2023 has been a year during which the range of the experiences we lead has broadened.
During the Pandemic recovery period since 2021, footfall and visitor numbers have significantly decreased around the town , reflecting the national trend. Unsurprisingly, Sherborne Abbey and Sherborne Castle remain popular destinations within the town. This has resulted in Sherborne Walks focusing on regional tours, rather than town tours. The Shell House and Sherborne Bombing tours remain well supported, but the historic town tour less well supported.
However, all is not doom and gloom. Cruise liner holidays have recovered very quickly, particularly for clients from the USA & Canada. At the same time, Portland Port has expanded its cruise liner volume, so as guides, we have focused on the opportunities to lead day or half-day coach tour groups to key sites around the region . Corfe Castle, Athelhampton House & Cerne Abbas, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Bath and Abbotsbury Swannery and Tropical Gardens have become very familiar destinations.
Paul has also been using his knowledge of Cornwall to lead week long residential Discovery Tours for HF Holidays based in St Ives. As usual, these have also been extremely well received and, as can be seen on Sherborne Walks Trip Advisor. positively reviewed. Julia, has also been busy leading the training for the next generation of South West England regional Blue Badge tour guides and expanding the range of her already vast experience, by successfully becoming a qualified Wales guide.
So what have learnt? The 2023 season has been very successful and raises the possibility for us to work with local coach firms to organise local tours in the future. Paul continues to work with the University of the West of England to develop a new Sherborne focused walk to acknowledge the fascinating 1831 Riot in the town. The Castle Estate also continues to support a different aspect of this planning, having hosted the Riot exhibition during this summer. Look out for a new experience in 2024. During the coming low season, we will probably develop more themed walks around the town, and eagerly await the re-opening of Sherborne House to the public.
So, as usual, we look forward to greeting new and past clients over the coming months.