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14 Jun 2023

Local tourism businesses take top spots at VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023

Post Date: 14 Jun 2023

Success for Peak District and Derbyshire at national awards.

Five tourism businesses from across the Peak District and Derbyshire are celebrating success after winning coveted accolades – including two prestigious Gold awards – at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023.

The finalists competed against hundreds of tourism businesses from across the country to reach the awards ceremony which was hosted by TV presenter Alex Polizzi at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter on Wednesday 7 June.

Top spots were taken by the Blind Bull at Little Hucklow near Buxton, who won the Gold Pub of the Year award, and Peak District-based outdoor activity provider Pure Outdoor, winners of the Gold Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award.

National recognition was also received by Great British Car Journey in Ambergate, who won the Bronze New Tourism Business of the Year award; Wildhive Callow Hall near Ashbourne, winners of the Bronze Small Hotel of the Year award; and myGuidedWalks, who won the Bronze Experience of the Year award for their Peak District Walking Experience.

The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence champion quality, innovation and best practice across the tourism industry, recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

This year’s awards aligned with 16 local competitions from across England, including the 2023 Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards organised by Visit Peak District & Derbyshire.

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence represent the highest accolades in English tourism and so we’re incredibly proud that the Peak District and Derbyshire has received national recognition with not one but five prestigious awards.

“These awards are a timely reminder of the value and quality of our world-class tourism offer, and of the commitment and dedication of the talented businesses and individuals who work so hard to provide visitors with experiences to remember.

“Winning at an aligned local competition is the only way to qualify for these national awards, so we encourage businesses to look out for applications opening for the 2024 awards in the coming weeks.”

Raab Dykstra-McCarthy, Owner and Manager of The Blind Bull, Gold winners in the Pub of the Year category, said: “We are over the moon to win Gold in the Pub of the Year category at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. For a small, independently owned pub in a tiny village in the heart of the glorious Peak District, to be recognised nationally, after being open for less than three years, is just such an incredible feeling and rather unbelievable. Full credit goes to our wonderful team who really are the heart and soul of The Blind Bull. Finally, a huge thank you to our customers for continuing to support us!”

Guy Wilson, Founder of Pure Outdoor, Gold winners in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism category, said: “We're so pleased to receive the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Gold Award at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. We're passionate about being a better business and look to continue developing in this area over the coming years. I'd like to thank all staff involved in growing our business not just for profit, but for people and the planet too.”

Richard Usher, Founder and CEO of Great British Car Journey, Bronze winners in the New Tourism Business of the Year category, said: “What a phenomenal journey the last two years have been for Great British Car Journey. To be recognised in the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence has just blown us all away. We knew we had something special when we opened the museum in May 2021, but to have it confirmed is wonderful.
“It’s onwards and upwards for Great British Car Journey. We have many exciting plans in the pipeline which will ensure we continue to stand out in both the classic car and visitor attraction market.”

Paul Smith, Founder and Guide at myGuidedWalks, Bronze winners in the Experience of the Year category, said: “MyGuidedWalks are thrilled to have won Bronze for Experience of the Year at the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. This is a huge honour for us, and we are so grateful to our customers, family, friends and other Peak District and Derbyshire businesses for their support. A big special thanks also to the Visit Peak District & Derbyshire team for their support and training over the last 5 years.
“At myGuidedWalks, we are committed to providing unforgettable walking and nature based experiences in the Peak District National Park for our guests, and we will continue to work hard to make the best it can be.”

Ed Burrows D.L., Co-Founder of Wildhive Callow Hall, Bronze winners in the Small Hotel of the Year category, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received an award for Wildhive Callow Hall at this year’s VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. The team are so proud to receive such recognition from the panel of judges as one of the top hotels in the country. Everyone involved with Wildhive has worked so hard to open the hotel and ensure amazing experiences for our guests and now as we approach our two year anniversary this September, we have lots to celebrate!”


Image credits:
Mandatory credit: VisitBritain/Daniela Luquini
Permitted usage: Editorial use only

For press enquiries, contact Amy Noton at 07387 141590 or


More information on the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence can be found at:

About Visit Peak District & Derbyshire
Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s mission is to develop and grow a successful and sustainable tourism economy, working closely with a wide range of partners to make the Peak District and Derbyshire the destination of choice – regionally, nationally and globally.
Visit Peak District & Derbyshire is the lead partner of the Visit Peak District, Derbyshire and Derby Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP), in collaboration with Visit Derby.
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