FINALISTS have been announced for this year's Dorset Tourism Awards which have seen a record-breaking amount of entries for 2017.

Businesses in west Dorset and Purbeck are well represented in the awards – with Monkey World nominated in three categories including the coveted large attraction of the year award.

It's also good news for Lyme Regis – the Town Mill and Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant are both nominated in two categories.

The Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth, which celebrated its 10th year in style this year with huge crowds, is up for event of the year.

Dorset’s leading tourism businesses and individuals have been announced prior to this year’s ceremony at The Lighthouse, Poole on November 16.

This year’s awards have seen a 15 per cent increase in entries and an ever-closer competition between leading providers across Dorset tourism’s industry.

Entrants went through a three-stage judging process, taking into account websites, reviews, social media and more than 90 visits by judges to businesses. All evidence was then presented to an independent judging panel.

This year’s awards saw an increased 123 entries across 23 categories, with a new category this year for Guided Tours and the former Experience category split into three.

Nick Fernyhough of headline sponsors Saffery Champness said: “We are delighted to see the high number of entries received for the Dorset Tourism Awards this year and the particularly high quality of applications. The awards are helping to raise not only the profile of Dorset but also to raise the quality of the Dorset visitor experience.

“We are delighted to be the headline sponsor for the fifth consecutive year and look forward to the awards evening.”

Robin Barker of Services for Tourism, who created and manage the awards, said: “It is so rewarding to see the increase in entries and also the further raising of standards across the county. Judging this year has been tougher than ever, with evidence of excellence from businesses that are investing significantly in their facilities and people.”

Successful businesses in the awards will automatically be considered for matching categories in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2018 with the chance to go on to represent Dorset at the National VisitEngland Awards later in the year.


Access and Inclusivity Award

BOD Bournemouth, Bournemouth

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

Active and Sporting Experience of the Year

Go Ape Moors Valley, Ashley Heath

Loose Reins, Blandford

Highly Commended

RockReef and PierZip on Bournemouth Pier

Artistic, Cultural and Learning Experience of the Year

All Hallows Farmhouse - Cookery School, Wimborne St Giles

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Bed and Breakfast of the Year

Dorset House, Lyme Regis

Home Farm House, Wimborne St Giles

The Balincourt, Bournemouth

Highly Commended

Swallows Rest B & B, Weymouth

Café/Tearoom of the Year

Aroma Cafe Bridport, Bridport

Taste Cafe at Chesil Beach, Weymouth

Worth Matravers Tea & Supper Room, Swanage

Highly Commended

Seasons Kitchen & Coffee Barn, Ashley Heath

Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year

Higher Moor Farm, Weymouth

Longthorns, Wareham

Shamba Holidays, St Leonards

Dog Friendly Business of the Year

Golden Acre Holiday Bungalows, Bridport

Lancombe Country Cottages & Lodges, Dorchester

Upton Country Park

Glamping Business and Alternative Accommodation of the Year

Bloomfield Camping, Blandford

Bournemouth Beach Lodges

Loose Reins, Blandford

Guided Tour of the Year

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

RNLI College, Poole

The Town Mill, Lyme Regis

Holiday Park of the Year

Highlands End Holiday Park, Bridport

Rockley Park, Poole

Large Attraction of the Year

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Swanage Railway

The Tank Museum

Large Hotel of the Year

Christchurch Harbour Hotel, Christchurch

Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

RNLI College, Poole

Outstanding Contribution to Dorset Tourism

Announced on the night

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Announced on the night

Restaurant/Bistro of the Year

Guildhall Tavern, Poole

Seasons at the Eastbury, Sherborne

The Dorset Burger Company, Weymouth

Self Catering Business of the Year

Greenwood Grange, Dorchester

Lancombe Country Cottages & Lodges, Dorchester

Small Attraction of the Year

Compton Acres, Poole

Sandworld Weymouth

The Town Mill, Lyme Regis

Small/Boutique Hotel of the Year

Green House Hotel, Bournemouth

Summer Lodge Hotel, Dorchester

The Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant, Lyme Regis

The Grange at Oborne, Sherborne

The Orchid Hotel, Bournemouth

Spa and Wellbeing Experience of the Year

La Vie Spa, Portland

Mellullah Therapy & Yoga Retreats, Milton Abbas

Sustainable Tourism Award

Bagwell Farm Touring Park, Weymouth

Bloomfield Camping, Blandford

The Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant, Lyme Regis

Tourism Event/Festival of the Year

Great Dorset Chilli Festival

Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth

Sherborne Abbey Festival

The Original Shake & Stir Vintage Festival, Bournemouth

Tourism Pub of the Year

Acorn Inn, Dorchester

The Inn at Cranborne, Cranborne

Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Burton Bradstock

Venue and Business Tourism Award

The Italian Villa, Poole

Upton Country Park

Visitor Information Service of the Year

Bridport Tourist Information Centre

Discover Purbeck Information Centre, Wareham

Swanage Information Centre

Winner of Winners

Announced on the night