The finalists have been announced for the New Tourism Business of the Year category at the East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024.

This award recognises high performing new tourism businesses that are demonstrating excellent understanding of their market, exceeding the expectations of their customers and with clear plans for future development.

Fire and Feast Suffolk

Fire and Feast Suffolk is a family farm near Halesworth that offers rustic dining, outdoor cooking workshops and wild meadow camping in the heart of the countryside.

The campsite and summer dining offering first launched in June 2022, and the business has continued to grow since then.

The giant on-site tipi and potager garden welcome local visitors and campers throughout the summer as well as hosting weekly pop-up suppers and Sunday brunch.

As nights draw in, the tipi moves inside to provide a cosy venue for special events such as stargazing and storytelling evenings, and opportunities to showcase local guest chefs.

Meanwhile, the woodfire cooking workshops, first launched in 2023, provide visitors with the opportunity to cook on an open fire with produce harvested from the kitchen garden.

The judges found Fire and Feast to be a “charming and tranquil location to escape to from the rigours of everyday life”. They praised the “excellent customer care” as well as the food and facilities and said that “the workshops and events provided are of a high standard”.

They also commended owners Chris and Judith Mobbs’ focus on the community combined with their efforts to “welcome the world to an increasingly rare experience of living in genuine countryside”.

Eastern Daily Press: Potters Resorts Five Lakes opened in May 2022, and has earned a five-star accreditation from Visit EnglandPotters Resorts Five Lakes opened in May 2022, and has earned a five-star accreditation from Visit England (Image: Potters Resort)

Potters Resorts Five Lakes

Potters Resort, a family business rooted in Norfolk for 103 years, offers all-inclusive short breaks at its five-star resorts in Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk, and more recently in Maldon, Essex.

It acquired the 320-acre Five Lakes Resort in Essex in 2021 and, following the acquisition, has invested £20 million to transform it from a corporate venue into a unique all-inclusive holiday destination exclusively for adults.

The resort opened in May 2022, featuring new kitchens, three restaurants, guest lounges, indoor and outdoor sports facilities and a brand-new state-of-the-art theatre, as well as a spa facility and golf club that remain open to non-residents. Since then, it has been fully booked year-round and has quickly earned a 5-star accreditation from Visit England.

Everything is included in the all-inclusive break price, including all sports, leisure and activities, day and night entertainment including West End style shows, four meals per day and free drinks throughout.

The judges said that “there was so much to do for all tastes” at Potters Five Lakes Resort, “with every game under the sun provided to entertain active guests and great facilities for relaxation too”.

They also called the indoor complex “very impressive” and had high praise for the personal commitment of managing director John Potter, whose approach “is what hands-on management looks like”.

Eastern Daily Press: The Bell Hotel in Saxmundham underwent a million-pound refurbishmentThe Bell Hotel in Saxmundham underwent a million-pound refurbishment (Image: The Bell Hotel Saxmundham)

The Bell Hotel, Saxmundham

The Bell Hotel in Saxmundham, Suffolk, has a rich history dating back to the 13th century and has been part of the Beales Hotels group since early 2022.

Under the new ownership, The Bell underwent a million-pound refurbishment, introducing new dining and bar areas, four-star bedrooms and accessible rooms, state-of-the-art kitchen, terrace space, reception area and the new Coach room for private dining and meetings.

Its 19 dedicated staff members strive to offer impeccable service, while the highly rated restaurant serves up fresh seafood and local produce. The hotel’s location also makes it well placed for exploring Suffolk’s coast.

All of this led to the hotel being recognised as “one of the hottest new places to stay in the UK” by The Independent in 2023, and it has also featured in the Sunday Times and other national publications.

The judges noted that their visit to the Bell Hotel was “much anticipated after reading all about the improvements made”.

They felt that all staff were “extremely welcoming” and “everything was to a very high standard in all areas”, including a great range of local food and beverages.

They also recognised Beales Hotels’ commitment to make the hotel accessible and sustainable and said that “they have put in the work and deserve the rewards”.

The winner of the New Tourism Business of the Year category will be announced at the East of England Tourism Awards ceremony at Snape Maltings, Suffolk on Thursday, February 15. For more information, or to purchase tickets for the event, please visit

To see the finalists in all categories, click ​here.