Winners of EDP Norfolk Tourism Awards revealed

From the Broads to the Brecks and from Norwich's medieval streets to Norfolk's glorious coast, the very best the county has to offer to tourists was honoured last night. Tourist attractions from across the county competed across 12 categories in the seventh EDP Tourism Awards and the winners were announced at the Holiday Inn Norwich North.

The awards – supported by Norfolk Tourism – were an opportunity to celebrate the success of tourism in Norfolk and recognise those who have achieved the very highest standards in the industry.

The awards were presented at a black tie celebration hosted by BBC presenter Carol Bundock.

One of the winners was an attraction beloved by many children across the county and plenty of their parents too – BeWILDerwood.

The adventure park, near Hoveton, was the winner of Best Visitor Attraction (over 50,000 annual visitors), just four years after it was opened.

In the category for Best Visitor Attraction (under 50,000 annual visitors) it was Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden which got the nod from the judges.

It was a double celebration for the South Walsham attraction, which was also named Best Broads Holiday Experience. Manager Louise Rout said: 'Winning these awards is a fantastic reward for all the hard work the wonderful team puts into making Fairhaven the beautiful place it is.'

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The award for Best Bed and Breakfast was won by Dairy Barns in Hickling, while Clippesby Hall was named Best Caravan and Holiday Park. John Lindsay, owner of Clippesby Hall, said: 'We are very pleased to have won. It means a great deal to the team at Clippesby who strive for excellence.'

The Blakeney Hotel retained the title of Best Hotel, despite stiff competition from Beechwood Hotel in North Walsham and Heacham Manor.

Partridge Barn in Wheatacre won in the Best Self Catering Establishment category. Joanna Burroughs, whose family runs the barns, said: 'We are delighted to have won such an important accolade in the local tourism calendar. It means a huge amount to the Burroughs family and all of the staff.'

The award for Best Visitor Information went to North Norfolk Information Centre in Cromer, while Kelling Heath Holiday Park scooped the Sustainable Tourism Award.

Brian Potter, chairman of Potters Leisure at Hopton-on-Sea, was delighted his resort won the Customer Care Award. He said: 'Winning this award epitomises the exceptional dedication and hard work of each and every individual member of the Potters team who continue to be the backbone to the ongoing success of Potters.'

Thursford Christmas Spectacular won the Business Impact Award, while Great Yarmouth's Merrivale Model Village won the Best Marketing Initiative. Peter Williamson, director at the model village, said: 'In true Gulliver style, of the little people taking on the giants, it can come true, that a small attraction can come and conquer the giant attractions.'

A special award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism went to Martin Goymour, known for his work at Banham Zoo, Africa Alive! and the Dinosaur Adventure Park at Lenwade.

Peter Waters, editor of the EDP, said: 'Tourism and hospitality is the largest industry sector in this region and has, quite rightly, been identified by the Local Enterprise Partnership as a key target for growth.

'Nobody would doubt that the opportunity is there. High fuel prices and the weak pound are encouraging people to stay closer to home, or Holiday Here, as the EDP has been saying for the past three years. 'And why wouldn't you want to holiday here in Norfolk?

'We've got it all – from bucket and spade at Great Yarmouth and Sunny Hunny, upmarket coast around Chelsea-on-Sea, the forest and countryside of the Brecks, the boating and conservation haven that is the Broads and our Fine City of Norwich, a shopping, culture and heritage mecca.

'And, of course, we also have brilliant, modern visitor attractions, fantastic pubs, restaurants and hotels. So is there anywhere in this country with a better offering than us?'

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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