Three West Midlands businesses have won prizes at the annual VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which celebrate the best of the country’s tourism industry.

The Hive Café and Bakery, located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, earned gold in the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award. Birmingham Hippodrome won silver in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism category and The Howard Arms in Ilmington, Warwickshire, picked up a bronze award for Pub of the Year.

The venues were among 19 winners announced during a virtual event hosted by television personality Julia Bradbury, having been successful at the inaugural West Midlands Tourism Awards in February. 

The ceremony also recognised the business events industry – including NEC Birmingham – for its work to support England’s Nightingale Hospitals as part of a special Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award.

Becky Frall, Head of Visitor Attraction at the West Midlands Growth Company – which aims to attract visitors, investment and events to the region – said:

“Congratulations to the tireless tourism professionals at The Hive, Birmingham Hippodrome and The Howard Arms for winning awards and representing the West Midlands on the national stage. 

“It has been a testing time for everybody working within the tourism sector and we continue to offer support for all of our visitor economy partners as they recover. This event gave us the opportunity to thank those across the West Midlands who deliver unforgettable experiences for the millions of people who visit the region each year.

“We look forward to shortly launching our 2021 West Midlands Tourism Awards, where we will celebrate and recognise the businesses and individuals who have demonstrated particular innovation, resilience and compassion during the current pandemic.”

Suzanne Carter, Team Leader for the Heritage Programme at The Hive Café and Bakery, said:

“The gold award for our Café and Bakery was really unexpected and means so much to all of us who work at The Hive and at Ruskin Mill Trust. 

“This is a unique venue, and the hard work that our staff and students put into the roof top farm means that we are able to serve a fresh and seasonal organic menu, where the ingredients are delivered with student footprints rather than carbon ones.

“We are working up our plans for reopening in mid-September with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and purpose, thanks to this wonderful award from VisitEngland, and cannot wait to start feeding people again.”

Now in its 31st year, the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry, highlighting those who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer. The full list of winners is here.

For more information about the West Midlands’ tourism highlights, log on to makeitwm.com.