Held at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on 24 November, the glittering ceremony celebrated the fantastic visitor experiences available across the whole of the South and South East of England. Established over 20 years ago, the Beautiful South Awards reward excellence, quality, innovation and customer service and this year there was record number of entries.
Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said, “Achieving excellence isn’t easy – it takes vision, years of commitment, hard work and talented people. All of the finalists can be proud about their achievements and the example they are setting for others to follow. I want to thank headline sponsor Shepherd Neame and the rest of our sponsors who make the Awards possible and the judges who give their time and expertise voluntarily. Sometimes the margin between businesses is tiny and they have the unenviable task of deciding between them.”
Ali Ditzel, Director of Chiddingstone Castle, added, “I was completely bowled over to receive this prestigious award for the Castle and to be voted amongst the very best of visitor attractions in the South of England – even to have been selected as a Finalist had been beyond my wildest dreams! Chiddingstone Castle is a private charitable trust and receives no public funding to keep this unique historic house and its remarkable museum collections open to the public. To think it was only eight years ago that the Trustees were within hours of making the decision to close the doors and disperse the collections forever. The small team that runs the Castle have worked tirelessly to turn its fortunes around and this accolade is testimony to their creativity, tenacity, commitment and sheer hard work!”
Pictured above: Ali Ditzel, Director of Chiddingstone Castle receiving the award from sponsor Chris Todhunter, Director of Studio Republic (left) and Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism South East (right)