From the outset, we wanted our cottages to be of the highest quality without impacting on our local environment. Starting from scratch, we designed and converted the barns with this in mind.
We followed the Visit England self-catering guidelines with the cottages being part of NQAS, (the National Quality Assessment Scheme) since we opened. We have been graded at 5 Star from the outset and Five Star Gold from that schemes introduction.
We also wanted to make sure that we are limiting the environmental impact of the business and joined GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme) and have had the Gold accreditation since 2007.
Enjoy England Excellence Awards
Higher Wiscombe was awarded the VisitEngland Gold award for the best Self-Catering Business in England in 2007/8. A break was then taken from entering the regional awards. In 2016/17 Higher Wiscombe was awarded the VisitEngland Gold award for the best Dog-friendly Business in England. These are the highest accolades in British Tourism, known as the ‘Tourism Oscars’. Very few businesses have won two Golds.
National Quality Assessment Scheme (NQAS)
This the National Quality scheme used by many thousands of quality self-catering establishments in the UK. It is the leading independent assessment available and each cottage is fully inspected and assessed annually. In England the National Tourist Board, Visit England, oversees the scheme.
We have been graded Five Star each year since we opened and have had the additional Gold Award, given to the highest performing properties, every year since this award was added to the assessment. Within this scheme we have additional assessments made, making sure we have everything on site to comply with the Walkers Welcome, Cyclists Welcome and Dogs Welcome schemes.
We are also graded at Five Star Gold by the AA and have added this accreditation since 2019. This is one of the best recognised brands in holiday assessment.
National Accessible Scheme (NAS)
This scheme, also overseen by Visit England, checks properties for their suitability for NAS and is the nationally recognised rating to ensure that accommodation meets the needs of people with physical and sensory needs. We have been awarded a Mobility 1 grading, for our Flint property, showing that it is suitable for either elderly guests, or guests who for many reasons may have mobility issues. We are applying for the same level go grading to e applied to The Winery, now ee have built the extension.
Premier Cottages is not an agency, it’s a marketing collective of the finest self-catering properties in the UK. Guests book directly with the owner. (Higher Wiscombe does not use any agencies). It has been successful since it was formed in 1997 and we joined in 2005 with Premier Cottages providing the majority of our bookings since then.
Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS)
This scheme assesses our business from over 200 performance aspects every other year. We have been Gold Award holders for eight years and in 2012 and 2014 were short-listed for being one of the greenest businesses in the UK. In 2014 we were runners up in their self-catering awards and were given a special Goldstar Award for contribution to Green Tourism.
Jurassic Coast Quality Business Scheme
This is a local Quality Business marque for businesses adjacent to the World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast. We have been partners since inception and have raised money in support of this important asset. We can help you discover this amazing natural site.
South West Coast Path
We have always been supporters of this great organisation, Alistair was their Chair for five years, helping particularly with fund-raising. We are now Business Members and can point you to the best walks on the SW Coast Path.
East Devon Excellence
This is a local Membership organisation that works together to help visitors find the best places to stay, play and eat in East Devon. On arrival you will be given a useful map to help guide you whilst you are staying with us.