Cotswolds Tourism, the partnership of tourism businesses and destinations have announced winners of its 2013 Tourism Awards.
After a tough year for tourism, the Awards celebrate the energy and hard work of our area’s tourism industry, an industry that brings around £1bn pa into the local economy, direct to local communities and businesses.
In a new development, the awards have been aligned with VisitEngland’s National Awards . Cotswold Gold winners will therefore go forward for ‘best in England’ consideration.
There are awards in the following categories:- Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation, Large Hotel, Small hotel, Self Catering Holiday provider, Caravan Holiday Park/ Holiday Village, Large Visitor Attraction, Small Visitor Attraction, Tourism Experience, Tourism pub, Business Tourism Award, Visitor Information provider, Taste of England, Access for All Tourism Award, Sustainable Tourism Award.
Judging was based on visits, secret shopper reports and the views of a various experts and tourism enthusiasts who approached each category with an open mind to agree Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards. Chris Dee Tourism Manager of Cotswolds Tourism commented, “Our Cotswold tourism industry has the highest standards and we are proud of winners and all entrants. We’re exceptionally proud of our winners and wish them luck nationally”.
Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year
Gold – East House, Broadway
Silver – Whittington Lodge Farm
Bronze – Seagrave Arms
East House B&B covers the essentials of friendliness and cleanliness perfectly but has additional touches that raise it to most excellent. An optional pianola performance is available for guests and is just one addition to the unique character of East House.
Large Hotel of the Year
Gold – Montpellier Chapter
Silver – Three Ways House Hotel
Bronze – Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel
Very good hotels have a way of becoming part of the local community as well as
being a great place for visitors. Montpellier Chapter has achieved this in Cheltenham.
Small Hotel of the Year
Gold – Calcot Manor
Silver – The Lamb Inn, Burford
Bronze – The Manor House Hotel, Castle Coombe
Calcot Manor is recognised across the Cotswolds tourism industry as a terrifically well-run business. In a tough year, the hotel has remained busy through investment, careful marketing and an offer that embraces one of the country’s best spas, an OFSTED registered crèche and fine or pub dining.
Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year
Gold – Eco Chic Cottages
Silver – Barncastle
As a self catering business, EcoChic Cottages resists the idea that responsible tourism needs to be worthy or dull. The aim is to exceed customer expectations – luxury whilst treading lightly on the environment.
Caravan Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year
Gold – Cotswolds Farm Park Camp Site
Silver – Cotswolds Hoburne
Cotswolds Farm Park Camp site attracts rave reviews on campsite review websites and it’s not just the chance of meeting BBC Countryfile star Adam Henson at the neighbouring Cotswolds Farm Park. Friendliness, rare breed sausages and the special character of the 650 acre Bemborough estate are amongst reasons for the success of this great camp site set in real Cotswold country.
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
Gold – Batsford Arboretum
Silver – Cotswolds Farm Park
Bronze – Sudeley Castle
Batsford Arboretum, near Moreton in Marsh has invested in a new garden shop, plant centre and café, designed with real style to reflect the collection’s trees and shrubs from Asia. This great value attraction is a year-round Cotswold classic, whilst being respected locally for professional business planning and marketing.
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
Gold – Corinium Museum
Silver – Bourton House Garden
Bronze – Stanway House
‘Scratch Gloucestershire and find Rome’ goes the saying and Cirencester’s Corinium Museum is an absolute treasure house of Roman history in Britain. We think that our museums are one of England’s greatest assets and the Corinium Museum should be praised for the quality of its collection and presentation.
Tourism Experience of the Year
Gold – Cotswolds Olympick Games
Silver – Giffords Circus
Bronze – Lechlade Festival
The Cotswold Olympick, cited in London’s bid for the 2012 games, is a great example of a ‘genuine’ event run with pride and passion by local people. The event celebrated 400 years in 2012 and the organising committee dealt with worldwide press interest with humour and patience, whilst being delighted to see the success of the newer event (ie the Modern Olympiad) in London.
Tourism Pub of the Year
Gold – Plough at Kingham
Silver – Gloucester Old Spot
Bronze – The Mount at Stanton
This award is hotly contested – but what is a tourism pub anyway. Tourists comes to meet locals and not other visitors. and at what point does a pub with good food become just another restaurant? The Plough at Kingham is winner because local people actually go there, visitors love it and standards are high across the board. We liked the fact that restaurant bookings are ‘upstairs only’ now, there’s a proper bar and there are proper bar characters. And this is a pub with serious bar snacks and a fiendish pub quiz.
Business Tourism Award
Gold – The Barn at Calcot
Silver – The Manor House Hotel, Moreton
Bronze – Cheltenham Racecourse
The Barn at Calcot sets the standard for sophisticated business meetings and events. Simple as that.
Visitor Information Provider of the Year
Gold – Moreton-in-Marsh
Silver – Cirencester
Bronze – Gloucester
This award is based on ‘secret shopper’ results for Tourist Information Centre. Standards in the Cotswolds are extremely high and Moreton in Marsh Tourist Information Centre can therefore claim to be very, very good indeed.
Taste of England Award
Gold – Curry Corner, Cheltenham
Silver – Cotswolds Chef, Food Experiences
Bronze – Owler, Charles Martell’s local ‘Poire William’
Curry Corner is where an English institution (curry) meets the new mantra of restaurant dining... ‘local.’ Curry Corner is the oldest and most highly regarded Bangladeshi restaurant in the country. Run by the Krori family, the menu uses and highlights its local sourcing credentials – a winning formula that has won a terrific following for this neighbourhood fine-dining gem.
Access for All Tourism Award
Gold - Star Bistro – Rob Rees
Silver - Tramper (off-road mobility scooter) Hire and Trails on the Cotswold Way
Bronze – Westonbirt Arboretum
First and foremost, the Star Bistro at National Star College on The Cotswold Way is a very good restaurant indeed. Also its Access for All credentials are impeccable, whilst by and large being beneath the level of perception . A great restaurant without a whiff of being patronising to any of its customers – a model for the way forward.
Sustainable Tourism Award
Gold – Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Silver – Eco Chic Cottages
Bronze – Cotswolds Conservation Board
With over 500 active volunteers and a wider membership, the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s activities have a great, if sometimes underappreciated, impact on visitors to the area through their work in protecting habitats (meadows, lakes, woodland), opening nature reserves and programme of events. The Trust is hugely energetic with activities ranging from education in schools to its labelling its very own cheese!