The team from the Swanage Information Centre has won Gold in the Dorset Tourism Awards 2024 and in other categories, there was a Silver award for National Trust’s Corfe Castle and Bronze for the Swanage Carnival team.
The annual Dorset Tourism Awards took place at Weymouth Pavilion on the evening of Thursday 1st February 2024, with 62 finalists competing across 22 categories.
Pleased to scoop Gold! Left to right: Katherine Watson, Sarah Tattersall, Charlotte Walker, Swanage town mayor Tina Foster and Swanage Town Council visitor services manager Culvin Milmer
Swanage Information Centre is the go to place to find out more about the town and the surrounding area
Hub of information
Swanage Information Centre, which also won Gold in 2019, came top again in the visitor information services category, beating Upton Country Park Visitor Welcome Centre which got Silver.
The information centre in Shore Road along the seafront is run by Swanage Town Council providing a hub of information for residents and visitors. The team have also just launched a new website Visit Swanage.
Alongside having a vast resource of knowledge about the area, it also serves the town by reuniting lost property and selling interesting local produce.
Swanage Town Council visitor services manager, Culvin Milmer said:
“We simply weren’t expecting to win Gold this year, particularly as we knew there was strong competition in this year’s award. But winning Gold at the Dorset Tourism Awards again demonstrates that the Swanage Information Centre Team continues to provide first class customer service to visitors to Swanage.
“I am so proud of my team whose passion for Swanage shines through in all of their work.”
The Gold award for Swanage Information Centre
The Dorset Tourism Awards presentation evening was held at Weymouth Pavillion
Making Corfe Castle accessible
By the very nature of being perched on a rocky hill, the National Trust’s Corfe Castle is not easily accessible but that hasn’t stopped the visitor services team from coming up with ideas to give more people the chance to experience the visitor attraction.
Winning Silver in the accessible and inclusive tourism category was a real coup for the National Trust, who were only beaten to Gold by the newly refurbished Dorset Museum in Dorchester. The Tank Museum at Bovington picked up Bronze.
National Trust general manager for Purbeck, Tracey Churcher said:
“We have been working really hard to improve accessibility in its widest sense; from power assisted chairs to BSL interpretation, alongside offering community passes to local schools to ensure everyone can enjoy their local heritage.
“It’s amazing to have this recognised by a Silver award in the Dorset Tourism Awards
Receiving Silver for accessible and inclusive tourism were Sophie Trenchard (centre) and Zoe Squirrell (right) from the National Trust’s Corfe Castle visitor experience team
Introducing more facilities at Corfe Castle to help people explore more
Shining example of a well organised event
With Bovington’s Tankfest 2023 and Bournemouth’s Arts by the Sea 2022 also in the running in the tourism event / festival of the year category, Swanage Carnival was up against some tough opposition. Having not entered before in recent times, Swanage Carnival did well to pick up Bronze.
The annual eight day festival at the beginning of the summer school holidays is the largest event along the South Coast but still manages to maintain a very local feel to the event.
With a traditional parade, fireworks, music and plenty of fun games, it’s a shining example of a well organised event that not only covers its costs but also manages to donate thousands of pounds to local good causes.
Chair of Swanage Carnival, Darren Strong said:
“To be nominated with such other great events is testament to our hard working and very dedicated volunteers without whom the event simply wouldn’t happen!
“As a totally self-funding organisation with a long and rich history, Swanage Carnival has now become a much anticipated date in the Dorset calendar. We really couldn’t run this event without the generosity of our sponsors and all the people who help us without hesitation.
“A huge thanks also to the people of Swanage who support us unconditionally. We look forward to this year’s carnival with new events and will be announcing our theme for 2024 in the coming days! Thanks again to our committee and friends of Swanage Carnival.”
Happy to win Bronze against tough competition. Left to right: Swanage Carnival secretary Kevin Langdon, treasurer Mandy McDonald, presdient Kevin Lyons and chair Darren Strong
The carnival would never happen without all the volunteers who get stuck in!
Holiday parks, camping and caravanning
Other Purbeck winners at the Dorset Tourism Awards included Durdle Door Holiday Park which won Silver in the holiday park of the year category.
While in the camping and caravanning park of the year category, Wareham Forest Tourist Park won Gold and Norden Farm Campsite took the Silver.
The inviting swimming pool at Wareham Forest Tourist Park helped it win Gold