Devon’s award-winning businesses

Devon’s tourism businesses are some of the best in the country – and that’s official!

From cafes to cottages, hotels to holiday parks, attractions to outdoor pursuits, some of our best Devon businesses were recently celebrating wins at the Visit England Awards For Excellence 2016, against competition from across the country.

Devon’s Gold winners were Woodovis Park for Holiday Park/Village and Higher Wiscombe for Dog Friendly. Silver awards went to River Cottage HQ near Axminster and Calvert Trust Exmoor, and a Bronze award to Dartington Hall, Totnes. And Devon’s Highly Commended winners were Highbullen Hotel Golf & Country Club near Umberleigh, Kentisbury Grange near Banstaple, The Guardhouse Café near Brixham, The Swan at Bampton and Salcombe Harbour Hotel and Spa.

Get the lowdown on the high achievers – and take a look at what they offer.

Woodovis Park, near Tavistock
Gold – Holiday Park/Village
This small, friendly five star holiday park (pictured above) is in 14 tranquil acres on the edge of the Tamar Valley, near Dartmoor National Park and within a short drive of South Devon’s beaches too. Whether you’re camping, touring or staying in a luxury caravan, it’s a great base for exploring the area, and has top-notch facilities too – including an indoor pool and sauna. Find out more
Owner John Lewis says: “To have come out on top for the whole of England is incredible. It reinforces the hard work every member of the team invests into making our little park a huge success. Come to Woodovis Park, come and enjoy Dartmoor and Devon and thank you to everyone who has made this win possible!”

Higher Wiscombe, Southleigh
Gold – Dog Friendly
Owned by a family that have two of dogs of their own, Higher Wiscombe (pictured above) every provision has been made to ensure that visitors and their canine friends have everything they need to enjoy their stay. Recognising that the family dog can be an integral part of a holiday, they have ensured that it’s a 5* break for everyone who stays – not just the humans. On arrival to the secluded 52-acre site near the Jurassic Coast visitors are greeted with a dog hamper, which includes blankets for the sofas, bowls, a guide to dog walks in the local area, towels for the aftermath of muddy walks (and an outside tap for a wash!), treats, and even a Higher Wiscombe ‘Dicky Bag’. Find out more
Owners Alastair and Lorna Handyside said: “We really just want to make it as easy as possible for our guests to enjoy their holiday with their dog. Winning nationally is just brilliant – we work really hard for our guests, but to be recognised by the industry is also really special.

River Cottage HQ near Axminster
Silver – Tourism Experience Of The Year
river cottage hq devon awards visit england 2Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall set up his River Cottage HQ, an events and courses centre, on a beautiful 60 acre organic farm nestled in the Axe Valley in East Devon. Here, Hugh’s team teaches visitors how to grow their own food, rear and butcher their own animals, forage for wild foods – and then cook what they’ve produced. Find out more
Lucy Lomas, River Cottage Business Director, said: “This is fantastic news and a great tribute to the hard work of our talented and committed team. We are delighted to have received this accolade.”
See our River Cottage recipe for Wild Garlic Pesto

Calvert Trust Exmoor, near Kentisbury
Silver – Access For All
The Calvert Trust helps thousands of people with disabilities to reach their potential by taking part in adventurous outdoor activities, together with their families and friends. Located on the edge of beautiful Exmoor and near the coast, the centre welcomes guests of all ages and levels of ability to take part in horseriding, climbing, challenge courses, cycling, canoeing, zip wires, low ropes, archery, abseiling – and more. Find out more

Dartington Hall, Totnes
Bronze – Business Tourism
whatson_tabEvery year Dartington Hall welcomes over 800,000 visitors to the estate and its events, courses, festivals, cinema, shops, restaurant and gardens. The aim is to stimulate new thinking towards a more sustainable, just and enriched world – and visitors of all ages have fun there all year round. This summer, look out for: Party in the Town (May 27); 6th Annual Food Fair (May 29-30); Community Day (June 1); Open Farm Sunday (June 5); Ways with Words (July 8-17 ); Dartington International Summer School and Festival (July 30-August 27). Find out more

Silverpoint-affiliates-Kentisbury-Grange-to-The-Registry-CollectionKentisbury Grange near Banstaple
Highly Commended – Small Hotel Of The Year
This stylish boutique hotel with lodges on the edge of Exmoor is not just a fabulous small hotel – it also has an award-winning fine dining restaurant, The Coach House by Michael Caines. Peter Farquhar, General Manager, said of the hotel’s most recent award: “To have won was an absolute privilege and the team at Kentisbury are thrilled to be recognised in such a prestigious awards ceremony.” Find out more

guardhouse cafeThe Guardhouse Café near Brixham
Highly Commended – Taste Of England Award
This fantastic cafe serves excellent food all day from a stunning location, right out on Berry Head – what more could you want? Owner Alex Foley says: “For our small café to be shortlisted alongside some of the country’s best restaurants and chefs – including a 2 Michelin Star holder, and Masterchef champion – is incredible! We are indebted to our wonderful team – and customers!” Find out more

highbullenHighbullen Hotel Golf & Country Club near Umberleigh
Highly Commended – Business Tourism Award
Set in a 125 acre estate in the heart of North Devon, near Exmoor and the coast, this luxury hotel has a fabulous range of things to do – including an 18-hole golf course, indoor and outdoor pools, croquet, fishing, shooting and a fully equipped gym. Find out more

the swan bampton pubThe Swan at Bampton
Highly Commended – Tourism Pub Of The Year
This lovely old pub in the Exmoor village of Bampton has a really welcoming feel, and serves excellent locally-sourced traditional pub food, good wine and real ales. Pop in for a Sunday roast with meat from the nearby Hills Farm. Find out more

Take-The-Tykes-Salcombe-Harbour-Hotel-Tatler-1dec14_pr_b_624x380Salcombe Harbour Hotel and Spa
Highly Commended – Large Hotel Of The Year
A multi-million pound refurbishment has made this hotel truly luxurious – think retreat spa, private cinema, fabulous bedrooms and a waterside restaurant with wide terraces, all taking in the panoramic views over Salcombe Estuary. Find out more