Meet Our Finalists

We are pleased to announce the finalists of the East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022. The winners of each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 24 February at the Imperial War Museum. Best of luck to all of our finalists.

For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets please click here 

Finalists:

1: Alma Inn & Dining Rooms - Harwich, Essex

Judges Comments:

'I could not fault their friendliness and service. They always smiled and were happy to chat'.

2: Argyll House Bed and Breakfast - Saxmundham, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The owners, Oliver and Kate Trethewey, were passionate about their business and also shared with us recommendations for other places we could visit in the local Suffolk area. They were true advocates of all that was on offer to enjoy and they made us feel extremely welcome'.

3: Downham Hall - Downham, Essex


Judges Comments:

'This was a charming Guest House. The staff's friendly, smiling demeanour and 'nothing is too much trouble' attitude contributed in a big way to our stay being a positive experience'.

4: Suenos Guesthouse - Southend-On-Sea, Essex

Judges Comments:

'The guesthouse was in a great location on the seafront with lovely views from the bedroom. I was given a very warm and friendly welcome by the owners who were great hosts'.

Finalists:

1: Glamp And Tipple - Attleborough, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The bell tents were decorated and furnished to a high standard and the owners had cleverly thought out every detail. There were many small yet personal touches to make the guest experience so memorable. We so enjoyed the wood-fired heated hot tub, gazing at the night sky whilst reflecting on a fun day’s activities.'

2: Hippersons Boatyard - Beccles, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The external appearance oozed charm, and the accommodation was in keeping with the environment. The setting of the accommodation in a working boatyard and the adjacent river was simply divine and made for such a peaceful and tranquil stay.'

3: Secret Meadows - Woodbridge, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The whole visit was a delight, from my first contact to my departure. The tent was outstanding. I was greeted with a warm glow as I unzipped the door, the lamps were switched on, the lanterns were lit and there were fairy lights around the windows.'

4: Wild With Nature - Attleborough, Norfolk


Judges Comments:

'A very bespoke experience staying in a luxury shepherd's hut with beautiful uninterrupted views out onto the lake and countryside. The location was superb and very secluded, off the beaten track and the accommodation had all the facilities you would require.'

5: Wolterton Park - Norwich, Norfolk

Judges Comments 

'A very important part of history which has been brought back to life for the enjoyment of all who stay there. Modernised to 21st century standards whilst retaining completely the character of their heritage through incredible attention to detail and design expertise.'

Finalists:

1: Barnham Broom - Norwich, Norfolk


Judges Comments:

'This was a very pleasant break and the experience with the team members and the stay overall was very positive. The team members were great and very attentive.'

2: Hippersons Boatyard - Beccles, Suffolk



Judges Comments:

'Mary & Simon Sparrow and Stephen Fletcher were first class hosts and provided us with an outstanding level of customer service. The customer experience felt very personable, and even their young son helped entertain our children.'

3: Old Hall Country Breaks - Kings Lynn, Norfolk


Judges Comments:

'This venue was amazing throughout. The staff were all so friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble - a true 5 star experience! The venue was stunning throughout and this was enhanced by the impeccable service provided by Gil Morais.'

4: Potters Resorts - Hopton on Sea, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The team members were certainly the strength of the business and I could understand why guests come back time and time again'

5: Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre - Saffron Walden, Essex

Judges Comments:

'We were welcomed straight away on our arrival and the team member was very attentive and proactive in asking how she could help us. The team member successfully dealt with our enquiry and asked a number of investigatory questions to offer the highest level of customer service.'

Finalists:

1: Discover Ramsey - Ramsey, Cambridgeshire

Judges Comments:

'There are some fantastic initiatives with a number of volunteers working really hard to make Ramsey an attractive and exciting tourist destination.'

2: NOMAD Sea Kayaking - Woodbridge, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'Overall this is a comprehensive and detailed commitment to sustainable tourism with an educational and community commitment to its customers.'

3: Wild With Nature - Attleborough, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'This is a family run business which lives and breathes the core values of being at one with nature and providing a high standard of accommodation and holiday experience.'

4: Woodland Holiday Park - Norwich, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'A significant amount of investment has been made in developing sustainable and environmentally friendly facilities aligned to their clear Environmental Strategy plan.'

Finalists:

1: Brightlingsea Lido - Colchester, Essex


Judges Comments:

'This is a Charity which was established 90 years ago. They had a thorough understanding of how the experiences of the team are hugely important to be able to deliver a great customer experience and help to make them feel totally involved in ensuring guests to the pool have a fantastic and safe time.'

2: Cambridge Vintage Tours - Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Judges Comments:

'This was an absolutely fantastic experience with a knowledgeable and friendly tour guide/driver. The ability of the drivers to provide a running commentary and to answer questions in a clear and easy to understand manner is a strength.'

3: Mersea Island Watersports - West Mersea, Cambridgeshire

Judges Comments:

'Great watersports activity business on Mersea Island offering a fantastic range of water based experiences.'

4: Premier Sailing - Chelmsford, Cambridgeshire

Judges Comments:

'An exhilarating, fulfilling and highly engaging experience, incredibly memorable with all profits donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.'

5: Sunnyfields Honey & Home - Bungay, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'Sunnyfield Honey & Home is providing an opportunity to learn what we can all do to make a difference to these incredible little creatures whose work benefits us all.'

Finalists:

1: Salthouse Harbour Hotel - Ipswich, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The service and professionalism of the team was outstanding. The business was well maintained and attractive both on the inside and outside. Without a doubt, the "wow" factor was the extremely positive customer service. Each team member was welcoming and professional and seemed genuinely interested in us having a splendid visit.'

2: Seckford Hall Hotel & Spa - Woodbridge, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The grounds of Seckford Hall Hotel & Spa were beautiful. They were well-maintained and really added to the experience. The 1530 restaurant notes that they use fresh and local ingredients, many of which were grown in their gardens.'

3: The Maids Head Hotel - Norwich, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'It was clear that The Maids Head Hotel is doing what they can as an historic building. We felt very welcomed to the Hotel. Staff were warm and friendly throughout our stay.'

4: Ufford Park Woodbridge  - Woodbridge, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'It was clear that the hotel did a lot for the local area and believed in using local products. What made the experience great was the welcoming and friendly nature of all of the team members collectively.'

5: Wivenhoe House Hotel - Colchester, Essex

Judges Comments:

'Owned by the University of Essex and used as a training location for its Edge Hotel School, the hotel is an integral part of the local community. We felt relaxed and very comfortable and the attractiveness of our surroundings was a definite wow factor.'

Finalists:

1: Audley End Miniature Railway - Saffron Waldon, Essex


Judges Comments:

'The experience came across as magical, individual and utterly enchanting for children of all ages. The venue was beautifully decorated in a way that communicated traditional values without the lure of commercialism.'

2: Jimmy's Farm & Wildlife Park - Wherstead, Suffolk


Judges Comments:

The premises offered a truly enjoyable and memorable day out, primarily for children, though the thought has clearly been given to parents and other visitors as well. The nature of the woodland walk was especially lovely with its animals and signage along the way. The ambience and vibe of the farm were welcoming, down-to-earth and accessible.'

3: Pensthorpe Natural Park - Fakenham, Norfolk


Judges Comments:

'Excellent - a great range of activities and wildlife to explore here. As a business committed to wildlife preservation, sustainability was embedded throughout the business. Conservation work, breeding programmes and education and outreach work were evidenced.'

4: RHS Garden Hyde Hall - Chelsmford, Essex

Judges Comments:

'The gardens were pleasant to visit and the food and drink and retail experiences were very good.'

5: ZSEA Banham Zoo - Banham, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The attraction provided a great all-round day out. There were lots of animals and other things to do like the Safari Train and the Birds of Prey Show. The animal enclosures were perfectly kept.'

Finalists

1: Best of Suffolk - Woodbridge, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'Suffolk's campaign is a great testament to the power of adding a human element to a campaign. Best of Suffolk’s campaign was an impactful and innovative idea that is a great example of how to tap into your local audiences with a very small budget.'

2: Jimmy's Farm & Wildlife Park - Wherstead, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'It’s clear that the audience’s love of the farm extended beyond the TV show, with great interaction on social media, where consistent content that aligned with the characters featured keeping the buzz alive and giving the impact longevity.'

3: Pensthorpe Natural Park - Fakenham, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'Penthorpe had a really creative and inclusive campaign turning a garden into a hidden secret that was awaiting discovery. Targeting a post-lockdown audience during a time that still had many restrictions, they were able to engage an eager audience that needed to be stimulated.'

4: Potters Resorts - Hopton-On-Sea, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'A great example of commitment to exemplary customer experience when customers are outside of the business as well as inside it, the power of human connection in marketing, and the value of nurturing an organic social community.'

5: ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure - Norwich, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'Titan has escaped’ was a fun, innovative and highly creative marketing activation for the park. A truly imaginative use of a limited budget with alignment to the park’s objectives – and it was great to see the escapee himself at the judging meeting too!'

Finalists:

1: Beach Street Felixstowe - Felixstowe, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'This lively hub of start-up shops and eateries on the Felixstowe coastline has made its mark since launching last year. Championing independent traders and being inclusive to all are two areas which stood out for us and they are clearly invested in and committed to rejuvenating the area as a whole.'

2: LandyCampers - Dunmow, Essex


Judges Comments:

'LandyCampers is one of a very few of its kind in the UK, offering a very unique camping experience, with the owners devoted to using top of the range equipment. We were impressed with the commitment and passion they bring to the business and their determination to convert non-campers to campers!'

3: Old Buckenham Country Park - Old Buckenham, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'We were impressed with the amount of work, commitment and thought that has gone into making this new campsite a success, working closely to bring in local enterprises. It is truly a labour of love for this small team and they have ambitious plans in place to ensure they go from strength to strength in 2022.'

4: Rayne Heritage - Braintree, Essex

Judges Comments:

'The interesting use of technology in this new venture in a small Essex village aims to celebrate the history of the country and is committed to working with the community to bring visitors to the village and putting it on the map!'

5: Watatunga Wildlife Reserve - Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'This ambitious, impressive conservation programme that provides a sanctuary for forgotten animal species stood out for us. The team has created a natural habitat for the animals where they feel safe and can display natural behaviour while also celebrating their unique species.'

Finalists:

1: Alma Inn and Dining Room - Harwich, Essex

Judges Comments:

'The quality of the food and drink was excellent, the team members were helpful and friendly and there was a great atmosphere.'

2: The Angel at Watlington - Watlington, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The food was absolutely delicious and we felt thoroughly relaxed in the friendly atmosphere.'

3: Kings Head Bawburgh - Bawburgh, Norfolk


Judges Comments:

'We felt there was a real emphasis on seasonal, fresh produce both for vegetables and meat with a real focus on local suppliers. The exterior of the building was very well maintained, the interior was very clean with a rustic feeling decor and wall hangings in keeping with the pubs theme'

4: The Weeping Willow - Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk


Judges Comments:

'The food and drink presentation was superb. The menu was imaginative and drew predominantly from local ingredients with references to specific farms in the area.'

5: The Lion at Thurne - Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'We had an excellent experience at this pub, the quality of the food and the service was faultless.'

Finalists:

1: Audley End Miniature Railway - Saffron Waldon, Essex 


Judges Comments:

'We were very impressed at how the business has diversified, to initiatives such as the Nature Corner, Al Fresco dining experiences and the adult-experiences such as the Halloween event.'

2: Chestnut - Higham, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'It was clear that it brought together its employees at the toughest of times and it provided valuable assistance to the local NHS and community.'

3: Potters Resorts - Hopton-On-Sea, Norfolk


Judges Comments:

'We highly commend the charitable work carried out through the Potters Friend Foundation, this clearly shows support for the local community, particularly for the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service and the NHS.'

4: Richardson's Leisure - Stalham, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The explainer videos produced by the business for onboarding and checking-in customers during the pandemic were clearly effective.'

5: Wroxham Barns - Wroxham, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'That the business pressed-on with significant investment in its Fun Park at such a challenging time shows great resilience and braveness.'

Finalists:

1: Hintlesham Hall Hotel - Ipswich, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The interior design, decor and soft furnishings were of the highest quality and the overall internal appearance of the hotel was exceptional.'

2: The Assembly House - Norwich, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The venue was a Grade 1 listed building and was beautifully decorated with a slightly modern but sympathetic twist'

3: The Crown - Stoke-By-Nayland, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The stay at The Crown Inn was a very pleasurable one. We loved the plush and comfortable room. The restaurant was a convivial space and the food and drinks were excellent.'

4: The Hog Hotel - Lowestoft, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'Everything about the hotel surpassed our expectations, with the restaurant being an absolute stand-out'

5: The Norfolk Mead - Coltishall, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'This is a lovely independent hotel in a beautiful setting by the Norfolk Broads. The grounds were stunning and the modern contemporary interior of the Georgian building, was very attractive and provided a lovely atmosphere to be enjoyed by guests.'

Finalists:

1: English Spirit Distillery - Halstead, Essex

Judges Comments:

'English Spirit Distillery has only been in existence for ten years and they are now leaders in the UK in producing high quality artisan spirits.'

2: Hippersons Boatyard - Beccles, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'We had an excellent time enjoying a day out on the river. The boat was easy to use and navigate.'

3: Rayleigh Town Museum - Rayleigh, Essex

Judges Comments:

'Rayleigh Town Museum is fantastic and is a tribute to all the people who have devoted their time, enthusiasm and knowledge to create and nurture it.'

4: Shepreth Wildlife Park - Royston, Cambridgeshire

Judges Comments:

'All team members were focused on providing a positive experience. The animals were clearly well cared for and the park was well maintained.'

5: Watatunga Wildlife Reserve - Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'This was a wonderful experience and an excellent example of how conservation could and should be done in the modern age.'

Finalists

1: Alma Inn and Dining Room - Harwich, Essex

Judges Comments:

'Food was locally sourced and extremely fresh and of good quality. All fish, meat and produce were bought locally. All the fish was either from Harwich itself or nearby in Mersea. The meat was from local farms. They were proud of their history in Harwich (1850 built) and their part in the community.'

2: The English Whisky Co - Norwich, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The menu contained a range of locally sourced produce which was explained well within the food choices and showed great support for some local businesses. The dishes were unique and in keeping with the business and I had a conversation with the owner who explained he had brought a South African touch to some of the dishes, which originated from his roots.'

3: The Lion Brasserie - East Bergholt, Suffolk

Judges Comments:

'The service is superb, both in knowledge and friendliness. I love the fact that the meat, fish, vegetables and some wine and beer are all sourced locally and the meat and fish is sustainable.'

4: The Maids Head Hotel - Norwich, Norfolk

Judges Comments:

'The food in the Courtyard Restaurant was absolutely delicious. It was one of the best meals we have ever had in England.'

5: Pig & Whistle Restaurant - Chelmsford, Essex

Judges Comments:

'The food was of an exceptional standard, both in terms of presentation and taste, and was accompanied by delicious wines.'

The award will recognise an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and success of the tourism industry in the East of England. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony.