Dorchester’s Shire Hall scooped silver in the best Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category at last night’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

The team said the award was a ‘huge honour’ and a ‘real testament to the hard work of all the staff and volunteers.’

The social justice museum received a silver award together with other finalists The Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath and the River Dart Country Park in Devon. Salcombe Distilling Co in Devon won gold.

Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum Director Anna Bright said: “This is a real honour for us – especially being up against the biggest and best attractions from across the South. We’re delighted that while Shire Hall is a small museum, it packs a big punch and we’re very proud to be representing Dorset.

“We always try and do things differently here – we aren’t a stuffy museum! From rum tasting nights and business breakfasts to our Half Term Pirate and Halloween weeks, we truly try to have something for everyone. We couldn’t put on all the events we do, and have as much fun as we have, without our dedicated staff and volunteers, so this award really is a testament to them. Thank you all so much!”

Following their win at the Dorset Tourism Awards last year, Shire Hall was fast tracked to the South West Tourism Excellence Awards which were held in Exeter Cathedral last night. (Feb 6) The South West Tourism Awards celebrate excellence across the South West each year with a black-tie evening.

To plan your visit to Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum and find out about the piratical events coming up this Half Term, visit or call 01305 261849.

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