Top attractions in line for tourism awards
The top tourist attractions in the West Midlands will be going head to head at a prestigious awards ceremony tonight.
A total of 43 attractions will battle it out in 15 categories at the inaugural West Midlands Tourism Awards, which will be held at Birmingham University's Great Hall.
More than 131 million people visited the region in 2018, a 2.6 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
The industry contributed £12.6 billion to the area's economy, an increase of 6.7 per cent according to West Midlands Growth Company, which has organised the awards.
The winners from each category will go through to Visit England Awards for Excellence in June.
The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley will be taking on Birmingham's National Sea Life Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company in the large tourist attraction category.
For the small attraction category, the historic Aston Hall will be taking on the Jaguar Land Rover experience in Solihull, which off-road trips and manufacturing tours. The FarGo creative quarter in Coventry and William Shakespeare's old school room also make the shortlist.
In the Experience of the Year category, textile artist Bobby Britnell from Craven Arms will take on the Jaguar Land Rover experience as well as the Positively Birmingham Walking Tours.
Birmingham Hippodrome will be up against the Royal Shakespeare Company for the Accessible and Inclusive award.
The category for self-catering accommodation is an all-Shropshire affair, with Burlton Cottages near Shrewsbury taking on the grade II listed Ironbridge View Townhouse and Penny Black Cottage at the former post office in Coalbrookdale.
Broom Park Farm in Cleobury Mortimer will take on Avonlea and Victoria Spa Lodge, both in Stratford-upon-Avon, for the Guest House of the Year category.
Hencote Vineyard near Shrewsbury and Hopleys Family Camping in Bewdley are both in the running for the Holiday Park of the Year award, alongside Etties Field in Atherstone, and Hill Farm Glamping near Southam, both Warwickshire.
Brockencote Hall at Chaddesley Corbett, near Kidderminster, has been nominated for the Small Hotel of the Year Award, alongside Baraset Barn in Stratford-upon-Avon.
In the Large Hotel of the Year award, Malmaison in Birmingham will take on Mallory Court in Leamington Spa and Coombe Abbey in Coventry.
Coombe Abbey is also shortlisted for Business Events Venue of the Year, where it will compete with Birmingham's International Convention Centre and Warwick Conference Centre.
The Hive cafe and bakery in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is in the running for the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism award, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company which has been praised for making its performances accessible to as many people as possible.
The Coracle micropub in Ironbridge will take on the 400-year-old Howard Arms in Shipston-on-Stour and Millstone Hare in Southam, Warwickshire for the Pub of the Year title.
Go Cotswolds, which operates guided day tours, and Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon have both been nominated for the International Tourism award.
In the New Tourism category, Stratford's Hotel Indigo takes on the town's Shakespeare Distillery, with the Positively Birmingham walking tours also nominated.
In the Taste of England award, Esquires Coffee, based in Coventry Transport Museum, will be up against The Butchers Social at Henley-in-Arden and Turmeric Gold restaurant in Coventry.