Kent Tourism Award Winners Announced

Published on 29th November 2017

The wait is over for all the Kent businesses shortlisted for the first ever Kent Tourism Awards 2017.

Following a round of public voting to find the best attractions, accommodation and pubs in the county, the seven Kent winners were announced at the awards ceremony in London on Friday afternoon (24th November)

The awards were devised and launched by destination specialists Go To Places - who deliver Visit Kent - to reward exceptional standards of customer service and outstanding visitor experiences within the local tourism industry. 

Following an initial round of judging by an expert panel of independent tourism judges from outside the county, the shortlisted finalists were decided by public vote across social media and the Visit Kent website. More than 4,300 people voted for the winners in the end.

All Herts nominees attended an afternoon tea reception at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, with tea, cakes and Biddenden Vineyards English sparkling wine, before the winners of each category for Kent were finally revealed.

The winners are:

Rest Your Head Award (Small Accommodation Provider of the Year) – Elmley Nature Reserve, Isle of Sheppey

Happy Family Award (Family Friendly Business of the Year) – Penshurst Place & Gardens, Penshurst

Big Sleep Award (Large Accommodation Provider of the Year) – Eastwell Manor, a Champneys Spa Hotel, Ashford

Big Day Out Award (Large Visitor Attraction of the Year) – Leeds Castle, Maidstone

Hidden Gem Award (Small Visitor Attraction of the Year) – Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel le Ferne

Raising the Bar Award (Tourism Pub of the Year) – The White Horse, Dover

Lasting Impression Award (Ultimate Tourism Experience of the Year) – Canterbury Medieval Pageant, Canterbury Connected Business Improvement District, Canterbury


The winners will now also get the chance to go forward to the national Awards for Excellence operated by VisitEngland (subject to VisitEngland eligibility criteria).

Go To Places represents both Visit Kent and Visit Herts destination management organiations, and both destinations were represented at the awards reception. 

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, CEO of Go To Places, said: “We were thrilled by the response to these awards in their first year, from the number of applications and nominations to the huge response from the public to vote for the winners, all rounded off with a wonderful celebratory ceremony.

“The tourism industry deserves to be championed, and we hope these awards inspire more business to deliver incredible visitor experiences, and more people to explore the big and small gems on their doorstep.”

The awards were sponsored by M Assessments, Biddenden Vineyards, Brachers, Heart FM, Quin Estates, Quality in Tourism, Shepherd Neame, Sleeping Giant Media, and Pillory Barn.

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