Idyllic market town with a wonderful history. Famed for 'Gold Hill' and beautiful views over Blackmore Vale.
Shaftesbury is a Saxon market town situated in North Dorset. It is perhaps best known for Gold Hill, a cobbled street with idyllic thatched cottages that once appeared in a famous Hovis bread advert. Gold Hill boasts far reaching views over the Blackmore Vale from its elevated position. On a clear day you can see much of Dorset, which enabled early settlers to prepare for invasion.
In one of the cottages at the top of Gold Hill you will find the Shaftesbury Town Museum. This small volunteer ran project is free to enter and gives visitors an insight into local history. The collections showcase interesting artefacts including buttons and bonnets, which were a mainstay at the time. St Peters church is located on the main street and has undergone recent restoration works. It is thought to be the oldest church in Shaftesbury and is open to the public. It was built in medieval times for pilgrims coming to the town and boasts wonderful architecture.
Little has changed in Shaftesbury over the years and much of the town is reminiscent of bygone era. Small independent shops line the streets along with a traditional butchers, bakers and greengrocers. Its quaint and charming streets lay largely untouched by modernisation, which has made it a popular destination for visitors.
Shaftesbury Abbey was founded by King Alfred and was a popular location for monks on pilgrimage. Following the dissolution of the monastery during the reign of King Henry VIII, the Abbey was laid to ruin. The remains of this once prosperous site have been excavated and now lay within the grounds of the walled gardens. Here you can walk through the orchard and herb garden and enjoy the peace and serenity of this historic site. Interactive displays allow visitors to learn more about the Abbey. There are also activities for children to enjoy as well as trail to follow.