New tourism awards acclaim for Festival

New tourism awards acclaim for Festival

(Image shows Sir James and Lady Galway, stars of the 2014 Festival)south_west_2014_-_2015_finalistCelebrations as Sherborne Abbey Festival hits a high note with judges from top South West and national tourism awards

The all-volunteer organisers of Sherborne Abbey Festival are celebrating news that the Festival is a Tourism Event of the Year finalist in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2014/15, having been judged from 425 entries across 16 categories.  Announcement of the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will be made at an awards ceremony in next February.  It is also one of just 89 finalists selected as part of ‘Team South West’ who will be going through to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in May 2015. This follows hot on the heels of the Festival’s recent success at the Dorset Tourism Awards last October when it was awarded Silver and runner up Dorset Tourism Event of the Year.

Festival Founder, John Baker, said: “Tourism is key to our event and we are thrilled to be acknowledged for our commitment to promote all that Dorset and the South West has to offer.  As a volunteer-run, charitable event it is a real accolade to be recognised for our support of local charities and initiatives for music and the arts. Our outstanding event, held in historic locations with Sherborne Abbey at its centre, attracts acclaimed international performers and visitors from around the world. The Festival not only boosts Sherborne’s local economy but has helped put Dorset and, now the South West, on a higher tourism platform which makes us extremely proud”.

This year’s the South West Tourism Excellence Awards attracted entries from as far afield as the Isles of Scilly in the West to Salisbury in the East and Cirencester in the North.  Successful entries from the Cornwall, Devon and Dorset Tourism Awards were all considered, alongside direct entries from Wiltshire, Somerset, Bath, Bristol and Gloucestershire.

The awards are the official tourism awards for the region and form the regional heat of the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, to which eligible winners will now progress. The full list of Finalists and Highly Commended entrants can be found HERE

For further information contact John Baker

Images from the 2014 festival can be downloaded at

Visit the South West Tourism Awards website

Visit the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence  website


Dorset Tourism Awards success

Dorset Tourism Awards success


Sherborne Abbey Festival has been awarded SILVER in the 2014 Dorset Tourism Awards, making it runner up winner for DORSET TOURISM EVENT OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Bournemouth University School of Tourism).

Judges particularly praised the contribution the Festival makes to Sherborne, called it ‘A huge boost to the local economy’.

Festival Founder, John Baker, said: “Tourism is key to our event.  We make a real commitment to Dorset and in promoting all it has to offer, so we’re really thrilled to be acknowledged for the part we play in not only attracting new visitors to Sherborne but also growing the local economy and tourism in the county. In doing so, we also raise a considerable amount each year for local charities and initiatives for music and the arts”.

Dorset Tourism Awards launched in 2013, and has gone to new heights this year with an increase in both categories and entries.  The Awards’ main aim is to raise the profile of Dorset as a destination and recognise its top quality and progressive tourism businesses.

Guest Speaker on the night was renowned travel writer Sally Shalam, who shared her insights on tourism and its challenges, her observations on Dorset and her insightful comment that “What counts overwhelmingly right now is the public’s desire to Stay Like a Local”.

Sherborne Abbey Festival promotes tourism all year round by including information on its website about other music and arts events, places to stay, attractions to visit, where to enjoy great local food and drink and links to other tourism information sites; it is already making plans for its next Festival in May 2015.

Festival President, Vicar of Sherborne Canon Eric Woods said: “As the judges remarked, the Sherborne Abbey Festival is a huge boost to the local economy. It was a tremendous achievement for a totally voluntary organisation to be recognised in this way as all the other winners were either major businesses or charities sponsored by national and international companies.”


Dorset Tourism Awards saw an increased 67 entries across 16 categories in 2014, with each going through a three-stage judging process.  Firstly each entry was pored over and scored by tourism professionals; secondly, a programme of visits was carried out, leading to recommendations for each category; and finally these recommendations were considered by an independent panel. Finalists were selected from across the county with businesses and events from Lyme Regis, Poole, Weymouth, Cranborne, Sherborne and Bournemouth amongst the list.

Successful businesses and organisations in the Dorset Awards will automatically be considered for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2015 and then possibly go on to represent Dorset at the National Enjoy England Awards later in the year.

Congratulations to the other very worthy winners in the Tourism Event of the Year category:

Read all about new initiatives by Sherborne Abbey Festival in 2014 and why what it does makes a difference to tourism in Dorset.

Meet all THE FINALISTS from this year’s Dorset Tourism Awards and visit the Dorset Tourism website for a full list of all the winners.

Follow Sherborne Abbey Festival on twitter @abbeyfestival for all the latest about its success!

We’re Dorset Tourism finalists!

We’re Dorset Tourism finalists!

(Picture credit Nick Williams Photography)

We’ve had great news this week that we’ve reached the finals of the 2014 Dorset Tourism Awards in the Tourism Event of the Year category.

Last year we achieved a commended award, which we were delighted with, but this year we already know we’re up for a Gold, Silver or Bronze accolade.  We took on board last year’s useful and constructive review of our entry and made some big improvements in time for our 2014 festival including:

  • A new interactive/responsive website (designed by festival supporter Liz Burt)
  • New branding
  • Improved marketing
  • Greater social media presence

The changes have helped us gain thousands of new followers for the event and, even between festivals, we continue to get hundreds of unique hits to our website every week.

We have made a commitment to tourism, and to Dorset, by adding information here which may be useful to visitors to Sherborne and the rest of the county all year round – including places to stay, attractions to visit, where to enjoy great local food and drink and links to other tourism information sites.  Tourism is key to our event and to Sherborne – so we’re really thrilled to be acknowledged for the part we play in welcoming tourists to the area.

We also happily promote other musical and arts events throughout the year, so if you have something on in Dorset you’d like us to feature here please get in touch.

Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will automatically be considered for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2015 and then possibly go on to represent Dorset at the National Enjoy England Awards later in the year, so for some finalists this is just the start of an even more exciting journey.

Wish us luck on 16th October when we’ll be attending the Awards dinner at Bovington Tank Museum.  Fingers crossed!



Meet all THE FINALISTS and find out more about the awards.



Live Junction at Plush Festival

Live Junction at Plush Festival

Live Junction
Saturday 23rd August, 7.30pm
Interval ~ BBQ serving organic venison burgers & salads*

Tickets £20 / £10 under 16’s
Special offer – free drink included with your ticket
Book online at or
buy tickets on the door
*weather permitting
“Live Junction sessions are always a joyful surprise and delight…they transport you down little known byways with a verve, musicality and cluster of sheer brilliant talents that you don’t often get to see.”
Max Reinhardt – Late Junction, BBC Radio 3


Inspired by BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, Live Junction brings you the best of classical, jazz, folk and world music combined into one inspiring programme led by pianist Holly Cullen-Davies. The evening will feature music from Romania, Ireland and Argentina played by stunning violinist Georgina Leach who crosses seamlessly between classical and folk fiddle, proving the incredible versatility of her instrument. Classical pieces include the powerful and virtuosic Rachmaninov Prelude in G minor and English composer Rebecca Clarke’s Piano Trio, with Adrian Brendel on cello.

Rising star Bruno Heinen brings contemporary jazz from his album Tierkreis, which delicately arranges Stockhausen’s original pieces for Music Box using original boxes that have been passed down through Bruno’s family.

Celebrated singer and violinist Alice Zawadzki brings her distinctive sound to the group with original arrangements of songs from Greece, France and Scotland, while jazz guitarist Kristian Borring joins with new material: ‘Kristian has a hyper-cool and low-key approach to jazz guitar, but reprises it with warmth, confidence and a rhythmic hipness that’s thoroughly contemporary.” (John Fordham, The Guardian). Both artists have just released great new albums this year. Here’s a review of Alice’s China Lane.

in addition, Tommie Black-Roff from Teyr will inspire and delight with his accordion driven nu-folk, while multi-instrumentalist Zoot Lyman joins the group with a surprise or two up his sleeve…


Visiting Dorset for the weekend? We can recommend Places to Stay and more – just get in touch on or 020 3286 1885

Michael Chance at Mapperton

Michael Chance at Mapperton

Michael Chance, Britain’s famous leading counter-tenor, is returning to sing in Mapperton’s All Saints Church at 7pm on Saturday 25 October 2014.  He will be accompanied by forte pianist Maggie Cole, who has also performed at Mapperton before.  Their programme of Schubert and Dowland promises to be special since it will be performed on a 1795 forte piano, the musicians judging that the piano’s tone quality is ideal for both composers.

Tickets are £25 and can be reserved at or 01308 862645.

Visit the events page at Mapperton

Visit Michael Chance’s website

Sherborne Abbey Summer School

Sherborne Abbey Summer School

The programme is now available for Sherborne Abbey Summer School with booking available online.

4th – 6th August 2014

3 Study Days, each exploring an aspect of Christian Spirituality


Each of these three study days considers a particular view of God and how we as his creatures fit into the plans he has for all of his creation. We shall explore the visions of God and creation enacted by Thomas Traherne, the Celtic Church and SS Francis & Clare.

Monday 4th August 2014 10 am – 4pm
A Place in Creation
Dr Elizabeth S Dodd

Tuesday 5th August 2014 10 am – 4pm
Joining the Dance
Revd Sr AnnMarie Stuart F.J., MA

Wednesday 6th August 2014 10am – 4pm
Francis & Clare
Revd Sr AnnMarie Stuart F.J., MA

Each Study Day will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a two hour lunch break from 12-2 pm
Tickets £10 per day, £17 for two days or £24 for all three from the Parish Office on 01935 812452 (office hours only) or call at 3 Abbey Close, Sherborne, DT9 3LQ



Pin It on Pinterest