The South West

The South West

From the taste of freshly pressed cider to the sound of waves lapping the sand, the South West can be a treat for all the senses.

The picture postcard perfection of the Cotswolds and breathtakingly beautiful coastlines of Devon and Cornwall need very little introduction but we will take you deeper into South West England where you’ll make some really special musical memories. Venues in the South West range from majestic cathedrals in some of Britain’s most beautiful cities to bandstands in picturesque settings and we know the very best venues for every ensemble and musical programme. Known for being one of the sunniest corners of England and home to some of the UK’s most popular attractions, when you tour in South West England, you’ll feel a you’re on holiday – with some magical musical moments thrown in for good measure!

Our Tour Highlights

The Cotswolds

From idyllic villages to magnificent cathedrals, we’ll take you on a musical journey to the heart of the Cotswolds. ...more

Avon & Somerset: Cities and Heritage

Industrial Bristol, elegant Bath and England’s smallest city, Wells; three very different cities, one perfect tour steeped in heritage, history and beauty. ...more

Coastal Splendour

With miles of spectacular coastline, picturesque villages and warm weather, the English Riviera is one of the top destinations in the UK. ...more

Great Gardens of Cornwall

The rural heart of Cornwall is blessed with beautiful gardens, giving you the perfect setting for your performances. ...more

Performance Venue Highlights

Wells Cathedral, Somerset

Built between the 12th and 15th centuries, Wells Cathedral has been described as “the most poetic of the English Cathedrals” and its magnificence and striking architecture most certainly reflects this statement. Adjoining the Cathedral is Vicars’ Close, believed to be the only complete medieval street left in England. Music plays a very prominent role in the daily life of the Cathedral which will provide an awe-inspiring backdrop for your performance experience.
  • Perfect for: Choirs and Orchestras
  • Repertoire: Sacred, Classical
  • Performance times: Lunchtime recitals and for a very special concert experience, the cathedral can be hired for an evening concert. During holiday periods, the Cathedral welcomes visiting choirs from close by and from all over the world to sing services.

Trebah Gardens Amphitheatre, Cornwall

Located within a 26-acre sub-tropical paradise, the Amphitheatre at Trebah Gardens is a glorious outdoor performance experience. The venue plays host throughout the spring and summer months to a vibrant mix of theatre, music, stand-up, comedy and puppetry to a very welcoming and enthusiastic audience. The gardens themselves are well worth a visit and are enhanced by its stunning coastal backdrop and private beach.
  • Perfect for: Choirs, Bands, Orchestras, Performing Arts groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: On request during the spring and summer months

Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Perched on the cliffs high above the Atlantic Ocean, The Minack Theatre in Cornwall is a unique, world-famous, open-air theatre. With the first performance taking place in 1932, today the theatre is a haven for performers and theatre enthusiasts alike with a full programme of drama, musicals and opera every summer, together with music, comedy and story-telling.
  • Perfect for: Choirs, Performing Arts groups & some Bands
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Open to visitors year-round. Informal performance options at lunchtimes on Wednesday during summer season and weekends in low season. For formal performances, book very early!

The Rumstore at Carnglaze Caverns, Cornwall

Carnglaze is set amongst 6.5 acres of ancient oak woodland on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor. Initially an open cast quarry, some 300 years ago the workforce started to mine for minerals underground resulting in the formation of three hand created caverns of cathedral proportions. As well as being a popular visitors attraction, it offers a superb underground concert venue with amazing acoustics!
  • Perfect for: Choirs, Bands and Performing Arts groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: During opening hours in April-November for a passing audience, or evening ticketed concert

Buckfast Abbey

Nestled in a tranquil haven on the edge of Dartmoor national park in a tranquil and serene Devonshire valley, Buckfast Abbey, is the only English medieval monastery to have been restored and used again for its original purpose. Celebrating its millennial year in 2018, the Abbey is a superb venue for a choir tour and is fast becoming a centre for the arts, particularly sacred music, in the South West, hosting a busy and successful concert series.
  • Perfect for: Choirs
  • Repertoire: Sacred
  • Performance times: Visiting choirs are welcomed to sing at Sunday morning Mass


Cornwall International Male Choral Festival Established over 15 years ago, this biennial choral festival for male voices welcomes choirs from all over the British Isles and overseas. Each successive Festival has gone from strength to strength with more participating choirs and performance venues added each time.  Venues range from small to large churches, Truro Cathedral, the Hall for Cornwall, local recreational events, as well as world famous tourist and eco attractions such as The Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan, and newer heritage attractions such as Heartlands, the UK's first cultural playground.

Where To Stay

*official star rating

Best Western Swan Hotel, Wells

  • Historic hotel in a central location opposite Wells Cathedral
  • Elegant, traditional rooms equipped with TV, Hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities include bar, comfortable lounge, restaurant and outdoor terrace with views of the Cathedral and Green.

*official star rating

Cheltenham Chase Hotel, Gloucestershire

  • Luxurious hotel set in 15 acres of private grounds on the edge of the picturesque Cotswold Hills.
  • Contemporary and elegant rooms equipped with TV, Hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities include Hardy’s Restaurant and Hunters Bar and Lounge, with fantastic views over the surrounding hills and a sumptuous spa area, indoor swimming pool, steam room and spa bath

*official star rating

Queens Hotel, Paignton, Devon

  • Located within walking distance of seafront and town
  • Pleasant rooms equipped with TV, Hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities include comfortable bar and entertainment lounge, restaurant and indoor swimming pool.

*official star rating

Esplanade Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

  • Located opposite Fistral Beach with outstanding views of the bay
  • Stylish rooms equipped with TV, Hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities include comfortable bar, lounge, restaurant and indoor swimming pool with spa and sauna

Sample Itinerary

This itinerary is for guidance only and will be tailored to meet your exact tour requirements. The excursions and concerts featured below will be subject to your chosen tour dates, availability and budget. Please get in touch to discuss your potential tour in more detail and other opportunities available to your group!
Day 1Travel to your destination from your chosen collection pointWelcome drink at the hotel and time at leisureGroup evening meal at the hotel and time to socialise!
Day 2Morning visit to the city of Wells with guided tour of the Cathedral and groundsLunchtime concert in Wells Cathedral OR outdoor concert Evening meal at the hotel and evening activity
Day 3Morning visit to Bath with informal performance in the Abbey groundsAfternoon excursion to the rolling Cotswolds. Visit Sudeley Castle or Lacock Abbey.Early evening meal at the hotel and travel to Cornwall hotel
Day 4Explore one of Cornwall’s magnificent gardens with a performance at the amphitheatre in Trebah GardensAfternoon visit to the fascinating Carnglaze Caverns with performance opportunity in the Rumstore CavernEvening meal at the hotel
Day 5Explore the coastal gems of Cornwall, take a boat ride to the Scilly Isles or enjoy a visit perusing the art galleries of PenzanceAfternoon visit to the Minack Theatre with a potential performance at this world-famous cliff top performance spaceEarly evening meal at the hotel and travel to Devon hotel
Day 6Visit to Buckfast Abbey with mass participation for sacred choirs Afternoon visit to coastal Devon and perform in a bandstand on The English RivieraFarewell meal in local restaurant
Day 7Optional morning excursionOnward journey home

Sound Escapes did a fantastic job on arrangements for our tour . Would thoroughly recommend Jo to any choir looking to travel . All feedback has been positive from everyone who travelled . The extra care at meeting us at the coach and check in to ensure things ran smoothly went above and beyond .
Don OakleyMalmesbury ChoirOxford 2023
One of the best tours we have ever undertaken – musically, socially and geographically. Would heartily recommend Sound Escapes to any group considering a tour.
Carole Lindsay-DouglasAmici SingersWeston-Super-Mare 2023
Jo and her team came up with a fantastic itinerary for our choir and planned everything to the last detail. We always felt we were in safe hands and that they were on the end of a phone to help us with anything we needed. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Rosie SayersChairperson for Sing It Loud Community Choir
As a Chorister, and eventually Head Chorister in our local church choir for eleven years, Jo was talented, dedicated and could always be relied on to work to the utmost of her undoubted abilities. I would expect that she would apply the same attributes to her professional life
P BuckmasterChoral Director

In May 2020 we were due to tour the Stirling area in Scotland and due to the current coronavirus pandemic we took the difficult decision to call off the tour. I’d like to give our thanks and praise to Jo and her team for all the planning and preparation she had done to put the itinerary together – she was able to provide us with an excellent range of stunning concert venues, plus some great suggestions for our leisure time, and we look forward to working with her again soon.

Sally ColesSecretary, Cantamici
From cathedrals and abbeys, churches and stately homes, all steeped in centuries of history, some in Roman Towns others in quintessential English ‘picture postcard’ villages, every choir and musical ensemble should spend a tour exploring the United Kingdom and Ireland. Whatever part of the country you to choose to visit, by working with a knowledgeable team of people who know the regions inside out from both a tourism and musical perspective, you will be guaranteed the richest of touring experiences
Tim KnightBritish composer and Choral Director
Fantastic tour in Bonnie Scotland, enjoyed by all who went, singing and non-singing. Brilliant organisation from Jo who really made it all look so easy.
Kate HymansTour organiser for Masterworks Chorale
Brilliant tour, expertly organised. Kindness and compassion. Nothing was too much trouble. Colin, our driver, was a complete gem and so knowledgeable about the isle. Lovely hotel staff where nothing was too much trouble
Felicity CourageChoir Director, Courage Choir
Care and attention to detail of the highest degree. The planning with Jo Porter was detailed and meticulous, with nothing being missed, and although she was not involved in the accommodation arrangements, she nevertheless checked it out and acted as an intermediary.
Robin SpencerChoir Secretary, Phoenix Choir
You’ve been patient and kind all the way through this, Jo – especially with it being the first international tour I’ve done, and with all the unforeseen changes to the travel arrangements, so thank you to you and the team.
Sarah MonteithChoir DirectorResound ChoirParis 2023