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Sherborne cruises into record books as international visitors from European liners head for Castles and Town

International visitors to Sherborne are up by almost a third this year according to the Sherborne Tourism Information Centre. This is down to a combination of coaches from the nearby port of Portland which include Sherborne on their itineraries for cruise liners and coach parties from countries including Germany, the Netherlands and France. Rick Drake, Shore Excursion Manager from European Cruise Service UK, said that this summer around 15 coach loads of German cruise passengers had visited Sherborne and absolutely loved it. “Since we added the beautiful market town of Sherborne with its historic Abbey and two castles to our list of itineraries for our cruise guests we have seen an increase in the numbers of people who want to experience this cinematically favoured town for themselves.”

The increase in group travel visitors this year may well be attributed partly to the celebrations surrounding the 300th anniversary of Britain’s most famous landscape gardener, Capability Brown, who played a major role in the design of the grounds at Sherborne “New” Castle. Its grounds, including a 50 acre lake, are regarded as one of the most significant 'Capability' Brown landscapes in the country. Autumnal hues are particularly stunning with reflections of autumn colour in the lake.

The 16th century Castle was built by Sir Walter Raleigh and opening times and admission fees can be seen on www.sherbornecastle.com .

Visitors walking down into the Town are thrilled by the stunning setting of the Almshouse and the magnificent Abbey with its famous fan-vaulted roof, recognised as the earliest great fan-vaulting in England, and possibly the finest.

For a slice of Victorian history, visitors can go to Castleton’s Steam and Waterwheel Centre to see the steam powered waterwheel. The Museum and the variety of architecture to be found in Sherborne’s main high street (Cheap Street) are other attractions which set the Town apart. Aside from the historic buildings Sherborne also offers shopping, a variety of markets and a wide choice of cafes and restaurants, plus a sprinkling of free lunchtime concerts. In addition there are many regular and special events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, fairs and fireworks.

The Town gives a warm Dorset welcome for coaches and the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has a welcome pack which includes vouchers for free tea or coffee for the driver. As well as a coach park and a drop-off point by the TIC the town has a number of convenient car parks. There are public toilets by the coach park and by the TIC drop-off point.

Situated in the northern part of West Dorset Sherborne is conveniently on the A30, near the A303 and, if a group travels by train, it is on the main train line from London Waterloo to Exeter. Bristol, Exeter and Southampton are all within an hour and a half’s drive and it is only thirty miles from the Portland Cruise Terminal. Sherborne can offer a full day out or fits well into a day which may be taking in such sights as The Cerne Giant, Gold Hill in Shaftesbury or Stonehenge.

Contact Sherborne Tourist Information Centre for details and info about the area: sherborne.tic@westdorset-weymouth.gov.uk or visit www.sherbornedorset.co.uk.

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Release Date: 14th September 2016

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