Accessibility Info

We believe everyone should be able to enjoy inspiring musical performances, regardless of means or ability.  70% of all Festival performances are free entry and others are affordably priced, with a programme to suit all tastes and age groups.  We look forward to welcoming you to Sherborne.

Festival accessibility information at Sherborne Abbey:

Sherborne Abbey’s Head Verger, Andrew Cross (who holds a Diploma in Social Work and Higher Education, with particular experience in disability awareness) acts as Concert Manager as well as Vulnerable Adults Officer for all Festival events.

Andrew Cross and Second Verger Stuart McCreadie are also trained first aiders.

Andrew and his team of volunteer stewards ensure anyone who needs assistance is helped appropriately and discreetly.

Please ask any one of the Festival team if you require assistance of any description – they will be more than happy to help.

Pre-Arrival

We hope you find our website useful to plan your visit to the Festival. Our site endeavours to conform to level A of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. If you need any help to make the website more accessible on your own browser, please see our useful Website accessibility guide.

www.sherborneabbeyfestival.org, includes directions, travel information and suggestions of places to stay, dine and visit during your stay in Dorset.  View the accessibility guide for local hotel, and Festival supporter, The Eastbury or contact individual nearby accommodation venues for their information.

The nearest railway station is Sherborne which is a 5 minute walk from Sherborne Abbey. There are various bus services to Sherborne from adjacent towns and villages including Dorchester, Yeovil, Shaftesbury and Blandford.

The town offers a number of taxi services (including adjacent to the station). For more details on any of these services when planning your journey, please visit www.sherbornetown.com, for train services www.thetrainline.com or call Sherborne Tourist Information Office on 01935 815341.

Please see the West Dorset Guide for visitors with additional needs – it includes useful information for the area, including Sherborne.

Car Parking

There is no parking within the Abbey Grounds or at any of the Festival venues. Please use the public car parks in Sherborne, in particular Culverhayes Car Park which is just a 5 minute walk from Sherborne Abbey. Direction map to that car park is available on the ‘Venues’ page of our website or visit www.sherbornetown.com for further information. There are some on-road parking spaces available nearby, subject to parking restrictions and Blue Badge regulations in force at the time.

Grounds and Pathways

Sherborne Abbey is a beautiful 8th Century stone building with a wonderful fan vaulted ceiling, built on a slope with a vehicle accessible driveway leading from Half Moon Street to the front of the Abbey.  A level walk with a smooth stone access ramp gives access to the Abbey through wide opening double doors allowing entrance to the interior. Wheelchair access seating is available in all of the main areas of seating for concerts, when notification is given at the time of ticket purchase.

There are some uneven paths approaching the Abbey entrance, predominantly ancient cobbled and paved pathways. If you are unsteady on your feet or require wheelchair access we advise you approach the Abbey from Half Moon Street which has a wide paved path, entering via the main entrance gates which has a flat tarmac surface.

Arrangements can be made for disabled visitors to be dropped off directly outside the abbey and met by stewards who will escort them to their seats.

The Abbey grounds, which are well lit throughout the evening, offer extensive grassed areas and public benches/seating.

Evacuation

In the event of any emergency, please take note of the evacuation procedure printed in the Festival Brochure and announced before each performance. Emergency exit is through the Great West doors, South West doors, South East doors and North East doors which are manned by stewards during concerts who will direct you onto Abbey Close in the event of an emergency.

Please note the following venue enhancements are also in place:

  • Entrance: The Abbey’s South West porch has a permanent access ramp and extra wide doors. There is a portable ramp for wheelchair access to the Lady Chapel.
  • Aisles: There are extra wide aisles throughout for easy access and certain seats can be removed to incorporate wheelchair users.
  • Staging: New staged seating has steps back and front or easy and safe access.
  • Mobility: Visitors with mobility issues can be dropped off by the venue’s entrance, where trained volunteers are on hand to assist them to appropriate seating for their needs.
  • Guide/Assistance Dogs: are welcomed and water can be provided on request.
  • Hearing: There is a fully operational induction hearing loop, referred to in the programme and in the opening remarks to ensure maximum awareness. The Abbey’s sound system has been fitted by local company Godden & Curtis.
  • Fire & Emergency: There is a fire Alarm system fitted with evacuation procedure in place (details printed in the programme and announced before each concert).
  • Visibility: We have brand new staging in the Abbey so that performers are as visible as possible. The Abbey has a state of the art lighting system for maximum enjoyment of performances.
  • Viewing the organist: We have a camera (installed by local company T2 Digital), screen and projector for organ recitals so that the audience can see the organist perform, who would otherwise be hidden out of sight in the organ loft.
  • Seating: Cushions are available to hire on arrival for extra comfort in the pews.
  • Comfort breaks: There are low-level flush WC facilities available for your convenience at the Digby Church Hall opposite the venue.

We look forward to welcoming you. If you have any queries or require to make arrangements for assistance in advance please contact us via our website contact page.

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