LYME Regis had two winners at the South West Tourism Awards this week.
Both the Town Mill and Dorset House bed and breakfast took home silver awards from the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay on Thursday night.
The Town Mill won the prize for the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the black-tie ceremony, while Dorset House were joint silver winners for the Bed & Breakfast category, along with Higher Gitcombe B&B in Totnes.
Town Mill Trustee and photographer, Tricia Scott, collected the award for the attraction.
She said “We are extremely proud to be bringing this award home to Lyme. Considerable efforts have been made by supporters past and present to rescue, restore and then keep the Town Mill alive.
“There is a constant drive to keep making this small visitor attraction even better, despite its limitations as a charitable organisation whose home is a group of high-maintenance, listed buildings. We are embracing change to allow us to survive and prosper, whilst honouring and valuing past contributors to the history and conservation of the mill.
“We were delighted to have been recognised for the unique experience we offer to our visitors and to win Silver is just the best way to start 2018!”
Businesses reaching new heights
This year’s awards event was hosted by BBC news presenter Victoria Graham, with an inspiring opening address by travel journalist and chairman of the Family Holiday Association, Alison Rice, who outlined the work of the charity for which more than £4,300 was raised during the evening.
Entries into the awards were seven per cent up on the year before, aided by the launch of new excellence workshops helping businesses reach new heights.
Winners were spread across the whole region from the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall in the west to Bournemouth, Dorset and Wiltshire in the east, and from Devon in the south to Somerset, Bristol, Bath and Gloucestershire in the north.
Many finalists in the awards were also nominated to represent the region in the VisitEngland awards, the finalists for which will be announced in March.
All entrants in the South West underwent a rigorous short-listing process with 416 being visited by a team of 45 mystery shoppers. Entry was free, and all entrants received feedback, giving them useful tips for future success.
Opening the event, Robin Barker of Services for Tourism, said: “We have seen a record 647 entries across the South West, and I’d like to commend you – the South West’s leading tourism businesses for your vision, investment, hard work and excellence.
“You have had the courage to put yourselves forward to be judged, have been through a 3 phase judging process, and will all be winners tonight.”