More businesses than ever before are set to battle it out at this year's Dorset Tourism Awards. 

The ceremony, which will be held at The Tank Museum on October 15, will see 51 businesses across 17 categories.

Launched in 2012, the awards aim to “raise the profile of Dorset as a destination and recognise its top quality and most progressive tourism businesses.”

This year’s awards saw an increased 76 entries across 17 categories, with each going through a three-stage judging process.

Each entry was pored over and scored by tourism professionals; the top scorers in the first phase were then visited, leading to recommendations for each category; and finally these recommendations were considered by an independent panel.

Finalists were selected from across the county with businesses from Lyme Regis, Poole, Weymouth, Christchurch, Bridport, Sherborne and Bournemouth featuring on the shortlist.

Nick Fernyhough, of headline sponsors Saffery Champness and a member of the judging panel, said: “Saffery Champness have been involved from the launch of the Dorset Tourism Awards back in 2012 and have been delighted to see the impact of their involvement on the development of the awards.

"The awards are helping to raise the profile of Dorset and also to raise the quality of the Dorset visitor experience. We are delighted with the high calibre of finalists and wait with much anticipation for the prestigious Awards evening."

Robin Barker of Services for Tourism, who created and manage the awards programme, added: “The last year has seen huge achievements for Dorset, with more businesses than ever before going on to win in Dorset, regionally and nationally.

"This year’s winner list is bigger than ever and I’d like to commend all finalists for being at the forefront of what is one of the world’s biggest, most dynamic and fastest growing industries.”

The event will see gold, silver and bronze awards given out next month.

Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will automatically be considered for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2016 with the chance to go on to represent Dorset at the National VisitEngland Awards later in the year.

Further information is available from

The finalists

Sponsored by Saffery Champness 

Small Hotel of the Year

Sponsored by Clockwork Marketing

  • Best Western The Grange at Oborne, Sherborne www.thegrangeatoborne
  • The Eastbury, Sherborne
  • The Grove Hotel Bournemouth, Bournemouth

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year 

Sponsored by The Italian Villa

  • Compton Acres, Poole
  • Poole Pottery, Poole
  • RNLI College, Poole
  • The Ark, Poole

Holiday Park of the Year 

Sponsored by Hoseasons

  • Higher Moor Farm Camp Site, Weymouth
  • Highlands End Holiday Park, Bridport
  • Hoburne Park, Christchurch

Access and Inclusivity Award 

Sponsored by Purple Cloud Consultancy

Cafe and Tearoom of the Year 

Sponsored by The Hotel & Catering Show

  • Aroma Coffee House & Kitchen, Lyme Regis
  • Symondsbury Kitchen, Symondsbury
  • Worth Matravers Tea & Supper Room, Swanage

Tourism Event of the Year 

Sponsored by Bournemouth University – School of Tourism

  • Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth
  •  Poole Harbour Boat Show, Poole
  •  Sherborne Abbey Festival, Sherborne
  •  Tankfest, Bovington

Bed & Breakfast and Guest Accommodation of the Year 

Sponsored by Goadsby

  •  Bradle Farmhouse, Wareham
  • Launceston Farm, Blandford Forum
  • The Balincourt, Bournemouth

Venue & Business Tourism Award 

Sponsored by Saffery Champness

  • Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth
  • The Italian Villa, Poole

Tourist Information Service of the Year 

Sponsored by Resort Marketing

  • Bournemouth Tourist Information Centre, Bournemouth
  • Discover Purbeck Information Centre, Wareham
  • Swanage Tourist Information, Swanage

Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience of the Year 

Sponsored by Horsey Lightly Fynn

  •  Go Ape Moors Valley - Tree Top Adventure, Ringwood
  • Lyme Bay Rib Charter, Bridport
  • Brownsea Island, Poole

Unsung Hero Award for Customer Service 

Award will be announced on the night

Sustainable Tourism Award 

Sponsored by Dorset Cereals

  • Bagwell Farm Touring Park, Weymouth
  • Fernhill Hotel, Bridport
  • South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park, Lytchett Minster

Large Hotel of the Year

Sponsored by NatWest

  • Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa, Christchurch
  • RNLI College, Poole

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Dorset Tourism 

Award will be announced on the night

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 

Sponsored by Take One Media

  • Farmer Palmers Farm Park, Organford
  • Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster
  • Moors Valley Country Park & Forest, Ashley Heath

Tourism Pub of the Year 

Sponsored by A Head for PR

  • The Acorn Inn, Evershot
  • The Thimble Inn, Piddlehinton
  • The White Post, Rimpton

Self Catering Establishment of the Year 

Sponsored by Quality in Tourism

  • Caalm Leisure, Shaftesbury
  •  Glampotel, Bere Regis
  • Lancombe Country Cottages & Lodges, Dorchester
  • Symondsbury Estate, Symondsbury

Restaurant of the Year 

  • Arbor Restaurant at The Green House Hotel, Bournemouth
  • The Dorset Burger Company, Weymouth
  •  The Eastbury, Sherborne

Winner of Winners

Sponsored by Dorset LEP

  • Award will be announced on the night