North Devon comes out top in Devon Tourism Awards

Westward Living is celebrating after being awarded Winner of Winners and bagging two golds at the De

Westward Living is celebrating after being awarded Winner of Winners and bagging two golds at the Devon Tourism Awards. - Credit: Archant

Golds, silvers and bronzes were awarded to many North Devon businesses - with one even bagging the ‘Winner of Winners’.

Top hotel: (from left) Melanie Kimpton of, Jennette Baxter of Starfish PR, Huw Re

Top hotel: (from left) Melanie Kimpton of, Jennette Baxter of Starfish PR, Huw Rees, co-wner of The Old Rectory Hotel and Judi Spiers. Pic by Nick Williams - Credit: Archant

NORTH Devon has come out on top at the Devon Tourism Awards in Torquay this year.

Westward Living was crowned the ‘Winner of Winners’ for its work to regenerate Westward Ho, and scooped a gold award for self catering establishment of the year.

Matt Druce from Westward Living also bagged a gold for the tourism superstar award for customer service.

Kathy Murdoch, director of Westward Living, said: “We were so delighted to receive the gold for best self catering establishment for the second year running and Winner of Winner awards in the Devon Tourism Awards in recognition for Westward Living’s contribution to the regeneration of Westward Ho! and putting the Ho! back into Westward Ho!

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“Matt Druce, who is head groundsman for Westward Living, was also recognised for his outstanding customer service skills and scooped the gold award for tourism superstar.

“This was a brilliant achievement for Westward Living and the team and we look forward to another successful year promoting Westward Ho! as a leading tourist destination.”

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North Devon also dominated the large visitor attraction of the year category, with The Big Sheep going for gold and RHS Rosemoor awarded the silver.

Rick Turner, director of the BIG Sheep was absolutely thrilled to receive the tourism accolade and said: “This is the culmination of the past 25 years of investing in quality attractions, creating a wonderful environment for our visitors to relax and be entertained and building the very best team of people at any attraction.

“We are committed to training and continuous improvement and are already working on numerous new and exciting additions to The BIG Sheep for 2014.

“This year has been an excellent one and we are immensely proud that two North Devon attractions, ourselves and RHS Rosemoor won the gold and silver awards.”

The Old Rectory Hotel in Martinhoe walked away with gold in the prestigious Hotel of the Year category.

Co-owner Huw Rees said: “We’re absolutely delighted; it’s the first year we have entered and to be honest we were thrilled just to be finalists.

“We’ve come a long way in the five years that we’ve run the hotel. Our aim was to create a unique and special boutique country house hotel – the kind of place where we and our friends have always wanted to stay - and we hope that’s what we have achieved.”

Another winner was the Calvert Trust Exmoor, who came joint gold in the tourism activity, sport and experience of the year category.

Goldcoast Oceanfest received the silver award for Tourism Event of the Year and Northcote Manor Country House Hotel in Umberleigh received silver for the Taste of Devon award.

The hotel also received a joint bronze award for hotel of the year.

In the small visitor attraction of the year, Broomhill Art Hotel and Sculpture Gardens was awarded the bronze award.

Ilfracombe Tourist Information Centre also won bronze in the Tourist Information Service of the year.

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