SEVERN Valley Raillway, an Abberley hotel and Hartlebury’s Worcestershire County Museum have reached the finals of an award to recognise businesses that make staying in the county special.

The railway has steamed ahead in the Worcestershire Welcome awards and is a finalist in the visitor attraction of the year - along with the county museum - and the outstanding customer service category.

Abberley’s Elm Hotel and Spa has been nominated for the hotel of the year.

People have been voting online, by post and text for their favourites and the awards, which are in their third year, have received more votes than ever.

Judges will now visit the shortlisted businesses before deciding on the winner for each category.

They will be looking at their use of local produce, potential to increase tourism in the area and also a strong knowledge of the local area.

The awards aims to recognise businesses that go the extra mile to make a stay in Worcestershire special and the winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 17 at the Malvern Showground.

They will scoop a plaque and be fast-tracked to the relevant category of Visit England’s national awards. The runners-up will be presented with a framed certificate.

Simon Tipple, Destination Worcestershire manager, said: “We’re delighted to see the awards grow every year and it is always interesting to discover new businesses being nominated each year. The diversity of the tourism offering in Worcestershire is fantastic.”