Two golds for the Montague Arms

By | Category: Travel news
As the Mary Rose Museum looks like from HMS Victory

As the Mary Rose Museum looks like from HMS Victory

Last week the winners of the Tourism South East Awards were announced and the Montague Arms in the New Forest was the only entrant that won two of the awards It scooped both the best small hotel and the flavour of the south east awards.

Starting with how visitors and tourists are treated, the Visitor Information Provider of the Year was won by the Gravesend Visitor Information Centre in Kent and Clair Ratcliffe-Speakman from Coworth Park, which is in Ascot in Berkshire, won the Outstanding Customer Service Award. There aren’t many awards that reward customer service let alone encourage young people so one of the standout awards that Tourism South East offer is that of best tourism newcomer. That went to Alison Twomey from Ride the Hill.

The Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award went to that recent success story, the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth (which also should have won the Art Fund Prize this year but missed out, narrowly, I’m told.  The Turner Contemporary and Marwell Zoo were the silver award winners. The small visitor attraction was won by the Owl & Monkey Haven on the Isle of Wight whilst the silver went to the WWT Arundel Wetland Centre in Arundel. Industrial heritage sites are becoming increasingly popular with visitors so it is, perhaps, fitting that the best community tourism business was awarded to the Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum.

The tourism event of the year went to the Hampshire Food Festival and the tourism experience of the year went to the Livingstone Lodge Overnight Safari Experience which is on the Port Lympne Reserve in Kent.

Chewton Glen Hotel in the New Forest was the large hotel of the year Swan House in Hastings won the top award in the B&B and guest accommodation category whilst Crowhurst Park in Battle picked up the gold in the holiday park and village category. There were joint winners in the Self Catering Holiday section and they were Corner Cottage at Nettlecombe Farm Holidays on the Isle of Wight and Blackwood Forest near Winchester. The Pointer at Brill in Buckinghamshire won the pub food category.

Oxford Bus Company won the main award in the Access for All Tourism section and Jury’s Inn in Brighton collected the sustainable tourism award

Please remember the usual comment. Not every tourism organisation enters awards so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the best in each category won, just that the best of those which entered did. It does give us though, some guidance on where others think that we might visit, stay and eat.

All of the winners in the south east will go forward to the national Visit England’s Tourism Excellence Awards in 2015

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