The Dorset Tourism Awards

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
a 1915 prototype tank called Little Willie

Little William – a prototype tank from 1915 © Tank Museum

At the Dorset Tourism Awards held recently, it was the Tank Museum at Bovington that scooped a lot of the awards. Not only did it win the International Visitor Experience of the Year award it also walked off with the Tourism Event and Festival of the Year award for Tankfest and was named Winner of Winners.

The Swanage Railway claimed the top award in the Big Attraction of the Year category and the small attraction award went to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth, a museum that has a very eclectic collection representing the widespread tastes of its original owner. RNLI College Tours in Poole (which is the headquarters of the RNLI) walked off with the Tourism Experience of the Year award and Moors Valley Country Park and Forest in Ashley Heath collected the Access and Inclusivity Award as well as the Sustainable Tourism Award. It was the only entrant to win more than one award on the night.

The Discover Purbeck Information Centre, in Wareham was Tourist Information Centre of the Year and Symondsbury Estate in Bridport won in the business and venue tourism category.

Bruce Grant-Braham was given a special award for an outstanding contribution to Dorset Tourism and Brenden Howard at The Grove Hotel Bournemouth was named Unsung Hero Award for Customer Service. These were the only two awards going to individuals rather than organisations.

The Hilton in Bournemouth was judged to be the Large Hotel of the Year whilst the honour for the smaller of boutique hotels went to The Kings Arms in Christchurch.  The Old Forge in Compton Abbas was Glamping Business of the Year and Wareham Forest Tourist Park won the top award in the camping, caravanning and holiday park category. The Self-Catering award went to Greenwood Grange, in Dorchester.  Dorset House in Lyme Regis was B&B of the Year.

Moving in to the food categories, the Taste Brasserie in Dorchester was the winner of the Café and Tearoom of the Year and the Anchor Inn in Seatown was Tourism Pub of the Year. The Grove Arms in Ludwell picked up an award that has become quite widespread in tourism awards up and down our countries in the last few years – that of Dog-friendly Business of the Year.

Finally the judges couldn’t decide an outright winner in the restaurant of the year category so there were two gold winners, The Eastbury in Sherborne and the Dorset Burger Company in Weymouth.


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