THE Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Award winners have been announced for 2020/21, in a virtual ceremony on Thursday night.

The Castle at Taunton placed third in the Large Hotel of the Year category, while Taunton's Great Western Hotel was recognised in the Small Hotel section.

Carol Byrne - head housekeeper at The Castle - was one of the 'Unsung Heroes' to receive an award.

Kit Chapman, The Castle owner, said: "Warmest congratulations to our Carole Byrne, head housekeeper of over 20 years.

"All at Team Castle are hugely proud of you."

West Somerset performed well, too, with Cross Lane House (Allerford), The Luttrell Arms Hotel (Dunster), Red Stag Safari (Cutcombe) and Stockham Farm Exmoor (Dulverton), plus Antony Brunt (of Yarn Market Hotel, Dunster), all earning awards.

Husband and wife business partners Billy and Ellen Rowlinson run the hotel and restaurant at Cross Lane House, and they were delighted to win Gold, Silver and Bronze awards.

Billy said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the awards and would like to take this opportunity to thank our guests, customers and local community.

"You have stuck by us throughout the last 12 months, buying vouchers, booking advance stays, buying takeaways and telling your friends about us - we really do appreciate the support.

"We are super excited for our re-opening, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to enjoy all that Exmoor has on offer.”

Ellen added: “To have received this level of recognition in such prestigious awards has been so encouraging, especially after what has been a tough start to business.

"It has given us a huge boost to just keep on going!

"We are so proud of how far we come in this short space of time.

"We would like to take this opportunity to also thank our team and our suppliers - without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Mendip attractions The Cross at Croscombe (Wells), Glastonbury Abbey, The Middlewick (Glastonbury), The Old Stables Bed & Breakfast (Shepton Mallet), Pennard Hill Farm (Shepton Mallet), and Wild Wookey Adventure Caving Experience and Wild Wookey Hub (Wells) were all winners on the night.

There was award recognition for Nick White, of the Somerset-wide Wassail Theatre Company, as well as the 'eat' festivals which are due to run events in the likes of Burnham-on-Sea, Minehead, Taunton and Wellington later this year.

The awards were presented by Giles Adams and Somerset-based awards organiser Nell Barrington, who said: “I was humbled to hear the stories from these amazing businesses overcoming adversity and to see their excitement about welcoming back visitors.

"It has given me a bucket list of places to visit this year, and I look forward to the time when I can celebrate with them all in person.

"They have all worked so hard and rightly deserve this recognition."

Emma Thomasson, of Visit Exmoor, said: “Congratulations to all the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards finalists.

"Visit Exmoor are delighted to sponsor the awards and could not be prouder of our remarkable tourism businesses across the area.

"In a very challenging year they have proved themselves to be robust and adaptable, operating at the highest of standards.

"This year's awards once again underlines the quality of offering that visitors can experience in the area.”

Full list of winners

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall (Gold); Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare (Silver)

Active or Learning Experience of the Year: Savouring Bath (Gold); West of England Falconry, Bath (Silver); Wild Wookey Adventure Caving Experience, Wells (Bronze); Red Stag Safari, Cutcombe (Commended)

B&B and Guest House of the Year: The Old Stables Bed & Breakfast, Shepton Mallet (Gold); Blackmore Farm, Cannington (Silver); Old Church Farm, Rudgeway (Bronze); The Cross at Croscombe, Wells (Bronze)

Café & Tearoom of the Year: The Almshouse Tea Shop, Axbridge (Gold); Dr Fox’s Tearoom, Weston-super-Mare (Silver)

Camping & Holiday Park of the Year: Long Hazel Park, Sparkford (Gold); Brook Lodge Farm Camping, Glamping & Touring Caravan Park, Redhill (Silver)

Dining Experience of the Year: Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham (Gold); The Olive Tree Restaurant, Bath (Silver); THE PIG-near Bath (Bronze); The Restaurant at Cross Lane House, Allerford (Bronze); The Babbling Brook Inn, Shurton (Commended)

Dog Friendly Business of the Year: The Old Vicarage Hotel and Restaurant, Bridgwater (Gold); Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham (Silver)

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall (Gold); Esme's Escape, Crewkerne (Silver); Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare (Bronze)

Glamping Business of the Year: Esme's Escape, Crewkerne (Gold); Tractors and Cream, Othery (Silver)

Large Hotel of the Year: The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, Bath (Gold); Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham (Silver); The Castle at Taunton (Bronze)

New Tourism Business Award: Cross Lane House, Allerford (Gold); Stockham Farm Exmoor, Dulverton (Silver); The Old Vicarage Hotel and Restaurant, Bridgwater (Bronze)

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism: John Turner - VisitSomerset

Self Catering Accommodation of the Year: The Apartment, Bath (Gold); The Middlewick, Glastonbury (Silver); Stockham Farm Exmoor, Dulverton (Bronze); Frederick Place - Your Apartment, Clifton (Commended); Pennard Hill Farm, Shepton Mallet (Commended)

Small Hotel of the Year: The Queensberry Hotel & Olive Tree Restaurant, Bath (Gold); Cross Lane House, Allerford (Silver); Backwell House, Backwell (Bronze); The Luttrell Arms Hotel, Dunster (Commended); Berkeley Suites, Bristol (Commended); The Great Western Hotel, Taunton (Commended)

Spa and Wellbeing Experience of the Year: Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham (Gold); The Middlewick, Glastonbury (Silver)

Tourism Event/Festival of the Year: eat:Portishead (Gold); Glastonbury Abbey - Night at the Abbey (Silver); Festival in the Clouds, Clevedon (Bronze)

Tourism Innovation Award: Savouring Bath (Gold); Blackmore Farm, Cannington (Silver); The Middlewick, Glastonbury (Bronze)

Unsung Hero Award: Carol Byrne - The Castle at Taunton; Tor Webster - Tor's Tours, Glastonbury; Nick White - Wassail Theatre Company; Andy Childs and Annette Healey - Wookey Hub, Wells; Antony Brunt - Yarn Market Hotel, Dunster

Visitor Attraction of the Year: Wild Place Project, Bristol (Gold); Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall (Silver); Brunel's SS Great Britain, Bristol (Silver); American Museum & Gardens, Bath (Bronze)

Visitor Information Service of the Year: South Somerset Visitor Information Centre - SSDC