West Dorset tourism businesses are celebrating after cleaning up at an industry awards ceremony.

It was a successful night for businesses in Bridport and Lyme Regis which were acknowledged for excellence at the Dorset Tourism Awards.

The awards saw a record amount of entries and more sponsors than ever before in what was the biggest event ever with an audience of almost 300 and 66 trophies being presented.

Now in its fifth year, the awards celebrate the best of Dorset tourism and also as the route for county businesses to win in the regional and national awards.

West Dorset was well represented and a host of local firms came home with a number of top accolades. Gold winners included Dorset House, Lyme Regis (bed and breakfast), Golden Acre Holiday Bungalows, Bridport (dog friendly business), Town Mill, Lyme Regis (guided tour and small attraction) and the Acorn Inn, Evershot (tourism pub).

Theresa Tiso, of Golden Acre Holiday Bungalows, said the evening was ‘amazing.’

“We did not expect to get gold,” she said. “We had heard from local businesses how wonderful the competition was so we thought we’d give it a go.

"We had a visit from a mystery shopper and didn’t think much would happen. All of a sudden we were there and they were calling bronze, silver and then it was us. It was amazing. I can’t describe it.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

GOLD: Golden Acre Holiday Bungalows

Speaking of the reason for their success, Ms Tiso said: “People love it here. It’s so peaceful and people can bring their dogs and go for a nice walk along the beach.”

Nicky Taylor, of the Town Mill, is delighted with the attraction’s double win.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Gold: Tourism Town Mill

“We feel like we’re punching above our weight,” said Ms Taylor.

“We’re delighted, especially as we’re a small charity that relies on volunteers.

“The experience is great because you get lots of feedback. We wanted to do at least as well as last year when we got silver for small attraction and we got gold. We thought we’d just try the guided walk category and got gold in that too, which is amazing. It was really special for our volunteers, some of whom have been with us since right at the beginning. It was great for them to see what has been achieved.”

Chairman of the Judges, Professor Peter Jones said: “I’m delighted to report that the work of the panel becomes harder year-on-year.

"This is not just because of the number and the quality of the applications, but is a reflection of the commitment of the tourism businesses of whatever size and type in enhancing the true authentic Dorset visitor experience.”