The Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent was awarded the highest accolade in “Large Tourist Attraction of the South East” category last night at the Tourism South East’s Regional Awards for Excellence – The Beautiful South Awards.

L-R:John Williams (TSE); Pam Wood and Bill Ferris OBE (The Historic Dockyard Chatham); Phillippa Harris (Take One Media)

The annual Beautiful South Awards recognise businesses and destinations across the tourism industry for their exceptional levels of customer service and dedication to raising standards. A high number of entries to the prestigious awards led to an impressive shortlist with winners announced by hosts Tourism South East – John Williams, Chairman and Sue Saville, Managing Director.

Admiral Sir Ian Garnett KCB, Chairman of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said; “I was thrilled to witness The Historic Dockyard Chatham win Gold Award for the best Large Visitor Attraction of the Year. It is the whole team – whose outstanding service to our visitors – has made this possible. We fought off stiff competition and can all be very proud of what has been achieved and grateful for the wholehearted commitment of permanent and volunteer staff alike. We now go forward to compete for a place in the short list for the national awards.”

Bill Ferris OBE, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust added; “This is our reward for careful strategic investment and superb tactical marketing. We are supported by great partners, and have a team of incredibly dedicated people who add the extra sparkle that makes the real difference to visitors that come to this amazing place”.

The judges said; “The Historic Dockyard Chatham has been extremely successful and recently completed restoration works have helped see visitor numbers swell. The blend of history, education and enjoyment, with good interpretation mean they are worthy winners.”

Judge and Tourism Specialist Ken Robinson CBE FTS added; “Some heritage tourism is easy to get right and some is difficult – getting The Historic Dockyard Chatham to the standard it is today has been a difficult task. It’s such a large, diverse site with many stories to tell but working in partnerships has helped, as has excellent marketing.”