Visitor Centre Wins Top Tourism Award

Shepherd Neame’s Visitor Centre has been rewarded for its eco-friendly efforts with the Gold Award in the Sustainable Tourism category of this year’s Beautiful South Awards.

Organised by Tourism South East, the honours recognise excellence and significant contribution to the tourism industry across the region. The Sustainable Tourism Gold Award is given to a business that demonstrates proven commitment to sustainable best practice.

One of Kent’s leading attractions, Shepherd Neame offers award-winning tours and dining experiences, and also hosts corporate and private functions including weddings in its Visitor Centre and Old Brewery Store events venue. Its eco-friendly practices include creating a new interactive display to share its green story, introducing a bigger range of recycling bins, and expanding its online booking system so the events team now works in a virtually paperless office. The catering team and brewery shop source from local suppliers wherever possible, and Shepherd Neame also participates in the Big Bus Guide, and works with Southeastern Trains to encourage visitors to use public transport to visit tourism destinations around Kent and East Sussex.

It is the latest in a string of awards in recent months for the Visitor Centre and its staff, which include a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme and VisitEngland Best Told Story accolade. Catering manager and wedding functions co-ordinator Samantha Jeal also won the Unsung Hero Award for Customer Service in last year’s Beautiful South Awards.

The winners of the Beautiful South Awards were announced at a ceremony in Southampton on Thursday, November 24. They will now go on to represent the South East in VisitEngland’s national Tourism Excellence Awards in April 2017.

Visitor Centre manager Graham Hukins said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award. We were up against some tough competition as there were 46% more entries than last year. A special mention must go to our Green Team Leader Helena Barber, who co-ordinates our sustainable practices. We are committed to ensuring that our day-to-day working practices are as eco-friendly as possible, so it is fantastic to have our hard work recognised in this way.”

To book a tour of Shepherd Neame or for more information about other special events, call 01795 542016 or visit