A brace of West Dorset attractions have been named national award winners in Visit England’s annual ceremony.
Evershot’s The Acorn Inn scooped silver in the Pub of the Year category, while West Bay Discovery Centre won bronze in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award.
Just outside the district, Weymouth’s Nothe Fort won a glittering gold in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category.
Hundreds of tourism businesses across vied for a range of awards, going through to regional then the national finals. The national winners were announced at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and author Clare Balding, right.
Of The Acorn Inn, judges said it is ‘the kind of place you wish you could call your local’.
Natalie and Richard Legg are general managers at the Acorn Inn.
Natalie said: “We have been so overwhelmed since finding out that we were finalists for the Visit England award – we just do what we love to do each day, serving guests amazing food and offering friendly service and to be awarded Silver for best pub in England is unreal.
“Our staff are so happy and we couldn’t be happier for them to be recognised for their achievements.
“Especially after the last two years of incredible difficulty, it means more than ever.
“Thank you to everyone who supports us from staff, locals, guests, and suppliers, it is so appreciated.”
West Bay Discovery Centre trustee John West, who attended the prestigious awards finals event in Birmingham with his wife Sarah said: “It has been an incredible six months for the Discovery Centre with a string of award successes.
“We had no idea that we would progress from winning at the Dorset Awards through to the regional and then finally national award level.”
In their comments about the centre the judges said it has ‘one of the best accessibility guides ever read, and is an attraction which punches above its weight’.
John added: “This year it’s been great to see more visitors of all ages returning and really enjoying what the centre has to offer. We are run on a charitable basis with mostly volunteer input, so winning these awards is a big boost for everyone involved.”
New volunteers are always welcome at the centre. For information visit the centre or contact manager@ westbaydiscoverycentre.