timber mountain lodge near Hexham in Bingfield near Hexham, Northumberland (www.thehytte.com; 0143 4672 321)
The Journalist of the Year is Chris Haslam for his family holiday campervan series in The Sunday Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/Camper_van_man_s_tour_of_the_Br/)
Travelmail award for The Best Day Out, is The Minack Theatre in Cornwall (www.minack.com; 01736 810181)