Island businesses hold their own in South’s tourism awards

By Chris Cornford Feb 1, 2021

In a challenging year for tourism, Isle of Wight businesses are still shining as finalists in this years’ Beautiful South Awards.

The prestigious competition is run by regional organisation Tourism South East and Island businesses compete against businesses from across the south.
Finalists for gold, silver or bronze awards on the Isle of Wight include Away Resorts at Whitecliff Bay, Osborne operated by English Heritage and new tourism business Camp Wight, a wild camping site at Ningwood.

Gemma Cowley from Camp Wight said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been named as a finalist in the New Tourism Business category of the Beautiful South Awards. We are very much a fledgling small family business.
“To be shortlisted as one of the top three new tourism businesses in the South of England is a fantastic recognition of the work of all our family, including our two children. We can’t wait to find out how we’re placed on March 4th.”

Island businesses commended in their category include Vernon Cottage at Shanklin Old Village.
Susan de Vere, joint owner with her husband Paul said: “We are delighted to win this huge accolade. It is an enchanting place. We are thrilled our unique ‘Isle of Wight Shaped Scones’ – made by Paul every morning – and our signature ‘Old Shanklin Pie’ and fresh homemade food can win this fantastic recognition – together with our beautiful Award-winning eco-friendly sunny Tea and Beer Gardens which are my passion.

“We also thank all our fantastic tearoom and restaurant staff plus the local volunteers who help man our Shanklin Tourist Information point in the Gift Shop, all of whom make Vernon Cottage world class.”

Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight, welcomed the announcements. He said: “Congratulations to all the businesses who have been shortlisted or commended for the Tourism South East Beautiful South Awards – it is a testament to the hard work of people here on the Island to continue to strive to make their tourism offering the very best it can be. I wish you all good luck for the awards night in March.

“Being in lockdown people are looking forward to when the time is right to visit again. These businesses show that they are among the best in the South of England and will put the Isle of Wight at the forefront of potential visitors’ minds, but not until the time is right.”
In 2019 Hovertravel’s Lorry Middleton won gold in the Customer Service category, eventually going on to win the national competition as Visit England’s Tourism Superstar in 2020.
The Beautiful South Awards will take place online on March 4.


Isle of Wight Beautiful South Awards Finalists and Commended 2020/21

Camping and Holiday Park of the Year

Away Resorts Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park (silver award winners in 2019 and 2018)

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year


New Tourism Business of the Year

Camp Wight

Restaurant, Café & Tearoom of the Year

Vernon Cottage Tearoom (commended)

Self Catering Accommodation of the Year

Nettlecombe Farm (commended)
Tapnell Manor & Farm Cottages (commended)