The Herald Express tourism awards are always one of the first dates on the calendar. It is an annual celebration and recognition of the fantastic tourism-related businesses in the South West.

Gold Award Winners on The English Riviera

Businesses on The English Riviera were well represented at the awards, with a particularly large number scooping the top prize. Here’s our rundown of local businesses who took home Gold in their categories.

Bed & Breakfast, Guesthouse or Inn - Blue Waters Lodge

Blue Waters Lodge, HE Awards

Blue Waters Lodge may not have dramatic sea views or a large secluded garden, but the owners of this Victorian terraced house, Colin and Jackie, more than compensate by providing terrific service, with so many thoughtful extras, in a warm, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. They so evidently love the place and are proud of it; and upgraded it well when they took it over, with quality furnishings and a practical understanding of guests' needs. It's a friendly, unpretentious, traditional B&B, offering quality far beyond its size, and the final judges in this category of the awards were unanimous that it deserved Gold.

Arrival: Victorian terraced house, no off-road parking but free parking in street outside. If it's full, the owners shift their own cars to make space for guests. Warm welcome, log fire burning in lounge, owners Colin & Jackie sat us down to tea & homemade cake, and our bags were straightaway whisked up to our room. Friendly dog kept out of the way until we said we liked it.

Bedroom: Bright, warm, comfortable, well furnished. Small, but everything had been thought of. Plenty of power points, good hospitality tray. Wifi worked well. Good instruction folder, well written. Hot towel rail. Even towelling bathrobes! Bathrooms have recently been upgraded; the shower worked well and was easy to operate.  Good lighting, allowing us to read in bed.

Customer facilities: Cosy lounge and well-stocked licensed bar, and a small patio garden. Additional services, eg collecting guests from station, sourcing a disabled buggy, even hairdressing (Jackie is an experienced hairdresser with a salon at home). For those wanting to be car-free there's access to a local tour operator who can take guests out and about including to Dartmoor, and it's only a few

Small Boutique Hotel & Guest Accommodation - The Downs, Babbacombe

Inclusive access - Torre Abbey

Torre Abbey Gold award winner

In a recent visitor survey, visitors said they couldn’t believe what a great place Torre Abbey was to visit and there was a 100% likelihood they would return. Torre Abbey Museum has an exciting programme of events and exhibitions in 2019, keep checking the ‘what’s on’ section of the website for more details. Torre Abbey Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm (last admission 4pm).


Bistro, Restaurant, Gastro Pub - Breakwater Bistro


Fine Dining Experience - Simon Hulstones, The Elephant

The Elephant, award-winning fine dining experience

Visitor Attraction - Penny Well Farm

Pennywell Farm Gold award winners

Penny Well Farm offers that vitally important, all-around family experience. You are made to feel welcome and aware of what is on offer from the moment you pass through reception. Interactive, educational, and simply just fun, the farm offers a great day out for people of all ages.

Dog Friendly Business of the Year - Pilgrims Rest

Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism Award - Paignton Zoo

Tourism Event or Festival of the Year - Brixham Pirates

Best Self Catering or Serviced Accommodation of the Year - Church Thatch

Tourism Experience of the Year - Paignton Zoo

Lifetime Achievement - Mitch Tonks (Rockfish)

Mitch Tonks, lifetime achievement award winner

Outstanding Business of the Year - Paignton Zoo

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