Dorset came out on top at an event to recognise the region’s top tourism businesses.

Venues, events and activities from across the county were honoured with prizes in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

Many were also nominated to represent the region in the VisitEngland awards, the finalists for which will be announced in March.

Taste Cafe on Chesil Beach won the gold award for best cafe/ tearoom and the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth picked up bronze in the event/festival category.

Brian Cooper, director of Dorset Seafood Festival Ltd said the event, now in its 10th year, won joint gold at the Dorset Tourism Awards in November. He added: “To now win bronze at the South West Tourism Awards considering the tough competition across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Bristol in the icing on the cake. These awards provide a very high profile platform for us to continue to market the festival, Dorset and indeed Weymouth Harbour.”

Louise and Todd Moffat, owners of Taste Cafe, said they were thrilled to receive the award.

“It is such a great achievement for all the team. All their hard work has paid off and the trophy is delightful. It will be a good talking point for all our visitors, when it is on show.”

Lyme Regis was well represented, with the Town Mill winning silver for best small attraction and Dorset House being awarded silver in the bed and breakfast category.

There were also special awards for the South West Coast Path Association and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, which shared an award with all protected landscapes in the south west, including the Dorset AONB.

Sam Rose, chief executive of the Jurassic Coast Trust, the charity which looks after the World Heritage Site, said: “This award is fantastic recognition for the role our nature and landscapes play in helping to keep the South West a beautiful place with a thriving tourism economy.

“The huge value of nature is often overlooked as these landscapes are ‘free to enter’, yet they are so often the reasons why people choose to visit, live and work here, so are major drivers in the economy.

“As relative newcomers, the Jurassic Coast Trust are privileged to share in the award and to be seen as part of such an incredible group of natural spaces.”

Organisers said entries were up by seven per cent this year.

The awards ceremony was held in the Arena at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay, and was hosted by BBC news presenter Victoria Graham.

Winners in West, South and North Dorset and Purbeck:

* Active and sporting experience: Loose Reins, Shillingstone (Gold)

* Bed and breakfast: Dorset House, Lyme Regis (Silver)

* Café /tearoom: Taste Café at Chesil Beach (Gold)

* Dog friendly business: Golden Acre Holiday Bungalows, Eype (Bronze)

* Glamping and alternative accommodation: Loose Reins (Bronze)

* Small boutique hotel: The Grange at Oborne, Sherborne (Silver)

* Tourism event/festival: Sherborne Abbey Festival (Silver), Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth (Bronze)

* Tourism pub: Acorn Inn, Evershot (Silver)

* Visitor information service: Swanage TIC (Gold)

* International visitor experience: The South West Coast Path Association (Gold)

* Outstanding contribution to tourism: South West protected landscapes

* Small attraction: Town Mill, Lyme Regis (Silver)

* Spa and wellbeing experience: Mellulah Therapy and Yoga Retreats, Milborne Abbas (Silver)