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Cream of tourism crop revealed with VisitEngland's latest Awards for Excellence

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VisitEngland has named the best Britain's tourism industry has to offer, announcing the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence.

The awards, which enter their 29th year, recognise businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is among the winners this year, with the attraction picking up the Gold Award for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, beating Blenheim Place and the Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, which picked up Silver and Bronze Awards respectively.

In the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year, the Charterhouse in London was the Gold Award winner, with County Durham's Hall Hill Farm winning Silver and the Screech Owl Sanctuary & Wildlife Park in Cornwall with Bronze.

Brighton's i360 also picked up a Gold Award, winning the category for Innovation in Tourism. The visitor attraction beat the Tyne & Wear area's Go North East transport service, which won Silver, and the English Lake District China Forum, which was the Bronze winner.

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

"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."

Latest VisitEngland statistics show that in 2017 Britons took more than 47 million holidays in England, an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year. Staycationers also spent more than £11bn (US$15.3bn, €12.6bn) in 2017 – also a 6 per cent rise on 2016. Overall tourism contributes an estimated £106bn (US$148bn, €121.1bn) to the English economy.

Below are the winners in each category for this year’s awards:

Bed & Breakfast of the Year

GOLD - Alkham Court Farmhouse, Kent

SILVER - The 25 Boutique B&B, Devon BRONZE - South Lodge Boutique B&B, Buckinghamshire

Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year

GOLD - Yorebridge House, Yorkshire

SILVER - Hever Castle & Gardens, KentBRONZE - Cary Arms & Spa “Inn on the Beach”, Devon

Business Tourism Award

GOLD - Sage Gateshead, Tyne & Wear

SILVER - Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa, CheshireBRONZE - Tewkesbury Park, Gloucestershire

Dog Friendly Business of the Year

GOLD - Wallops Wood Cottages, Hampshire

SILVER - Bulleigh Barton Manor, DevonBRONZE - Salad Days Beach Hut, Somerset

Guided Tour of the Year

GOLD - York’s Chocolate Story, Yorkshire

SILVER - World of Wedgwood, StaffordshireBRONZE - Cotswolds Distillery, Warwickshire

Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year

GOLD - Landal Gwel an Mor, Cornwall

SILVER - Seafield Caravan Park, NorthumberlandBRONZE - Polmanter Touring Park, Cornwall

Hotel of the Year

GOLD - Rudding Park, Yorkshire

SILVER - Lucknam Park, WiltshireBRONZE - Seaham Hall, County Durham

Inbound Tourism Award

GOLD - Beiwei 55°, London and Tyne & Wear

SILVER - The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Bath & North East SomersetBRONZE - The Grand Hotel & Spa, Yorkshire

Inclusive Tourism Award

GOLD - The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Bath & North East Somerset

SILVER - Mylor Sailing & Powerboat School, CornwallBRONZE - Cottage in the Dales, Yorkshire

Innovation in Tourism Award

GOLD - British Airways i360, East Sussex

SILVER - Go North East, Tyne & WearBRONZE - English Lake District China Forum, Cumbria

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

GOLD - National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire

SILVER - Blenheim Palace, OxfordshireBRONZE - Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset

New Tourism Business Award

GOLD – Stasher, London

SILVER - Ascent Trampoline Park, LancashireBRONZE - Loose Reins, Dorset

Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

GOLD - Sheepyard Barn at The Suffolk Escape, Suffolk

SILVER - The Milkshed, DevonBRONZE - The Treehouse Hotel at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, Kent

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

GOLD - the Charterhouse, London

SILVER - Hall Hill Farm, County DurhamBRONZE - Screech Owl Sanctuary & Wildlife Park, Cornwall

Sustainable Tourism Award

GOLD - Laverock Law Cottages, Northumberland

SILVER - Browsholme Hall, LancashireBRONZE - Colton House, Staffordshire

Taste of England Award

GOLD - Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park, WiltshireSILVER - Miller’s Fish and Chips, Yorkshire

BRONZE - Askham Hall, Cumbria

Tourism Pub of the Year

GOLD - The Riverside at Aymestrey, HerefordshireSILVER - The Cartford Inn, Lancashire

BRONZE - The Bruce Arms West Tanfield, Yorkshire

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

GOLD - York Visitor Information Centre, YorkshireSILVER - Oxford Visitor Information Centre, Oxfordshire

BRONZE - Liverpool Tourist Information Centre, Merseyside

Tourism Superstar

Jim O’Reilly, Red Funnel Ferries, Isle of Wight

Travel Article of the Year

Richard Mellor, The GuardianParty in the Sea - Between the Isles of Scilly

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism

Historic Royal Palaces

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VisitEngland has named the best Britain's tourism industry has to offer, announcing the winners its annual Awards for Excellence.

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