VisitEngland reveals Awards for Excellence winners

VisitEngland has revealed the cream of England’s tourism industry, announcing the winners of its Awards for Excellence for 2018.

The prestigious awards, now in their 29th year, recognise, congratulate and celebrate businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

The 21 winners, announced at an event hosted by Kirstie Allsopp at the Bath Assembly Rooms, range from Afternoon Tea of the Year to Tourism Pub of the Year, from Dog-Friendly Business of the Year to Visitor Information Provider of the Year.

The winners were selected from hundreds of submissions including accommodation businesses, attractions, food establishments and guided tour operators, spanning the length and breadth of England from Cornwall to Yorkshire, from Kent to Suffolk, Somerset to Tyne & Wear.

Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year was Yorebridge House, Yorkshire, pictured.

VisitEngland Chief Executive, Sally Balcombe said, “These awards shine a spotlight on our fantastic tourism industry with the winners showcasing the quality, innovation and excellence on offer throughout the country.

“From an outstanding boutique hotel in the Dales to a tour of York’s chocolate-making history, from pine holiday lodges on the sandy beaches of Cornwall to a quintessentially English country-pub in Hertfordshire, these winners provide outstanding and truly memorable visitor experiences.”

In addition to the winners across 18 categories, there were three special awards: Outstanding Contribution to Tourism awarded to Historic Royal Palaces, Tourism Superstar winner Jim O’Reilly following a public vote and Travel Article of the Year awarded to journalist Richard Mellor.

Historic Royal Palaces received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism in recognition of the powerful draw the royal palaces have on domestic and international visitors. VisitEngland’s Annual Attraction Survey found that in 2016 there was a seven percent increase in the number of visitors to historic houses and castles compared to the previous year.

The Tourism Superstar competition, run with the Daily Mirror, was this year won by Jim O'Reilly, a customer service adviser with Red Funnel Ferries. Nigel Thompson, the Daily Mirror’s Travel Editor, presented the accolade.

Richard Mellor is the winner of the Travel Article of the Year 2018 award for his piece in The Guardian titled Party in the Sea – Between the Isles of Scilly. This citation recognises the important contribution of the media in shaping domestic tourism.

Latest VisitEngland statistics show that in 2017 Brits took more than 47 million holidays in England, up 6% on the previous year. Brits spent more than £11bn on domestic staycations in 2017, also up 6% on 2016.

Tourism in England contributes £106bn to the economy.

For the full list of winners go to the Awards Winner tab in the right hand column on the home page here at