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Devon Tourism Awards 2012 acknowledge the cream of Devon

Each year in late November, Devon's tourism industry is on tenterhooks to find out who has been honoured with some of the UK's most prestigious accolades. Read on to discover the best visitor attractions, festivals, restaurants and activities in Devon, and plan your next holiday around these award-winning businesses.
Visitors planning to visit the West Country, perhaps for an off-peak weekend break or a self-catering holiday next summer, will no doubt be interested to find out which attractions were singled out and awarded accolades in the recent .

The coveted Devon Tourism Awards are decided by an independent panel of judges, including tourism industry leaders and past winners, all chosen for their experience in each category. Mystery shoppers visit short-listed entrants but the results remain a closely guarded secret until the awards ceremony in November. All winners are eligible for consideration in the held the following February, and the national in May. The 2012 results have now been revealed at a glitzy ceremony at the Saunton Sands Hotel.

The Visitor Attraction of the Year was shared by at Bratton Fleming and the splendidly refurbished in Exeter, both well worth a visit. scooped Silver and the was awarded Bronze.

Those who enjoy festivals will be interested to note that the on the English Riviera came top with the Gold Award, while the took Silver, and was commended for its awesome music and fabulous chef-created cuisine on live theatre stages. The event is organized to raise funds for charity.

The Tourism Information Service category was won by and the runner-up was the at Torquay. No doubt both will be pleased to help you make the most of your visit to their respective areas of Devon.

Well-deserved awards for Outstanding Customer Service went to Claire Preece at (Gold), with Team bagging Silver and Tara Dare of Hedgehog Corner getting Bronze. won the Silver Award for Sustainable Tourism, with the at Plymouth receiving a Bronze award.

If you are looking to eat out somewhere noteworthy, the Taste of Devon Gold Award went to at Buckfastleigh. The Silver Award went to at Brampton Speke and the Bronze Award went jointly to at Gulworthy, with its country house atmosphere, and to in Umberleigh.

at South Molton won the Gold for Best Tourism Activity, Sport and Experience of the Year, while Silver Award went to . It has a fine reputation as one of the best places to find shooting, horseriding and fly fishing in the Lifton Valley area. The Bronze Award was jointly awarded to at Okehampton and the on Exmoor, which offers climbing, sailing, obstacle challenge courses, canoeing, orienteering, archery, abseiling, ziplining and bushcraft.

One of those singled out for special mention was Michelin starred chef, , who not only received the award as Head Chef at Hotel of the Year, Gidleigh Park, but also received the well-deserved award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism. Laura Holt, Chairperson of the Devon Tourism Partnership, said, “Our sincere congratulations must go to Michael Caines who has played a leading role in championing West Country food and tourism”.

Congratulations one and all!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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