Historic attraction the Nothe Fort in Weymouth is among four Dorset businesses up for a prestigious national award.

VisitEngland announced its Awards for Excellence 2022 finalists across 15 categories and featured a handful of Dorset’s hospitality and tourism businesses.

Applications for the nationally recognised awards were put forward for judging with finalists chosen following a rigorous judging process and handpicked by tourism industry experts.

Dorset’s four finalists are West Bay Discovery Centre (Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award), All Hallows’ Farmhouse Cookery School in Wimborne (Experience of the Year), The Acorn Inn in Evershot (Pub of the Year) and Nothe Fort in Weymouth (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year).

VisitEngland Chief Executive Patricia Yates said the awards were designed to champion the very best of English hospitality and added: “These awards celebrate the businesses and individuals in tourism across England who have delivered excellence during the last year and it is fantastic to see such an outstanding list of finalists.

“The impressive list reflects the sheer scale of innovation, quality and experiences across England’s tourism industry and I congratulate all the finalists and wish them the very best of luck.

“Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism and this year’s awards are also a timely opportunity to acknowledge the determination and dedication of tourism businesses as they rebuild, and continue to champion best practice and customer service excellence, providing visitors with a stand-out experience.”

The announcement comes less than a month after five Dorset businesses struck gold at the regional South West Tourism Awards. Two of the organisations that scooped gold have made VisitEngland’s national shortlist with West Bay Discovery Centre and Nothe Fort hoping to replicate their success.

Speaking at the time, Discovery Centre trustee John West, said sustainability was at the heart of the organisation: “Care for the environment and promoting sustainability has and will always be central to what we do, so this award means a lot to us.

“We aim to have a low impact on the environment by buying sustainable and locally produced merchandise, recycling our waste, and promoting local beach cleans.”

Winners for the national awards will be announced on June 8.