Shepherd Neame’s Visitor Centre at its Faversham brewery has been named a ‘Hidden Gem’ in VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Accolades.
The Visitor Centre in Court Street, Faversham, was named among nine winners in the South East that go the extra mile to provide a high-quality day out.
The accolade follows an annual assessment under the scheme, which took place in the summer when inspectors took part in a brewery tour.
Inspectors praised customer care throughout the tour, as well as cleanliness and all aspects of the tour, which takes visitors through the brewing process, as well as looking at the history of the business, and topped off with a tasting of a selection of the brewer’s award-winning beers, naturally!
They said of the tour: “Content remains very good and is well-paced and informative, without being too technical,” adding: “Customer care was to a high standard throughout the tour”…“very good use of anecdotes and ad hoc historical references were engaging and a very good knowledge of the brewery and brewing process was evident.”
Shepherd Neame’s 80-minute tour around its historic Faversham Brewery site involves seeing brewing and fermentation vessels; tasting natural mineral water from the brewery’s well; trying some malted barley and smelling locally-grown Kentish hops. The tour also includes a visit to the Old Brewery Store, housed in the old wines and spirits store, which features impressive displays of historic delivery vehicles, a recreated coopers’ workshop, bygone pub signs and a collection of hop picking memorabilia. It ends back in the Visitor Centre with a tutored tasting of Shepherd Neame’s Kentish ales and speciality lagers, before visitors have the chance to visit the Brewery Shop and pick up a souvenir, gift or some of their favourite beer.
Shepherd Neame Head of Customer Relations, Giles Hilton, said: “We are delighted that our Visitor Centre has been recognised as one of the country’s top visitor attraction experiences.”
“Thousands of people enjoy our brewery tours each year, learning more about Britain’s oldest brewer. It is a testament to the hard work and welcoming nature of our team members and all those behind the scenes who play a part in the production process, that we have received such an accolade.”
Marks were allocated to 97 attractions across the country for the outstanding experiences they provide to visitors across categories including Welcome, Best Told Story, Quality Food & Drink, Hidden Gem and Gold for overall winners.
Introduced in 2014, the Attraction Quality Scheme accolades are available to VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme participants. They are supported by a network of highly-trained and experienced assessors who advise them on improving and promoting the quality, accessibility and sustainability of their offer.
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “It’s so exciting to see our brilliant attractions providing outstanding experiences for visitors and to recognise and showcase the variety and quality across the country.”
“England has unmissable visitor attractions and experiences that deliver world-class customer service. They also provide the warmest of welcomes and unforgettable storytelling that connects the whole experience, including retail and food and drink offers that exceed expectations.”
Tourism is one of England’s largest and most valuable industries, employing about 2.6 million people and, in 2019, generating £76 billion in domestic visitor spending.
To book a tour at Shepherd Neame’s Visitor Centre, visit here: