We’re thrilled to announce our programme for the 2018 Festival. Brochures are now available at Sherborne Tourist Information Centre in Digby Road and Sherborne Abbey. You will also find them at Waitrose, Sherborne Station, The Post Office (Cheap Street), Budgens and many other locations. Please see our quick guide to what’s on, plus you’ll find a lot more detail in our full programme. Keep visiting our website for in-depth details of individual performances and much more.
Keep a note of important booking information with key dates for this year. Tickets are on sale to patrons only from 13th February and then go on general release from 1st March. In the meantime you can browse and plan what performances you’d love to attend – remember, 70% of all concerts are FREE ENTRY.
We’ve won a number of awards in 2017, with more in the pipeline this year; we will be attending the finals of the South West Tourism Awards in Torquay on 1st February. We look forward to welcoming you to our very special Festival in May and hope you enjoy the programme we’ve put together for you.
John Baker, Festival Chairman
Hot on the heels of winning Gold and joint winner Event/Festival of the Year in the Dorset Tourism Awards, Sherborne Abbey Festival is celebrating once again, having been named today as Finalist in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in the Tourism Event/Festival of the Year category.
Businesses and events from across the South West have been named amongst the Finalists of this year’s Tourism Awards, which saw a record of 645 entries from as far afield as the Isles of Scilly and Wiltshire, Dorset and Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
Festival Chairman and Artistic Director, John Baker, said: “We’re simply thrilled that our volunteer-run festival has gone through to the finals of such a prestigious award. It is a huge accolade to all our team, our sponsors, supporters and patrons. It firmly puts Sherborne and Dorset on the map as a great destination for tourism and events, filling us with anticipation as we prepare to launch the exciting programme for our 19th Festival which runs from 4th-8th May”.
The events and festivals up for Bronze, Silver or Gold and overall Winner in this category are:
- Eat: Festivals, Somerset, eatfestivals.org, @bosfoodfest
- Glas-Denbury Music & Arts Festival, Devon, glas-denbury.co.uk, @GlasdenburyFest
- Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, Dorset, dorsetseafood.co.uk, @DorsetSeafood
- Sherborne Abbey Festival, Dorset, sherborneabbeyfestival.org, @abbeyfestival
- The Contemporary Craft Festival, Devon, craftsatboveytracey.co.uk, @craftfestival
Judging involved judges poring over entries, studying website and review sites, looking at use of social media and 416 business visits, most of them unannounced mystery visits. Reports and recommendations were then submitted to an independent panel which made the final decisions.
The awards have seen a further increase in entries since 2016, reflecting their importance to entrants in showcasing the quality of their offering and as well as giving benchmark ideas for future improvements. As stated by Liz Lamport from Bulleigh Barton in Devon, a Finalist in the Dog Friendly Tourism Business category: “We really feel that the whole awards process has allowed us to develop our business.”
The awards will be presented at a black tie dinner in the Arena at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay on 1st February, the culmination of a 10 month programme. They are also the official scheme for the South West, with many finalists also nominated to represent the region in the national VisitEngland awards in April 2018.
Up to six finalists have been announced in each category, but all will have to wait until 1st February to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Awards Ceremony.
Richard Stanbrook, Director of headline sponsors South West Water Business, commented: “As headline sponsors for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards, South West Water Business continues to be fully committed to the prosperity of this important and thriving industry – helping businesses save money, improve their green credentials and capitalise on their long-term sustainability.
We’re privileged to be sponsoring the Tourism Awards again this year and wish the very best of luck to all the finalists.”
Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the Awards, commented: “Excellence is elusive. It requires patience, vision, consistency, commitment, drive, hard work, skill and often a bit of money. That’s not an easy list and I’d like to commend this year’s finalists for once again blowing the socks of the judges. You are a credit to tourism and the region is proud of you.”
The full list of Finalists can be seen HERE
Please follow the Awards on Twitter at @SWTourismAwards and Facebook www.facebook.com/swtourismawards/ The Hash tag is #SWTAwards
‘Just beautiful’ as the Festival wins in the Dorset Tourism Awards
After much anticipation, we’re delighted to announce that Sherborne Abbey Festival has won GOLD in the 2017 Dorset Tourism Awards, jointly awarded BEST EVENT/FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR. This is a huge achievement and we held our own against very tough competition. Judges deemed our Festival to be ‘Just beautiful’ and we couldn’t agree with them more.
We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of Sherborne Abbey and the PCC, our Presidents, Patrons and sponsors and the other churches and schools who participate. We especially thank our very many volunteers, and our Festival Committee, who work tirelessly throughout year to make the event the huge success it has become.
Thank you, and here’s to the 19th Festival coming up next year from 4-8 May. John and Jacqui Baker
Read all about the finals below:
BIGGEST EVER DORSET TOURISM CELEBRATION AT LIGHTHOUSE
A record audience of 297 guests witnessed 66 trophies being presented to tourism businesses from across Dorset at the Dorset Tourism Awards dinner, held for the first time at The Lighthouse in Poole on Thursday 16th November.
Now in its fifth year, the Awards broke all records in celebrating the best of Dorset tourism and also as the route for Dorset businesses to win in the South West and national Visit England awards. This year saw 4 new categories for Spa & Wellbeing, Active & Sporting, Artistic & Learning Experience and Guided Tour at the celebratory dinner, with awards presented by national tourism leader Bernard Donoghue.
All parts of the county saw winners – from Swanage and Portland to Cranborne and Blandford Forum, from Ferndown to Lyme Regis, Christchurch to Sherborne, Bournemouth to Poole. Winners had been through a rigorous judging process involving initial study of entry forms and online presence, a programme of visits – often mystery visits – and ending with decisions by an independent panel.
Amongst the winners were two big surprises: an ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ award to Katie Davies at Moors Valley Country Park, for going the extra mile in researching and looking after autistic visitors, and the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism’ award to the Jurassic Coast Team, for their long-term contribution to the coast and helping put Dorset on the international map.
The prestigious Winner of Winners trophy went to a business just 2 years old, Loose Reins, who also picked up two Gold awards. Another double Gold winner was The Town Mill in Lyme Regis, whilst Moors Valley Country Park, All Hallows Farmhouse – Cookery School and Mellulah Therapy & Yoga Retreats took the other attraction and experience Golds.
Food and drink Golds were collected by The Acorn Inn, Guildhall Tavern and Taste Café at Chesil Beach, with accommodation Golds going to Dorset House B&B, Higher Moor Farm, Rockley Park, Christchurch Harbour Hotel, Greenwood Grange, The Alexandra Hotel and The Grange at Oborne.
Cross-sector Golds went to Golden Acre Holiday Bungalows for being Dog Friendly, BOD Bournemouth for Access and Inclusivity, and Bagwell Farm Touring Park for Sustainable Tourism. The Visitor Information Gold was awarded to Swanage Information Centre with the Italian Villa taking Gold for Venue and Business Tourism, whilst the Tourism Event category saw joint Golds awarded to the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival and Sherborne Abbey Festival.
Nick Fernyhough of headline sponsors Saffery Champness said: “Saffery Champness Accountants are delighted to be the headline sponsor for the fifth consecutive year. Tourism within the UK is an ever-growing sector, particularly in the light of the exchange rate movements due to Brexit. We are keen to see that Dorset is well placed to attract as much business and attention as possible, by delivering the highest quality product possible. These awards reward and celebrate that excellence which is essential in this sector.
“We wish congratulations to all the finalists at this year’s awards. Standards have, as always, been particularly high.”
Chairman of the Judges, Professor Peter Jones commented: “As chairman of the Dorset tourism awards judging panel I’m delighted to report that the work of the panel becomes harder year-on-year. This is not just because of the number and the quality of the applications, but is a reflection of the commitment of the tourism businesses of whatever size and type in enhancing and developing the true authentic Dorset visitor experience.”
The Dorset Tourism Awards have seen year on year growth since their launch in June 2013. Robin Barker, who has developed the awards from first concept to their current success has been delighted with progress, saying: “This year has seen record entries, more sponsors and our biggest Dorset event ever. Many congratulations to all the winners, who we look forward to working with in their quest for ever higher standards.”
Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will now be fast tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2018 and possibly on to the National Visit England Awards in April 2018.
The full list of winners can be seen HERE
Photos from the evening can be downloaded free of charge from http://nickwilliamsphotographer.co.uk/p90363110
Twitter @DorsetTourAwds HashTag #DorsetTA