Winners Visit England Awards for Excellence 2013

21 May 2013

The Olympic Games Makers have won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013.  The coveted accolade was one of 17 presented at a glittering ceremony hosted by the national tourist board at The Point, Lancashire County Cricket Club, in Manchester, on 20 May. These prestigious awards, currently in their 24th year, promote excellence in England’s tourism industry and celebrate the very best the country has to offer.  

The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award was awarded to the army of 70,000 Games Makers in recognition of the 9 million hours spent welcoming and assisting visitors at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer. In winning this award, they join an exclusive group of English tourism champions.  Previous winners include The English Pub, The National Trust, The Royal Shakespeare Company and last year’s winner, The English Garden.

The award was presented by former Olympic triple jump Gold Medallist, Jonathan Edwards. Four Games Makers who worked at events in both Manchester and London accepted the trophy on behalf of their fellow volunteers; also present was Nicola Sweeney from Locog, who managed the recruitment process of whittling down a quarter of a million applicants to the final 70,000 Games Makers.

VisitEngland’s Chairman, Lady Cobham, commented:

“The Games Makers were ambassadors not just for London 2012, but for the entire country. As the face of the Games, they showed great humour, grace under pressure and an amazing team spirit. The warm welcome and friendly assistance they provided will be remembered fondly by visitors from both home and abroad for many years to come, and I’m delighted that we are able to recognise their unique contribution to tourism with this award.”

Other awards announced at the ceremony in Manchester included the best Bed and Breakfast, Small Hotel, Tourism Experience, Tourism Pub of the Year, Taste of England, Sustainable Tourism, Business Tourism and Access for All Tourism Award. The 32 Gold and Silver winners were selected by a panel of tourism industry experts including VisitEngland Board Member David Orr and travel broadcaster Alison Rice. Also on the panel were two previous award winners – Nick Akerman from the Cotswold Conference Centre and Bob O’Connor from Port Lympne Safari Park.

This year’s celebrations also saw the presentation of the Tourism Superstar Award to Claire Preece, Hospitality Manager at Kents Cavern in Torquay. As part of English Tourism Week in March, VisitEngland teamed up with the Daily Mirror for a public vote to find England’s unsung tourism hero – someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty to make visitors feel extra special and is a real ambassador for tourism. Another victor was journalist Brian Jackman, who won Travel Article of the Year award for his piece, “Exmoor: Into the wild, with stags and stars” – a look at stargazing in Europe’s first ‘dark sky’ reserve.

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford, commented:

“The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence represent the highest accolade in English tourism, and this year’s winners have raised the bar higher than ever before. The awards champion the very best in quality and customer service, and continue to help to raise standards across the industry, establishing England’s place as a world-class destination and a brilliant place to visit. The competition was fierce so all our finalists are to be warmly congratulated for their success – particularly our Gold Award winners, whose passion and commitment to excellence is exemplary.”

The headline sponsor of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013 was CH2M Hill – a global engineering project management consultancy which was involved in the development of infrastructure and venues for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Other sponsors include travel trade publication TravelGBI, Manchester brewery Joseph Holt and Kent vineyard, Chapel Down.  Several of the 17 award categories are supported by individual sponsors, including Natwest (Large Hotel of the Year), Barclaycard Global Business Solutions (Business Tourism), Guestlink and Hudsons (Visitor Information Provider of the Year), the British Beer & Pub Association (Tourism Pub of the Year), Cottages4you (Self Catering Holiday of the Year), freetobook (Small Hotel of the Year), Welcome to Excellence (Small Visitor Attraction) and Quality in Tourism (B&B/Guest Accommodation of the Year).

Associated imagery for all the shortlisted businesses can be downloaded here:


Notes to Editors.

The judging panel awarded 20 Gold Awards, 12 Silver Awards and 14 Bronze Awards24 finalists were Highly Commended.

The Games Makers who collected the Outstanding Contribution Award were:

  • Marion Kennedy part of the Wayfinding Team at Stratford during the Paralympics, and an Ambassador at Old Trafford for the football during the Olympics. 
  • Trevor Pledger – Water Polo Training team at the Olympics, Swimming medal chaperone at the Paralympics.
  • Graham Jackett – part of the Workforce Operations Team at the main Olympic Stadium.
  • Linda Jackett – a member of the Accreditation Team based in the Venue Accreditation Help Offices (VAHO) on the Olympic Park.

The Gold Winners are:

Access for All Tourism Award    

Sandcastle Water Park

Blackpool, Lancashire

Bed & Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year

Alkham Court Farmhouse

South Alkham, Nr Dover, Kent

Best Tourism Experience/Event of the Year

Kielder Water & Forest Park

Newcastle, Tyne & wear

Manchester International Festival

Manchester, Greater Manchester

Business Tourism Award

ExCel London


Manchester Central

Manchester, Greater Manchester

Caravan Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year

Kelling Heath Holiday Park

Holt, Norfolk

Large Hotel of the Year

The Swan Hotel

Sudbury, Suffolk

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Beaulieu Enterprises

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Combermere Abbey Cottages

Whitchurch, Shropshire

Small Hotel of the Year

Gidleigh Park

Chagford, Devon

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Whitby, North Yorkshire

Sustainable Tourism Award

Beechenhill Farm

Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Tourism Pub of the Year

The Feathered Nest

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

Taste of England Award

Overwater Hall

Carlisle, Cumbria

Samuel’s at Swinton Park

Ripon, North Yorkshire

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Greenwich Tourist Information Centre

Greenwich, London

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Makers

Tourism Article of the Year

Brian Jackman

Tourism Superstar

Claire Preece – Kents Cavern

Torquay, Devon

Full list of VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013 winners:

Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Combermere Abbey Cottages, Whitchurch, Shropshire – Gold

Staying Cool at the Rotunda, Birmingham – Silver

Eaton Manor Country Estate, Church Stretton, Shropshire – Bronze

Bosinver Farm Cottages, St Austell, Cornwall – Highly Commended

Tottergill Farm, Brampton, Cumbria – Highly Commended

Business Tourism Award

ExCel London – Gold

Manchester Central, Manchester – Gold

Rockcliffe Hall, Darlington, Ct Durham – Silver

Arundell Arms Hotel, Lifton, Devon – Bronze

York Marriott, York, Yorkshire – Highly Commended

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby, North Yorkshire – Gold

Corinium Museum, Cirencester, Glos. – Silver

Ordsall Hall, Salford, Gt Manchester – Bronze

Washington Wetlands, Tyne and Wear – Highly Commended

Large Hotel of the Year

The Swan Hotel, Lavenham, Suffolk – Gold

Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall – Silver

The Lowry Hotel, Salford, Gt Manchester – Bronze

Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa, York, North Yorkshire – Highly Commended

Peckforton Castle, Tarporley, Cheshire – Highly Commended

Taste of England Award

Overwater Hall, Ireby, Cumbria – Gold

Samuel’s at Swinton Park, Masham, North Yorkshire – Gold

Redwell Country Inn & Restaurant, Carnforth, Lancashire – Bronze

Drewtons Ltd, Nr Beverley, East Yorkshire – Highly Commended

Blackfriars, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear – Highly Commended

Access for All Tourism Award

Sandcastle Water Park, Blackpool, Lancashire – Gold

The Science Museum, London – Silver         

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Halifax, West Yorkshire – Bronze                                      

Calvert Trust, Barnstaple, Devon – Highly Commended

One Great George Street, London – Highly Commended

Hoe Grange, Matlock, Derbyshire – Highly Commended                        

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Greenwich TIC, London Gold         

Wakefield Visitor Centre, West Yorkshire – Silver

Thanet Visitor Information Service, Margate, Kent – Bronze

Gloucester TIC, Glos –Highly Commended

Caravan and Holiday Parks

Kelling Heath Holiday Park, Holt, Norfolk – Gold         

Trethem Mill Touring Park, St Just In Roseland, Cornwall – Silver

Woodclose Park, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria – Bronze

Carr Royd Parks Ltd Sunset Park, Hambleton, Lancashire – Highly Commended

Oakdown Country Holiday Park, Sidmouth, Devon – Highly Commended

Tourism Pub of the Year

The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire – Gold

The Drunken Duck, Ambleside, Cumbria – Silver

The Yew Tree Inn, Tarporley, Cheshire – Bronze

The Millstone at Mellor, Blackburn, Lancashire – Highly Commended

Rashleigh Arms, St Austell, Cornwall – Highly Commended

Tourism Experience of the Year

Kielder Water & Forest Park, Horsley, Northumberland – Gold

Manchester International Festival, Manchester – Gold

RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day, Yeovil, Somerset – Bronze

Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, Salisbury, Wiltshire – Highly Commended

The French in York, York, North Yorkshire – Highly Commended

B&B/Guest Accommodation

Alkham Court Farmhouse, Nr Dover, Kent – Gold

Pendragon Country House, Camelford, Cornwall – Silver

The Salty Monk Restaurant with Rooms, Sidmouth, Devon – Bronze

Fern Cottage B&B, Pucklechurch, South Glos. – Highly Commended

The Bears Paw, Sandbach, Cheshire – Highly Commended

Sustainable Tourism Award

Beechenhill Farm, Ashbourne, Derbyshire – Gold

Hoe Grange, Matlock, Derbyshire – Silver    

Kelling Heath, Holt, Norfolk – Bronze            

At-Bristol Science Centre, Bristol – Highly Commended

Small Hotel of the Year

Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon – Gold

Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere, Cumbria – Silver

Northcote, Langho, Lancashire – Bronze

The Scarlet Hotel, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall – Highly Commended

Brockencote Hall, Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire – Highly Commended

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Beaulieu Enterprises, Beaulieu, Hampshire – Gold

The Roman Baths, Bath, Somerset – Silver

Cutty Sark, Greenwich, London – Bronze     

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire – Highly Commended

Tourism Superstar

Claire Preece, Kents Cavern, Torquay, Devon – Winner

Anthony Gales, Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, Beamish, Ct Durham – Runner-Up

For more information on the awards, please visit:

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Long, Head of Corporate Communications, 020 7578 1452, [email protected]

Emma White, Corporate Communications Executive, 020 7578 1471, [email protected]

About VisitEngland

  • VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors
  • Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on   

About the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013

  • The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013 celebrate the best of English tourism. They promote healthy industry competition and high standards, helping to ensure England's place as a world-class destination.
  • The 17 categories for the 2013 awards include: Access for all Tourism Award, Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year, Best Tourism Experience, Business Tourism Award, Caravan Holiday Park, Large Hotel (over 35 bedrooms), Large Visitor Attraction (over 100,000 visitors), Self Catering Holiday of the Year, Small Hotel of the Year (under 35 Bedrooms), Small Visitor Attraction (under 50,000), Sustainable Tourism Award, Taste of England Award, Tourist Information Service, Tourism Pub of the Year, Tourism SuperStar, and Travel Article of the Year.
  • Included in the 17 categories is the additional award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism. Previous winners of this award have included The Great English Pub, Michael Eavis CBE, HM The Queen, the Harry Potter films, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Sir Paul McCartney, Liverpool, The National Trust and last year the English Garden.
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