Visit Winchester > Blog > Gold accolade for our Winchester Visitor Information Centre

Gold accolade for our Winchester Visitor Information Centre

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Winchester’s Visitor Information Centre has won the top award of Gold at the Beautiful South Tourism Awards.

The awards, which took place on Tuesday 12 December in The Grand Brighton, are organised by Tourism South East and celebrate the outstanding achievements of tourism businesses and experiences from across the region.


The Winchester team’s Gold was awarded in the Visitor Information Service of the Year category, sponsored by Services for Tourism.

Our Visitor Information Centre is based in the city’s historic Guildhall and is managed by Winchester City Council. Each year, it provides a welcome and assistance to more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world.

The rigorous judging process for the awards saw the Visitor Information Centre mystery shopped on three occasions: in person; by telephone; and via email. The centre also needed to showcase its commitment to ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism, amongst other criteria.

Cllr Thompson (second L) and Sarah (R) accept the award. Credit: Nick Williams

Cllr Lucille Thompson, Winchester City Council Cabinet Member for Business and Culture, said: “I was delighted to attend the awards in person and it was a real honour to be able to go up to the stage with Sarah Harfield who runs our Visitor Information Centre to receive the award on the team and the council’s behalf.

“Getting to the nomination stage of the awards is a feat in itself and I’d like to thank the team for putting in such a lot of work to secure it. I send huge congratulations to them on this success.

“Our Visitor Information Centre supports local artists and producers, tourism and hospitality businesses, in addition to encouraging visitors to make the most of their time in Winchester, which supports our visitor economy. The excellent work of the team plays a crucial role in ensuring that visitors will then go on to recommend our great city and district to others.”

Fran Downton, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said “We could not be prouder of all our wonderful finalists at this year’s Beautiful South Awards. They have all worked incredibly hard throughout 2023 and it is our pleasure to reward and recognise the high standards. They set our region amongst the best in the country.”

The Visitor Information Centre is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and can be contacted on 01962 840500, by e-mailing

Congratulations also go to Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium who won bronze in the ‘Large Visitor Attraction’ category, Oakley Hall Hotel who won silver in both the ‘Large Hotel of the Year’ and ‘Wedding Venue of the Year’ categories and Solent Hotel & Spa for receiving commended in the ‘Wedding Venue of the Year’ category.