Top 10 places to visit in North Dorset
Dorset is perhaps best known for its beautiful beaches and spectacular coastline. However, when you escape the hustle and bustle of the seaside towns and venture into the north of the county, you will be greeted with an ever-changing landscape of rolling hills and patchwork fields, often missed by visitors.
Within rural Dorset, much of which is an Area of Outstanding Beauty, you will find an array of exciting places and attractions to visit as well as a number of quaint villages where you can sit back, relax and enjoy a slower pace of life.
Gold Hill, Shaftesbury
Set in the historic village of Shaftesbury, Gold Hill is perhaps the most photographed street in Great Britain. Renowned for its appearance in the famous Hovis bread advert as well as numerous other TV shows, visitors flock to this wonderful sight to enjoy the cobbled path and quaint cottages, reminiscent of a bygone era. From the top of the hill you will be greeted with spectacular views over the Blackmore Vale, a wonderful sight that changes with the season. The hill is flanked by Shaftesbury Abbey and the Gold Hill Museum, which showcases some of Dorset’s history.
Kingston Lacy Estate
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Well this morning didn't go as planned Mr weatherman got it wrong again 😂 initially my plan was to shoot at fiddleford mill and I came away with one image low mist saw that the sunrise didn't play as promised, so I decided to take a trip to a place that has been on my list for a while now in the hope that the mist was around beech Avenue at Kingston lacy. came away with a few compositions I was genuinely happy with the greens and sunlight this morning where fabulous. Also had the pleasure of finally meeting @martindolanphoto @jacklodgephoto @neilharrison74 and @emily_endean_photography Have a lovely weekend guys and girls #dramaticdorset #moodyshots #misty #3leggedthing #swisbest #tamron #canonuk #lovefordorset #swisbest #weownthelandscape_uk #kingstonlacy #beechavenue #leadinglines #visitdorset #trees #photooftheday #newplace #Dorset #countryside #moodygrams #colours #sunbeams #ukpotd #britains_talent #
Kingston Lacy is a fantastic 8,500 acres estate with many places to visit. There is a lavish 17th Century home resembling an Italian Palace, extensive parkland and formal gardens. Nearby, along the atmospheric Beech Avenue (pictured), you will find the ancient iron-age hillfort of Badbury Rings, Pamphill Wood which is awash with bluebells in April and May, as well as White Mill on the River Stour. Charges apply to visit the house and gardens but parking is free and dogs on leads are welcome in the park, woodlands and at Badbury Rings.
Hall and Woodhouse Brewery Tours, Blandford Forum
Take a guided tour of Hall and Woodhouse Brewery and learn about the brewing process that has remained largely unchanged since production started in 1777. Hear from a team of expert guides about each of the steps that go into making award winning beers and cask ales and sample some of the ingredients harvested from Dorset. At the end of the tour sample some of your favourites in the on site bar and restaurant and enjoy a complementary bottle to take home.
Sturminster Newton Mill
Sturminster Mill dates back to 1016 and is mentioned in the doomsday book. Historically, it was powered by water wheels and used to produce flour to be sold in the village and further field. Today, the mill remains in tact and is open for visitors throughout the year. During your visit take an informal tour of the building, which comprises of 3 floors of working machinery, which continue to mill flower for demonstration purposes. The mill sits on the banks of the River Stour with beautiful views over the Dorset countryside, perfect for a gentle stroll or family picnic.
The Blandford Fashion Museum
Take a step back in time and marvel at clothes from over the decades at Blandford Fashion Museum. Situated in Lime Tree House, a Grade II listed Georgian building, the museum has collated an excellent collection of daywear, eveningwear, shoes and accessories. As you wander around each of the exhibitions, you will learn how societal norms and pressures shaped the fashion industry and how fashion has evolved over time. At the end of the day enjoy dressing up in replica clothes and costumes.
Sherborne Abbey is a spectacular site set within the quaint village of Sherborne. Originally home to Benedictine Monks, the abbey is considered ‘Dorset’s cathedral’ and continues to be a place of worship, with daily prayer and special services happening throughout the year. The abbey has spectacular architecture with high vaulted ceilings and a magnificent stained glass window to admire. It is also home to the heaviest peal of eight bells in the world.
Gorcombe Extreme Sports, Blandford Forum
With more than 10 exciting activities to try, Gorcombe Extreme Sports is the ideal place for adrenaline junkies to let their hair down. Try your hand at quad biking along dusty tracks that require expert skill and nerve, or give clay shooting a go to see who has the best eye. Groups of friends will enjoy the extreme assault course, which requires you to manoeuvre over obstacles along the course.
The North Dorset Trailway
Take in some of the best views in rural Dorset by following the North Dorset Trailway, a 14-mile stretch of the old Somerset and Dorset Railway line from Sturminster Newton to Spetisbury. The Network has flat and accessible sections, suitable for all ages and abilities, which can walked, jogged or cycled. There are also parts suitable for horse riding.
Sherborne Castle & Gardens
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And the people came: Wow! Great turnout, millions of locals (ok slight exaggeration) but definitely thousands, with good folk from across the SW, and others from far & wide to another fabulous day at the lovely Sherborne Castle 🏰 Country Fair. So much work goes into organising everything before the actual day, but it always comes together & is a lovely day out. 🐕🚣♀️🎪🛍🥂🍴🍦raising money for local charities. It was so nice to see lots of our lovely customers & families enjoying themselves, thanks for popping by. #sherbornecastle #countryfair #dorset #charity #fundraiser #swisbest
Walk in the footsteps of Sir Walter Raleigh with a visit to this fascinating castle covering 400 years of history. There are nationally important collections of art and you can explore the beautiful landscapes of the gardens with an orangery, boathouse, fossil house and more. There are great events such as a country fair, classic car show and fireworks. Sherborne Castle is one of the treasure houses of England and well worth a visit when in North Dorset.
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🌥️ View from Hambledon Hill Dorset countryside Hambledon Hill is a National Nature Reserve and one of Dorset's most impressive Iron Age hillfort with mulitple ramparts. The hilltop is encircled by an Iron Age earthwork and there are extensive Neolithic features, making it a major archaeological site. www.visit-dorset.com _ _ _ . . . . . . . . . . . #landscapephoto #landscapeslovers #explore_countryside #deepsky #ig_skylovers #hambledonhill #lovedorset #earthlandscape #skyscape #fields #hills #woodland #countrysidelife #outdoorsman #summer19 #landscapeshot #skyphotography #evenings #trees🌳 #canonuk #countrysideliving #exploretheoutdoors #travelingplanet #travelbag #canon_camera #canonofficial #nature_obsession_landscapes #natureperfection #hillside
Hambledon Hill, at 190 metres above sea level, is an Iron-Age hillfort with one of the best views in Dorset over the Blackmore Vale and River Stour. This is a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. There is an abundance of flowers and wildlife and it’s a great place for a walk, a picnic and for dogs. See how many of the recorded 28 different species of butterfly you can spot!
Stay with us in Dorset
West Dorset Leisure Holidays comprises of 5 holiday parks situated at prime locations along the Dorset coast. All of the parks are dog friendly and there are a range of accommodation options available including luxury lodges, caravan holiday homes, glamping and pitches for touring and camping. There are also a variety of facilities to keep the whole family entertained, including Martin’s Bar & Restaurant and Highlands End Leisure Club. Check availability for your holiday and make a booking here.