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Attractions which make the glorious Cotswolds pure gold
DOUBLE TRIUMPH: Lauren O’Hara, owner of East House, Broadway, which has won AA Best Guest House Accommodation in England 2012/13, as well as Cotswold Tourism gold award for best accommodation.
WELL-known attractions, hotels and pubs have enjoyed a clean sweep in the 2013 Cotswold Tourism awards.
In what has been a tough year for tourism, the awards celebrate the energy and hard work of the tourism industry in the Cotswolds, which brings about £1bn into the local economy every year.
Among the winners were luxury B&B East House in Broadway, which scooped gold for Bed and Breakfast and Guest Accommodation of the Year.
Lauren O’Hara, who took over the High Street business nearly three years ago after working in a bank in London, said she was delighted with the award.
“It’s a nice achievement,” she said. “I’m very pleased. To go from banking to a B&B was quite a change.”
Batsford Arboretum, near Moreton, was voted the Best Large Visitor Attraction after being awarded the silver in 2012.
Susie Hunt, Batsford’s PR and marketing manager, said everyone was thrilled.
“The £2 million investment in the new visitor centre was a very brave decision to make at such a challenging time for tourism,” she said.
“It has helped to weatherproof the business and vastly improve both accessibility and the visitor experience.
“The news has given staff a real boost and we’re going into 2013 full of confidence and optimism about the year ahead.”
Popular attraction the Cotswold Farm Park at Guiting Power scooped two awards, a silver for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year and gold for Caravan Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year.
The Cotswold Olimpicks, also known as the Robert Dovers Games, won gold for Tourism Experience of the Year.
Chairman Graham Greenall said the award was the icing on the cake for them in what had been a memorable 400th anniversary year for the historic event.
The committee recently won an Oldie award for ‘Keeping up tradition’ at a ceremony in London.
“It’s just recognition of the hard work the committee has put into it,” he said.
“We can’t necessarily improve it next year but we can certainly maintain the standard. It was very much a team effort.”
Gold was also awarded to The Plough, in Kingham, for Tourism Pub of the Year.
Emily Watkins, who has run the pub for five-and-ahalf years with her husband, Miles Lampson, said they were chuffed to have won.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” she said. “I thought what they said about us was really nice.
Hopefully, it’s a good start to the new year.”
Cotswold District Council was also celebrating after the Moreton Area Centre was awarded gold for being the Visitor Information Provider of the Year.
It will now be entered in the National Visit England awards.
Councillor Barry Gibbs, cabinet member for customer services, said: “I would like to thank all the staff who have worked so hard to gain this recognition – they are a real credit to the council and deserve praise for their very positive ‘can do’ attitude.”
Judging was based on visits, secret shopper reports and the views of experts and tourism enthusiasts.
Chris Dee, tourism manager of Cotswolds Tourism, said: “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.”
Cotswold gold winners will now go forward in the Visit England’s National Awards for ‘best in England.’
Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year Gold – East House, Broadway Silver – Whittington Farm Lodge Bronze – Seagrave Arms, Weston-sub-Edge
Large Hotel of the Year Gold – Montpellier Chapter Silver – Three Ways House Hotel, Mickleton Bronze – Cotswold Four Pillars
Small Hotel of the Year Gold – Calcot Manor Silver – The Lamb Inn, Burford Bronze – The Manor House Hotel, Castle Coombe
Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year Gold – Eco Chic Cottages Silver – Barncastle
Caravan Holiday Park/ Holiday Village of the Year Gold – Cotswolds Farm Park Camp Site Silver – Cotswolds Hoburne
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Gold – Batsford Arboretum Silver – Cotswold Farm Park Bronze – Sudeley Castle
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Gold – Corinium Museum Silver – Bourton House Garden, Bourton-on-the-Hill Bronze – Stanway House
Tourism Experience of the Year Gold – Cotswolds Olympick Games Silver – Giffords Circus Bronze – Lechlade Festival
Festival Tourism Pub of the Year Gold – Plough at Kingham Silver – Gloucester Old Spot Bronze – The Mount at Stanton
Business Tourism Award Gold – The Barn at Calcot Silver – The Manor House Hotel, Moreton Bronze – Cheltenham Racecourse
Visitor Information Provider of the Year Gold – Moreton-in-Marsh Silver – Cirencester Bronze – Gloucester
Taste of England Award Gold – Curry Corner, Cheltenham Silver – Cotswolds Chef, Food Experiences – Rob Rees Bronze – Owler, Charles Martell’s local ‘Poire William’
Access for All Tourism Award Gold - Star Bistro Silver - Tramper (off-road mobility scooter) Hire and Trails on the Cotswold Way Bronze – Westonbirt Arboretum
Sustainable Tourism Award Gold – Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Silver – Eco Chic Cottages Bronze – Cotswolds Conservation Board (Gaining European Charter for Sustainable Tourism)