WEST Dorset businesses have reached gold standard at this year's Dorset Tourism Awards.

Firms gathered at the Dorset Tourism Award ceremony at the Tank Museum in Bovington, when the awards were handed out.

Highlands End Holiday Park in Eype joined the Symondsbury Estate and Lyme Bay RIB Charter - who all won gold at this year's prestigious tourism awards.

Highlands End, which also won gold in 2013 enjoyed a bumper record-breaking year, welcoming more than 18,000 visitors to Eype.

The holiday park received gold this year for the best camping, caravanning and holiday park of the year.

Martin Cox, managing director of Highlands End Holiday Park, said: “We are delighted to win gold holiday park of the year.

"It recognises the fantastic work of our entire team over the last 12 months, for which I’d like to congratulate them.

"The Dorset Tourism Awards is a valuable tool for businesses such as ourselves to boost our profile and the profile of Dorset as a whole as one of the best tourism destinations in the country.”

Lyme Bay RIB Charter fought off competition from national businesses, the National Trust and Go Ape to take their second gold award.

Simon Miles, owner and director of Lyme Bay RIB Charter, said: "To pick up an award is very good, but to go back in and get another gold award is really something to be proud of.

"I am very proud of the company and the team and to maintain that standard is extremely pleasing."

Symondsbury Estate received a gold award in the self catering establishment of the year category, while Symondsbury Kitchen claimed a bronze award in the café and tearoom of the year category.

Most of the food at the Symondsbury Estate is locally sourced and the vegetable garden provides herbs, salads and vegetables throughout the year.

Julia Butcher, marketing manager of Symondsbury Estate, said: “I’ve been involved with the growth of Symondsbury Estate over the last four years and to see us achieve these two fabulous awards is amazing.

"The hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of all the staff has finally been recognised in the winning of these two prestigious awards. Congratulations to everybody that has been a part of it. We look forward to the South West Tourism Awards in February next year."

Aroma Coffee House & Kitchen, Lyme Regis was named cafe and tearoom of the year , while Lyme Bay Rib Charter, based at West Bay, was named tourism activity, sport and experience of the year.

Fernhill Hotel in Charmouth received the silver prize in the sustainable tourism award.

For a full list of bronze, silver and gold Dorset Tourism Award winners, please visit dorsettourismawards.org.uk