Five Things to do with Your Elderly Parents in Sherborne, Dorset
Sherborne is a charming market town steeped in history and the ideal place to spend quality time with your elderly loved one. We have selected five of Sherborne’s best attractions for you to explore together.
- Sherborne Walks
- Sherborne Steam and Waterwheel Centre
- Acreman St. Antiques and Interiors
- Sherborne Museum
- Sherborne Abbey
Sherborne was once described as the “prettiest small town in Dorset” by writer and journalist Sir Simon Jenkins. This jewel in the English countryside sits in the Blackmore Vale, a vast rolling area with rotating bands of limestone and clay soils. The name Sherborne comes from the Saxon “Scir Burn” which means “clear stream”.
Sherborne is a charming market town steeped in history and the ideal place to spend quality time with your loved one. We have selected five of Sherborne’s best attractions for you to explore together. Sometimes popular attractions are not included because they are not suitable. Sherborne Castle is an example: although it is a fascinating site to visit, there are too many stairs and uneven walking areas for it to qualify as an ideal location for you and your loved one.
Time together is an opportunity to escape everyday routines and explore something new. Whether your loved one receives live-in care in Dorset, care at home, elderly, dementia or companion care, the advantages of outings for both you and your loved one can be transformative and offer the opportunity to create new memories together.
Engaging and enthusiastic, expert Cindy Chant is a popular Blue Badge tourist guide in the area, offering short walking tours through Sherborne. Blue Badge Tourist Guides are recognised professional guides operating throughout the UK. Walking tours begin at the Tourist Information Centre, and Cindy leads you through the heart of Sherborne, then on to the Abbey Green, Almshouse, the Conduit and other favourite sites nearby. The whole tour takes one and a half hours and is an ideal way to experience Sherborne.
Walking is an excellent and low-impact form of exercise for the elderly. Regular walks offer health benefits, including reducing hip fractures by up to 50 per cent for those over the age of 45. Balance and heart health are improved, the risk of falling and blood sugar levels are both lowered, and walking can help to manage chronic pain. Gentle walking just three times per week for 20-minute periods can strengthen abdominal and back muscles, thus reducing back pain.
Sherborne Steam and Waterwheel Centre
An educational insight into the genius of Victorian engineering, the Centre is in the original pump house which holds a giant restored waterwheel. It measures an impressive 26 feet in diameter, with a ventilated bucket system that was invented by William Fairbairn. Also on display is the oldest iron waterwheel in England, called Nether Cerne Manor Waterwheel and built in 1819 by Maggs of Bourton. A team of dedicated local volunteers maintain the wheel and love answering visitor questions - we recommend you tie your visit in with their monthly open day to take advantage.
Acreman St. Antiques and Interiors
This treasure trove is full of gems for every budget and taste, as well as a wide range of objects including coins, stamps, medals and badges, ceramics and glass and furniture. Acreman St Antiques houses 40 traders over two floors in 11 rooms, offering antique and vintage pieces of every sort from around the world, up to the 1970s period.
The Flame Lily Tearoom serves lovely light lunches and is the perfect location for you to compare bargains and catch up.
Sherborne Museum is a curation of local historical artefacts dating from prehistory until today. Tucked away in Sherborne Abbey’s former Almonry (the traditional building for alms distribution), this is the first volunteer-run museum in the Dorset area to receive full accreditation.
Their commitment to an inclusive experience for all has been given a boost with the recent addition of a Sensory Trail - of particular interest for loved ones who would benefit from a tactile sensorimotor experience. General Manager Elisabeth Bletsoe has said, “We aim to make our museum as touchy-feely as possible and away from the traditional stuffy image.”
Because of its heritage listing, the museum is unable to install a stair lift, but there is wheelchair access throughout the ground floor and a screen offering a virtual tour.
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Sherborne Abbey offers 13 centuries of history in a tranquil, breathtaking setting. Renowned for its fan-vaulted ceiling, the Abbey architecture and fascinating history are a big draw for visitors. Founded by St Aldheim in AD 705, the Abbey is the burial site for two Saxon kings as well the place where Sir Walter Raleigh attended weekly church service. Make sure you ask for the “mirror trolley” to enable you to explore the architecture without hurting your neck.
Sherborne Abbey is celebrated for its music and offers a lively calendar of concerts, a few featuring their award-winning choir. The classical music concerts are plentiful, especially during the annual music festival in May. The Abbey also offers organ recitals every Wednesday lunchtime.
Accessibility at Sherborne Abbey is excellent. Enter the Abbey via Half Moon Street to take advantage of the level path leading to the wide entrance doors. The south-west porch provides a permanent access ramp. There is also a portable ramp providing wheelchair access to the Lady Chapel. The interior of the Abbey has extra wide aisles, wheelchair seating and an induction hearing loop.
Research has suggested that classical concerts are a fantastic way for all of us to improve our quality of focus, inviting us to switch off from the modern bustle and be transported into a world offered by a piece of music.
The power of music also has a profound and positive effect on the elderly, particularly those with communication difficulties, dementia and those recovering from a stroke. Experts believe music can access and connect with some crucial parts of the brain better than most forms of communication. The result is a calming, inspirational and engaging experience.
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