The Judging

Judging is carried out by an independent panel of past winners, industry leaders and experts in their field, selected for their impartiality, experience and suitability for each category. 

The initial (Round 1) judging will be based on the information provided on your entry form along with your online presence and reviews.  Judges will also be looking for evidence of your commitment to accessible and inclusive tourism and ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism.

Judges will also be looking at how your website and social media encourage visitors to come to the area in the first place, how they are inspired to choose your business, the information you provide and how it is viewed on different media (tablets, smartphones etc).

Each will be scored, based on your answers; if a question is left blank you will not receive a score.

Selected businesses may be visited (mystery shopped where possible) by independent mystery shoppers (Round 2). 

Visits differ according to category with the following summary outlining how these take place:


Round 2 Judging Visit


Unannounced and overnight visit, including lunch, evening meal and/or breakfast as appropriate

Visitor Attractions, Spa & Wellbeing Experience; Active or Learning Experience

Unannounced day visit (with pre-booked tickets if required)

Pubs, Cafes, Casual Dining, and Restaurants

Unannounced day visit including relevant meal (with pre-booked reservations or appointment if required)

Dog Friendly Business

Unannounced visit, but with the option for a pre-booked announced visit if necessary

Visitor Information

Unannounced visit, as well as email, telephone and/or social media queries

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism; B&B and Guesthouse; Business Event Venue; Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park; Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism; International Tourism;New Tourism Business; Self Catering Accommodation; Wedding Venue

Pre-booked announced day visit

Unsung Hero and Tourism Event

No judging visit normally required

Please note that it is a requirement of entry that entrants agree to waive or refund the direct costs of a mystery visit should a mystery visit be arranged – eg admission tickets, accommodation, meals, treatments etc dependent on the category you have entered. The mystery visitor will present you with a letter of authorisation stating this after their visit, please advise your staff in advance that this may happen to avoid confusion.  Receipt of your entry is taken as agreement to this requirement. 

The decision on which entries receive awards will be taken by a judging panel which will consider mystery shop reports, websites and other available evidence. Their decision will be based on the evidence available at the time and will be final. The timing of the process means there can be no appeal process for the current year’s awards. Should any entrant consider that inaccurate evidence has been considered as part of the judging they should raise this with the awards coordinator at the earliest possible stage; such appeals may be taken into account in judging for the subsequent year.

All entrants will receive summary feedback. 

The winners, normally a combination of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards per category, will be announced at the awards ceremony. 

Eligible winners from the VisitEngland core categories may be selected to represent the area in the national VisitEngland Awards.

By submitting a completed form to us you have agreed to be bound to our terms and conditions of entry. Any data you provide will be handled in accordance with our privacy policy.

Good Luck