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Awards for Excellence 2023 winners revealed in the UK



Photo of the Gold Award Winners for Large Hotel of the Year at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 - Titanic Hotel Liverpool (Representatives from Titanic Hotel Liverpool) - in front of branded photo backdrop
Titanic Hotel Liverpool received the VisitEngland Gold Award for Large Hotel of the Year | Photo: VisitBritain/Daniela Luquini

VisitEngland has announced the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence 2023.

The 20 Gold Award winners were announced at an evening ceremony last night hosted by entrepreneur and TV presenter Alex Polizzi at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, in categories ranging from ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ and ‘B&B and Guest House of the Year’ to ‘Business Events Venue of the Year’ and ‘Experience of the Year.’  The Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were selected from hundreds of tourism businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs and museums.

Running for more than 30 years, VisitEngland Awards for Excellence celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

“It is fantastic to come together as an industry to celebrate our world-class tourism businesses. Competition this year was fierce with customer service excellence evident across every category, thanks to the passion and dedication of individuals. From an outdoor theatre in Suffolk to a boutique B&B in Essex, from an arboretum museum in Staffordshire, a zoo farm in Bristol, to island boat tours in Northumberland, this year’s awards also showcase the wonderful range of quality tourism products on offer across England”, said Andrew Stokes VisitEngland Director.

In addition to the 16 core categories award winners, four special awards were also presented this year including an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award,’ a ‘Travel Content Award’, a ‘Tourism Superstar Award’ and a ‘TXGB Trailblazer Award’.

The ‘Tourism Superstar Award’ went to Geoff Colvin. Geoff, a volunteer stationmaster at the Kent and East Sussex Railway, was the winner of the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar 2023 run in partnership with the Mirror, following a public vote and competition earlier this year.

The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award went to ‘England’s Coast’ in recognition of its valuable role in boosting domestic and inbound tourism to England.

The Travel Content Award, which recognises the media’s important contribution in championing domestic tourism, was won by travel and food writer Alicia Miller of The Independent with her storyHow to do a classic Cotswolds weekend, car-free.’

Tourism is one of England’s largest and industries, supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses, employing about 2.6 million people and, in 2019, generating £76 billion in domestic visitor spending.

Here is the full list of VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 winners:

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 

B&B and Guest House of the Year:

GOLD Piglets Boutique B&B, Essex 

SILVER Cedar Manor, Cumbria 

BRONZE Sunnyside Guest House, Merseyside 

Business Events Venue of the Year:

GOLD National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire 

SILVER Imago Venues, Leicestershire 

BRONZE The ICC Birmingham, West Midlands 

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year:

GOLD The Quiet Site, Cumbria 

SILVER Brook Meadow, Leicestershire 

BRONZE Hendra Holiday ParkCornwall 

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award:

GOLD Pure Outdoor, Derbyshire 

SILVER National Forest EBike HolidaysLeicestershire 

BRONZE The Cottages at Blackadon FarmDevon 

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 

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 

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year:

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

SILVER Blenheim PalaceOxfordshire 

BRONZE International Bomber Command Centre, Lincolnshire 

New Tourism Business of the Year:

GOLD Thorington TheatreSuffolk 

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 

St Lukes Bombed Out Church is the Gold award winner for the Resilience and Innovation Award at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 | Photo: David Munn.

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 

Small Hotel of the Year:

GOLD Askham HallCumbria 

SILVER THE PIG-at Combe, Devon 

BRONZE Wildhive Callow Hall, Derbyshire 

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year:

GOLD Watatunga Wildlife Reserve, Norfolk 

SILVER Muncaster Castle, Gardens and Hawk & Owl Centre, Cumbria 

BRONZE PK Porthcurno, Cornwall 

Taste of England Award:

GOLD Pensons Restaurant at the Netherwood Estate, Worcestershire 

SILVER The Unruly Pig, Suffolk 

BRONZE The Glasshouse Restaurant, Hampshire 

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 

Travel Content Award:

GOLD Alicia Miller, The Independent – How to do a classic Cotswolds weekend, car-free

SILVER Ben Lerwill, National Geographic Traveller – How art and ancient history collide on a hike through Deal, Dover and Folkestone

BRONZE Paul Healy, Anywhere We Roam –A wild getaway in Swaledale – the unspoilt valley in the Yorkshire Dales

Tourism Superstar:

Geoff Colvin, Chief Stationmaster, Kent & East Sussex Railway

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award:

England’s Coast

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The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project announces 50 nominees



Kim Rihal, founder of social enterprise Equal Education, is one of the 50 women shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project
Kim Rihal, founder of social enterprise Equal Education, is one of the 50 women shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project

Earlier this year, on International Women’s Day 2023, Häagen-Dazs launched ‘The Rose Project’, a global initiative with a $100,000 (USD) bursary grant inviting nominations to recognise unsung trailblazing women in honour of the brand’s female co-founder Rose Mattus. Yesterday, 23 November, on what would have been Rose Mattus’ birthday, Häagen-Dazs announced the top 50 #WomenWhoDontHoldBack nominees being shortlisted for their achievements and its five globally accomplished Häagen-Dazs Rose Project judges.

Over 2,500 applications were received for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project putting forward pioneering efforts and societal contributions made by women across the globe. From these, 50 talented and inspirational women have been shortlisted and will be put forward to win one of five monetary grants of $20,000 (USD), which will be announced on International Women’s Day 2024, to continue their exceptional work, unleash their potential or give to a cause they are passionate about. The top 50 shortlist includes women from 17 countries hailing from across Europe, Asia, Africa & Middle East, Australia and the Americas.

The all-female judging panel from across the world has been handpicked for the final selection stage of The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project includes. UK-based author, broadcaster and philanthropist Katie Piper, fashion entrepreneur and advocate for women’s fertility issues, Velda Tan from Singapore and Spanish entrepreneur and creative director Inés Arroyo, are amongst the judges.

“International Women’s Day 2023 marked the launch of The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project to honour the legacy of our co-founder, Rose Mattus, and create a fund platform to provide opportunities to women across all fields around the world who are truly deserving of support and recognition. We were thrilled to receive thousands of nominations across countries and our #WomenWhoDontHoldBack Top 50 shortlist is a compelling and diverse mosaic of trailblazing female narratives that moved us and serve as an inspiration to women everywhere”, says Aurélie Lory, Häagen-Dazs spokesperson.

To find out more about the story of each entrepreneur shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project, visit:

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47% of women feel their workplace is not combatting inequality



Katherine Maher, CEO, Web Summit, on Centre Stage during day one of Web Summit 2023 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal
Katherine Maher, CEO, Web Summit, on Centre Stage during day one of Web Summit 2023 | Photo: Eóin Noonan/Web Summit

The proportion of women who feel that their workplace is not taking appropriate measures to combat gender inequality has nearly doubled in a year, a new survey has revealed.

Web Summit, the world’s largest technology event taking place in Lisbon this week, has released its third annual State of Gender Equity in Tech report, which is based on a survey distributed among its women in tech community.

76.1 percent of respondents feel empowered to pursue and/or hold a leadership position; fewer respondents (41.8 %) feel the need to choose between family and career when compared to 2022 (50.4 %); and there is at least one woman in a senior management position in 80.4 percent of respondents’ companies, a similar proportion to last year (81.3%).

The survey found that 70.5 percent of respondents feel pressure to prove their worth compared to male counterparts, while 77.2 percent feel they need to work harder to prove themselves because of their gender.

Over three quarters of respondents (76.1 %) feel empowered to pursue and/or hold a leadership position. And almost half of respondents think that their workplace is not taking appropriate measures to combat gender inequality, increasing from 26 percent in 2022 to 47
percent in 2023.

“While it is encouraging to see progress in some areas, such as those feeling the need to choose between their family and career, there are also some deeply concerning trends within this report. Seeing an increase in those who report having experienced sexism in the workplace in the last year is disheartening in 2023. We hope that this kind of research can breed some positives, and that it will push workplaces – and women within these workplaces – to broach these topics and make progress in these areas,” said Carolyn Quinlan, VP of community at Web Summit.

Last year, 42 percent of attendees at Web Summit were women and 33 percent of speakers were women. In 2023 these numbers have slightly improved with 43 percent of attendees and 38 percent of speakers on stage being women this year.

The women in tech programme at this year’s Web Summit is at capacity, and the women in tech programme at Web Summit Rio 2023 reached capacity in record time.

The WebSummit 2023 is running from November 13th to 16th in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Krispy Kreme to give away free donuts on World Kindness Day



A box of Krispy Kreme donuts opened and with donuts inside
The company, founded in 1937, is giving away 60,000 free doughnuts around the world today | Photo: Clément Proust

American multinational doughnut company and coffeehouse chain, Krispy Kreme, is celebrating “World Kindness Day” today by distributing free donuts in the US and the UK.

The chain is giving away a box of a dozen glazed donuts for free with no purchase necessary. But only the first 500 guests that visit each participating Krispy Kreme US stores on “World Kindness Day”, Monday November 13th, will be able to get a free box of donuts.

Krispy Kreme often gives away free or discounted donuts to generate buzz on special occasions. The company, founded in 1937, traditionally gives out free donuts to customers on National Donut Day, celebrated on the first Friday of June of each year. And in July, a dozen of glazed donuts were sold for 86 cents to celebrate its 86th birthday.

Thousands of free donuts are also expected to be given away today across Krispy Kreme stores in the United Kingdom, with customers being encouraged to ask for the World Kindness Day offer. No purchase necessary.

The company, which operates in over 30 countries around the world, said it wants the brand associated with World Kindness Day to make “meaningful connections” with customers.

“World Kindness Day is an opportunity to make a positive difference by being generous,” Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme’s global chief brand officer, said in a release. “Simple gestures of caring and thanks, including sharing a sweet treat, is a great way to do that.”

Krispy Kreme said that it’s considering expanding a limited partnership it has with McDonald’s to sell more of its donuts at the latter’s location.

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