England’s best places to eat, sleep and visit in 2023 named in prestigious annual awards


England’s best places to stay, its standout restaurants and its most unbeatable tourist attractions have been named in the 2023 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

The finalists were selected from hundreds of tourism businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, glamping operators, pubs and museums. Judges narrowed it down to 16 overall winners, which were announced during an awards ceremony at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter on June 8, hosted by hotel inspector Alex Polizzi.

The awards, which have been running for more than 30 years, are said to ‘celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer’.

Scroll down to see the retreats, restaurants and more that have scooped prizes…

Large Hotel of the Year Award – Titanic Hotel Liverpool, Merseyside 

The winners of the 2023 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence have been revealed. This year, the Large Hotel of the Year Award goes to Titanic Hotel Liverpool

The winners of the 2023 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence have been revealed. This year, the Large Hotel of the Year Award goes to Titanic Hotel Liverpool 

This ‘elegant’ four-star hotel is set within one of Liverpool’s ‘most iconic’ areas – Stanley Dock.

VisitEngland says: ‘Offering 153 spacious rooms, the Titanic keeps true to the architecture of the original Victorian warehouse [it occupies], with exposed brickwork, steel columns and original windows.’ 

A highlight is the spa offering, the tourist board notes, saying: ‘Underground, guests can find the serene Maya Blue Wellness sanctuary, which contains a hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, foot bath, experience showers and a relaxation area.’ Visit titanichotelliverpool.com.

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire

Above is the Potions Classroom set at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, which has earned the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award

Above is the Potions Classroom set at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, which has earned the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award

VisitEngland says that this fantastical attraction ‘preserves the legacy of Harry Potter for the public, allowing fans to discover the magic behind the making of the movies’. 

It reveals: ‘Guests can discover the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall, explore the Forbidden Forest, board the original Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 and three quarters and set foot in Gringotts Wizarding Bank, all before wandering down Diagon Alley.’

According to the tourist board, miniature film sets, ‘wand magic classes’ and special exhibitions ‘make it a must-see experience for Potterheads of all ages’. Visit wbstudiotour.co.uk

Pub of the Year – The Blind Bull, Little Hucklowm, Derbyshire 

The Blind Bull in Derbyshire serves a range of traditional real ales and dishes cooked over an open fire. It's been named Pub of the Year

The Blind Bull in Derbyshire serves a range of traditional real ales and dishes cooked over an open fire. It’s been named Pub of the Year

‘Situated in the heart of the Peak District, The Blind Bull inhabits the site of Britain’s fifth-oldest public house,’ VisitEngland reveals.

It says that the 12th-century inn ‘has been restored to its former glory with a dining space and tap room, along with five bedrooms and a standalone cottage for overnight stays’.

The tourist board notes: ‘The Blind Bull serves a range of traditional real ales, classic wines and modern cocktails, as well as dishes using locally sourced ingredients cooked over an open fire.’ Visit theblindbull.co.uk.

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year – The Quiet Site, Cumbria 

The Quiet Site is a family-run, carbon-neutral holiday park overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District, VisitEngland reveals.

It says: ‘The site has been operating for 60 years, and offers a range of accommodation options, from tent and caravan pitches to camping and glamping pods, all with sustainability at the heart.’

The tourist board says that the newest addition to the site is a series of ‘gingerbread houses’ that come complete with their own underground heat source. It adds that the site’s Glamping Burrows, also known as ‘Hobbit Holes’, ‘make for a memorable, film-inspired stay’. Visit thequietsite.co.uk

Taste of England Award – Pensons Restaurant at the Netherwood Estate, Worcestershire

The flavour-led menus change weekly at Worcestershire's Pensons Restaurant, the recipient of the Taste of England Award

The flavour-led menus change weekly at Worcestershire’s Pensons Restaurant, the recipient of the Taste of England Award

This Michelin-starred restaurant is ‘completely committed to finding sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to serve delicious food’.

VistEngland notes that ‘the flavour-led menus change weekly and sometimes even daily, depending on the fresh ingredients available’.

Leave room in your diary – this autumn, well-known Herefordshire forager Liz Knight will be leading a half-day Autumn Woodland Forage session to ‘discover the delights of wild food, ending with a three-course vegetarian lunch at Pensons restaurant’, the tourist board reveals. Visit pensons.co.uk

Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year Award – Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages, Northumberland

This holiday rental site in the Northumberland National Park is said to ‘offer an off-grid break with home comforts’.

VisitEngland says: ‘The holiday cottages’ remote location offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, including taking in the area’s famous dark skies. The business is committed to sustainable practices with initiatives including generating enough renewable energy to power the whole estate, protecting wildlife habitats and supporting local businesses.’

As well as the bespoke holiday cottages, guests can stay in a converted barn or in a historic Georgian townhouse. Visit kidlandlee.co.uk.

B&B and Guest House of the Year – Piglets Boutique B&B, Essex

Guests can take a hike through the rural countryside during their stay at the Piglets Boutique B&B in Essex, which is the B&B and Guest House of the Year

Guests can take a hike through the rural countryside during their stay at the Piglets Boutique B&B in Essex, which is the B&B and Guest House of the Year

Piglets Boutique B&B is an ‘upmarket adults-only Essex hideaway offering a bar and gin library, al fresco dining in summer and a cold-water swimming pool and sauna’.

VisitEngland says that the bed and breakfast’s five guest rooms ‘each offer a super-king bed, large smart flat-screen TV and complimentary refreshments including tea, coffee and homemade cookies’.

It adds: ‘Guests can take a hike through the rural countryside or drive down the lanes to visit nearby castles and historic houses.’ Visit piglets.co.uk

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award – Pure Outdoor, Derbyshire

‘To educate and inspire through adventure’ is the mantra for Pure Outdoor, the outdoor activity centre in the heart of the Peak District National Park’s Hope Valley, VisitEngland reveals.

It says: ‘Benefitting from the unrivalled natural facilities of the surrounding hills and mountains, hillwalking, climbing, caving, and mountain biking are all on the agenda and guided by experienced instructors.’

The tourist board notes that the team is devoted to being eco-conscious and is donating the equivalent of five per cent of annual revenues to social and environmental causes. Visit pureoutdoor.co.uk

Experience of the Year – Grey Seal and Seabird Cruise, Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Northumberland

Go birdwatching off the coast of the Farne Islands on the Grey Seal and Seabird Cruise, which is the Experience of the Year

Go birdwatching off the coast of the Farne Islands on the Grey Seal and Seabird Cruise, which is the Experience of the Year

This cruise takes travellers off the coast of the Farne Islands, which are ‘home to many different sea birds including puffin eider, razorbill, along with common grey seals for their mating season in the autumn and winter’.

It’s not the only noteworthy cruise offered by Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, VisitEngland reveals – it also offers sunset cruises and visits to the nearby Holy Island. Visit farneislandstours.co.uk

New Tourism Business of the Year – Thorington Theatre, Suffolk

Detailing this prize-winning attraction, VisitEngland says: ‘From bomb crater to theatre, Thorington Theatre is a new open-air venue which has been built in a WWII bomb crater in Suffolk woodland.’

It continues: ‘The 350-seat entirely wooden amphitheatre was constructed with sustainably coppiced chestnut trees from the immediate woodland. It has been constructed with the smallest possible carbon footprint, and Thorington Theatre’s ethos is to be as sustainable as possible in every aspect of the running of the theatre from the local suppliers to the composting loos.’

The theatre is said to welcome a variety of theatre troupes, actors, comedians, and musicians throughout the summer months. Visit thoringtontheatre.co.uk

VISIT ENGLAND AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE 2023 WINNERS

LARGE HOTEL OF THE YEAR

Gold – Titanic Hotel Liverpool, Merseyside 

Silver – Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Wiltshire 

Bronze – Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort, County Durham 

B&B AND GUEST HOUSE OF THE YEAR

Gold – Piglets Boutique B&B, Essex 

Silver – Cedar Manor, Cumbria 

Bronze – Sunnyside Guest House, Merseyside 

CAMPING, GLAMPING AND HOLIDAY PARK OF THE YEAR

Gold – The Quiet Site, Cumbria 

Silver – Brook Meadow, Leicestershire 

Bronze – Hendra Holiday Park, Cornwall

BUSINESS EVENTS VENUE OF THE YEAR

Gold – National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire 

Silver – Imago Venues, Leicestershire 

Bronze – The ICC Birmingham, West Midlands 

ETHICAL, RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARD

Gold – Pure Outdoor, Derbyshire 

Silver – National Forest EBike Holidays, Leicestershire 

Bronze – The Cottages at Blackadon Farm, Devon 

EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR

Gold – Grey Seal and Seabird Cruise, Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Northumberland 

Silver – Make Your Own Gin Experience, Shed 1 Gin Distillery, Cumbria 

Bronze – Peak District Walking Experience, myGuidedWalks, Derbyshire 

SMALL HOTEL OF THE YEAR

Gold – Askham Hall, Cumbria 

Silver – THE PIG-at Combe, Devon 

Bronze – Wildhive Callow Hall, Derbyshire 

LARGE VISITOR ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR

Gold – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire 

Silver – Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire 

Bronze – International Bomber Command Centre, Lincolnshire

TASTE OF ENGLAND AWARD

Gold – Pensons Restaurant at the Netherwood Estate, Worcestershire 

Silver – The Unruly Pig, Suffolk

Bronze – The Glasshouse Restaurant, Hampshire

NEW TOURISM BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

Gold – Thorington Theatre, Suffolk 

Silver – Bassenthwaite Lake Station, Cumbria 

Bronze – Great British Car Journey, Derbyshire 

PUB OF THE YEAR

Gold – The Blind Bull, Derbyshire 

Silver – The Shoe, Hampshire 

Bronze – The Duncombe Arms, Staffordshire 

RESILIENCE AND INNOVATION AWARD

Gold – St Luke’s Bombed Out Church C.I.C., Merseyside 

Silver – Langley Castle Hotel, Northumberland 

Bronze – Healing Manor Hotel, Lincolnshire 

SELF-CATERING ACCOMMODATION OF THE YEAR

Gold – Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages, Northumberland 

Silver – The Dovecote Barns, North Yorkshire 

Bronze – Eaton Manor Country Estate, Shropshire 

UNSUNG HERO AWARD

Gold – Michael Wilson, Official Guide to the Kent Estuary, Guide Over Sands Trust, Cumbria

Silver – Marie Colgrave, Welcome Building Supervisor, Whitchurch Silk Mill, Hampshire

Bronze – Carol Adams, Head of Horticulture & Biodiversity, Trentham, Staffordshire

THE TXGB TRAILBLAZER AWARD

Gold – Red Funnel, Isle of Wight 

Silver – New Adventures, Tyne & Wear & Northumberland 

Bronze – Cotswolds Tourism, Cotswolds

ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE TOURISM AWARD

Gold – Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol 

Silver – Brickhouse Farm Holiday Cottages & Lakeside Hub, Lancashire 

Bronze – WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire 

TOURISM SUPERSTAR

Geoff Colvin, Chief Stationmaster, Kent & East Sussex Railway

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO TOURISM AWARD

England’s Coast

Source: VisitEngland 

 



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