Suffolk: Belle Grove wins gold in VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

A COMPLEX of five luxury self-catering cottages in Suffolk has been named among the Gold award winners in the 2012 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

Belle Grove, at Westhall, near Halesworth, was created three years ago by Jo Jordan and her husband Nick Fisher by converting redundant buildings on the family farm.

Nick undertook much of the building work himself while Jo focused on the interiors, which feature an eclectic mix of furnishings

“It was a big job; it involved a very considerable commitment,” said Jo. “From a business point of view, it’s proving considerably more profitable than farming is at the moment and we actually quite enjoy the fact of having our visitors, our guests. We enjoy meeting them.”

Belle Grove received a Gold award in the Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year category. Suffolk’s other representative in the finals, the British Larder pub-restaurant at Bromeswell, near Woodbridge, picked up a “highly commended ” certificate in the Tastes of England category.

Madalene Bonvini-Hamel, launched British Larder with chef Ross Pike with the aim of promoting good local produce.

“It’s an amazing achievement and we are just so proud that we could do something special for Suffolk, that we could bring something to the table of Suffolk. It just underlines that Suffolk is a county to watch out for,” she said.

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Other honours for the East of England at the awards, held in Leicester, included a Bronze for BeWILDerwood, near Wroxham in Norfolk, in the Large Visitor Attraction category, and a High Commended for Kelling Heath Holiday Village, near Sheringham, Norfolk, for Sustainable Tourism.