As flight costs abroad are set to soar in order to claw back the billions of pounds lost in the ash cloud fiasco (see Villaseek Blog for full story), it’s nice to know that there are some wonderful places to visit here as the cream of English tourism was marked by the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2010 in Brighton on St George’s Day.

A total of 46 gold and silver winners were selected from more than 100 regional winners submitted by the nine regions in England. These were assessed by independent assessors and a team of judges to make it through to the national final.

The National Trust won the VisitEngland’s Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award for its role as the bastion of some of England’s most beautiful and outstanding attractions.

VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said: “The fantastic diversity and quality of tourism product across the length and breadth of England means we can compete confidently on the international stage, making this country a must visit destination for Brits and overseas visitors.”

Brian Richardson, executive secretary of The Caravan Club, headline sponsor of the awards, said: “We know these award winners will be beacons of inspiration for many other tourism companies to follow.”

The gold winners were:

Access for All Tourism Award – imago at Burleigh Court, Loughborough, Leicestershire (East Midlands)

Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation – The Old School, Alnwick, Northumberland (North East)

Best Tourism Experience – Livingstone Lodge Overnight Safari, near Hythe, Kent (South East)

Business Tourism Award – ExCeL London (London)

Caravan Holiday Park – Trethem Mill Touring Park, Truro, Cornwall (South West)

Large Hotel (Over 35 bedrooms) – Thurlestone Hotel, Kingsbridge, Devon (South West)

Large Visitor Attraction (Over 100,000 visitors) – RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey (South East)

Outstanding Customer Service – Christina Dixon, Jurys Inn Hotel, Liverpool (North West)

Self Catering Holiday of the Year – Blakelow Farm Holiday Cottages, Winster, Derbyshire (East Midlands)

Small Hotel of the Year (Under 50 Bedrooms) – Gilpin Lodge Country House, Windermere, The Lake District (North West)

Small Visitor Attraction (Under 50,000) – Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham (The Heart of England)

Sustainable Tourism Award – Crown Spa Hotel, Scarborough (Yorkshire)

Taste of England Award – The Bildeston Crown, Bildeston, Suffolk (East of England)

Tourism Event – Blackpool Illuminations, Blackpool (North West)

Tourist Information Service – Nottingham Tourism Centre, Nottingham (East Midlands)

Also voted for were the quirkiest events in England, a selection of those that are coming soon are below:

Worcestershire Asparagus Festival – between April 23 – May 31 in Evesham, Worcestershire

World Egg Throwing Championships – 27 June at Swaton Vintage Day near Sleaford in Lincolnshire

Annual World Nettle Eating Contest – 12 June in Marshwood in Dorset