Shaftesbury is a charming market town located in the North Dorset countryside. The town is known for its stunning views over Blackmore Vale and the surrounding countryside.
One of the most popular attractions in Shaftesbury is Gold Hill, a steep cobbled street lined with pretty cottages that was famously featured in a Hovis bread advert.
Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and Garden is another popular attraction that tells the history of the town’s former Saxon Abbey. There are also a variety of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore in the town centre. The annual Shaftesbury Carnival and Food and Drink Festival are also popular events in the town.
The surrounding countryside offers ample opportunities for walking and exploring, with attractions such as the Cranborne Chase and the Jurassic Coast within easy reach. Shaftesbury is also a popular filming location, with productions such as the TV series “Broadchurch” and the movie “Far from the Madding Crowd” filmed in the area.
Are you ready to explore Shaftesbury? It’s one of the best towns to visit in Dorset 🙂
Where in Dorset is Shaftesbury?
Shaftesbury is a town located in the north of Dorset, England. It is situated on a hilltop, with views over the surrounding countryside, and is known for its charming and historic buildings, including the famous Gold Hill, which was featured in the well-known Hovis bread advert.
Why is Shaftesbury so popular?
Shaftesbury is a popular destination for visitors because of its historic charm and picturesque setting. The town is known for its beautiful architecture, with many buildings dating back to the medieval and Georgian periods, and its stunning views over the surrounding countryside. In particular, Gold Hill, a steep cobbled street lined with pretty cottages and traditional shops, is one of the most iconic images of the town and has been featured in many films and TV shows.
Shaftesbury is also home to a number of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a great place to explore and sample local food and drink. Overall, Shaftesbury’s unique blend of history, scenery, and cultural offerings make it a popular destination for visitors to Dorset and the wider south-west of England.
What is the famous street in Shaftesbury?
Gold Hill is a famous and picturesque street in the town of Shaftesbury, Dorset, England. It is known for its steep incline, lined with historic buildings, and its appearance in the famous Hovis bread television advertisement in the 1970s.
The street is located in the town center, and its buildings date back to the 18th century. At the top of the hill is St. James’s Church, which was built in the 15th century.
Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along Gold Hill, taking in the stunning views and historic architecture, and stopping at the various shops and cafes that line the street. It is a popular spot for photography, and many visitors enjoy recreating the iconic scene from the Hovis advertisement.
Gold Hill is just one of the many attractions that make Shaftesbury a popular destination for tourists visiting the Dorset region of England.
How do I spend a day in Shaftesbury?
If you’re planning to spend a day in Shaftesbury, here are some suggestions for things to do and see:
- Start your day at Gold Hill, one of the most famous and picturesque streets in Shaftesbury. Take a stroll along the cobbled street and take in the views of the surrounding countryside.
- Visit the Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and Garden, which tells the story of the Benedictine nunnery that was once located on the site. The museum features a collection of artifacts, and the garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the town.
- Explore the local shops and boutiques, which offer a range of unique and independent products. You might find some interesting gifts or souvenirs to take home.
- Head to St James’s Park for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. This lovely green space is situated just outside the town center and offers stunning views of the Blackmore Vale.
- Visit the High Street and enjoy a light lunch or snack at one of the many cafes and restaurants, such as the Mitre Inn, which dates back to the 14th century.
- Take a walk around the town to see some of the historic buildings, including St Peter’s Church and the 16th-century Almshouses.
- Enjoy a performance at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre, which hosts a range of shows and events throughout the year, including plays, concerts, and art exhibitions.
- Have dinner at one of the town’s many pubs or restaurants. The Grosvenor Arms, located in the town center, is a popular choice for its traditional pub atmosphere and locally-sourced menu.
- End your day with a drink at one of the town’s bars or pubs, such as the Two Brewers, which has a cozy atmosphere and a wide selection of beers and wines.
Of course, this is just a sample itinerary, and there are many other things to see and do in Shaftesbury. You can adjust the itinerary to your own interests and preferences.
How do I get to Shaftesbury?
By car: Shaftesbury is easily accessible by car. The town is located close to the A350 and A30, and there is parking available in several locations in and around the town center.
By train: The nearest train station to Shaftesbury is Gillingham, which is approximately 5 miles away. There are regular trains from London Waterloo and other major cities to Gillingham. From the train station, you can take a taxi or bus to Shaftesbury.
By bus: There are regular bus services to Shaftesbury from other towns in Dorset, including Blandford, Salisbury, and Yeovil. The main bus stop in Shaftesbury is located in the town center, near the Abbey Museum.
Overall, Shaftesbury is well-connected to other towns and cities in the region, and there are several transportation options available to visitors.
Where do you park when visiting Shaftesbury?
There are several parking options available when visiting Shaftesbury. Here are a few suggestions:
- Bell Street Car Park: This is the main car park in the town center, and it’s located on Bell Street, just a short walk from Gold Hill. There are over 100 spaces available, and parking charges apply from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.
- Angel Lane Car Park: This car park is located on Angel Lane, just a few minutes’ walk from the town center. There are around 40 spaces available, and parking charges apply from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.
- Coppice Street Car Park: This car park is located on Coppice Street, near the Shaftesbury Arts Centre. There are around 40 spaces available, and parking charges apply from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.
- Lay-by Parking: There are also a number of lay-bys and on-street parking spaces available in and around the town center. However, these are limited, and some may have time restrictions or other limitations.
It’s worth noting that parking in Shaftesbury can be quite limited, especially during peak times, so it’s a good idea to arrive early to secure a spot. You can also check the Dorset Council website for up-to-date information on parking options and charges.
The postcode for Shaftesbury is SP7.
Accommodation in Shaftesbury
There are several options for accommodation in Shaftesbury, ranging from cozy bed and breakfasts to boutique hotels. Here are a few suggestions:
- The Grosvenor Arms: This stylish boutique hotel is located in the heart of Shaftesbury and features comfortable rooms and a popular restaurant and bar.
- The Old Chapel: This charming bed and breakfast is housed in a converted chapel and features comfortable rooms and a lovely garden.
- The Coppleridge Inn: This traditional inn is located just a few miles from Shaftesbury and features comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a bar.
- The Mitre Inn: This historic inn is located in the town center and features comfortable rooms and a traditional pub.
- The Applehay Studio: This cozy bed and breakfast is located just a short walk from the town center and features a comfortable studio apartment with a kitchenette.
It’s always a good idea to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak times, to ensure that you get your preferred choice. You can check online booking websites or the official Shaftesbury tourism website for more options and information.
Is Shaftesbury good for a staycation or a weekend getaway in the UK?
Yes, Shaftesbury is a nice destination for a staycation or a weekend getaway in the UK. It is a picturesque and historic town with plenty of things to see and do. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor activities, there is something for everyone in Shaftesbury.
The town has a range of accommodation options, from cozy B&Bs to luxury hotels, making it easy to find somewhere to stay that suits your budget and preferences. Additionally, Shaftesbury is located in the heart of Dorset, which means there are plenty of other nearby attractions to explore, such as the Jurassic Coast, Stonehenge, and Longleat Safari Park. So, whether you’re looking for a short weekend break, a family staycation, or a solo adventure, Shaftesbury is definitely worth considering.
Best things to do in Shaftesbury
- Visit Gold Hill – Gold Hill is one of the most iconic streets in the UK, and it’s the site of the famous Hovis bread advertisement. The street is steeped in history and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, making it an excellent spot for photos.
- Explore Shaftesbury Abbey – Shaftesbury Abbey was founded in the 8th century and was one of the most important religious sites in England until its dissolution in the 16th century. Visitors can explore the ruins of the abbey, which include the foundations of the abbey church, the cloister, and the abbey’s kitchens.
- Walk the Blackmore Vale Trail – The Blackmore Vale Trail is a 27-mile walking trail that starts and ends in Shaftesbury. The trail takes you through beautiful countryside and picturesque villages, and it’s an excellent way to explore the area on foot.
- Visit the Gold Hill Museum – The Gold Hill Museum is located in one of the oldest buildings in Shaftesbury, and it’s dedicated to the town’s history and heritage. The museum has exhibits on the town’s industries, including agriculture and lace-making, as well as displays on local characters and events.
- Enjoy a cream tea – No visit to Shaftesbury is complete without indulging in a traditional cream tea. Many cafes and tearooms in the town offer cream teas, which consist of scones, clotted cream, jam, and a pot of tea.
- Browse the Shaftesbury Farmers’ Market – The Shaftesbury Farmers’ Market takes place on the first Saturday of each month and offers a wide range of locally produced food and drink. Visitors can sample everything from artisan bread to craft beer and locally made cheese.
- Visit the Stourhead Estate – The Stourhead Estate is a beautiful National Trust property that’s located just a few miles from Shaftesbury. The estate features a stunning landscaped garden, a Palladian mansion, and a beautiful lake.
- Walk the Shaftesbury Town Trail – The Shaftesbury Town Trail is a self-guided walking tour that takes visitors around the town’s historic streets and landmarks. The trail is well-signposted, and it’s an excellent way to learn about the town’s history and architecture.
- Climb up Castle Hill – Castle Hill is a small hill that overlooks the town, and it’s the site of an Iron Age hillfort. Visitors can climb to the top of the hill to enjoy stunning views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
- Attend a festival or event – Shaftesbury hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Shaftesbury Fringe Festival, the Shaftesbury Carnival, and the Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival. These events offer a great opportunity to experience the town’s vibrant culture and community spirit.
Shaftesbury is a historic town in Dorset, England that has a rich and fascinating history dating back to the Saxon era. The town was originally founded as a Saxon hilltop settlement known as “Scetisburh” in the 9th century, and it quickly grew in importance as a center of religion and trade. In the 10th century, the town was granted a royal charter by King Edward the Elder, which gave it the right to hold markets and fairs.
Shaftesbury’s most famous historical landmark is the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery that was founded in the 9th century. The Abbey played a significant role in the religious and political life of medieval England, and it was one of the most important religious centers in the country until it was dissolved by King Henry VIII in the 16th century. Today, the Abbey ruins are open to visitors, and they provide a fascinating glimpse into the religious and architectural history of the town.
Throughout its history, Shaftesbury has been an important center for agriculture, textiles, and trade. The town was particularly known for its wool trade in the medieval period, and it was home to many skilled weavers and other craftsmen. Today, Shaftesbury is a charming and picturesque town that attracts visitors from all over the world with its rich history and stunning scenery.
Pubs in Shaftesbury
There are several great pubs in Shaftesbury, each with its own unique charm and atmosphere. Here are a few of the top options:
- The Mitre Inn: This historic pub dates back to the 14th century and features original beams, an open fireplace, and a lovely beer garden. The menu includes classic pub fare like fish and chips, burgers, and pies, as well as a selection of local beers and ciders.
- The Shaftesbury: Located in the heart of the town, The Shaftesbury is a popular pub with locals and visitors alike. It has a cozy, traditional interior and serves up a range of real ales, ciders, and pub grub.
- The Half Moon Inn: This pub is situated on the edge of Shaftesbury and boasts stunning views over the surrounding countryside. It has a large beer garden, a kids’ play area, and a menu of hearty, homemade food.
- The Grosvenor Arms: This stylish pub and hotel is housed in a historic Georgian building and features a chic, contemporary interior. The menu includes modern British cuisine and the bar serves up a range of wines, cocktails, and craft beers.
- The King’s Arms: This pub is located in nearby East Knoyle, about a 10-minute drive from Shaftesbury. It has a cozy, traditional interior and serves up a range of local beers and ciders, as well as classic pub dishes like steak and ale pie and bangers and mash.
Overall, Shaftesbury has a great selection of pubs to choose from, each with its own unique character and charm.
Shaftesbury tourist information
Shaftesbury is a charming and historic town in Dorset, England that offers visitors plenty of interesting things to see and do. Here is some tourist information to help you plan your visit:
- Top attractions: Shaftesbury is known for its picturesque streets lined with historic buildings, including the famous Gold Hill, which was featured in a famous Hovis bread television advertisement in the 1970s. The town is also home to the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey, a former Saxon monastery that was once one of the most important religious centers in England. Other popular attractions include St. Peter’s Church, the oldest building in Shaftesbury, and the Wardour Castle, a nearby medieval castle.
- Accommodation: There are plenty of options for accommodation in and around Shaftesbury, including hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts. Some of the most popular places to stay include The Grosvenor Arms, The Fontmell, and The Coppleridge Inn.
- Food and drink: Shaftesbury has a range of restaurants, cafes, and pubs serving traditional British cuisine as well as international dishes. Some of the most popular places to eat and drink include The Mitre Inn, The Salt Cellar, and The Grosvenor Arms.
- Getting there: Shaftesbury is easily accessible by car, bus, and train. The town is located just off the A30 and is approximately 20 minutes from the A303. There are also regular bus services to Shaftesbury from nearby towns and cities. The nearest train station is in Gillingham, which is about 4 miles away.
- Tourist information: The Shaftesbury Tourist Information Centre is located at the Town Hall on High Street and provides information on local attractions, events, and accommodation. The Centre is open from Monday to Saturday, and staff are on hand to help visitors plan their stay in the area.
What famous film was filmed in Shaftesbury?
Shaftesbury is famous for its appearance in a popular television advertisement for Hovis bread in the 1970s. The advertisement features a young boy pushing a bicycle up the steep and cobbled Gold Hill while a brass band plays the theme from the film “Largo” by Antonín Dvořák. The advertisement has become an iconic part of British cultural history and has helped to make Shaftesbury a well-known destination for tourists in England.
Which is better Shaftesbury or Lyme Regis?
Shaftesbury is a small market town in the heart of the Dorset countryside, known for its historic architecture, quaint streets, and stunning views over the surrounding countryside. It’s a great destination for those looking for a peaceful retreat or a base for exploring the local area.
Lyme Regis, on the other hand, is a popular coastal resort town in the southwest of England. It’s known for its sandy beaches, fossil hunting opportunities, and picturesque seafront. It’s a great destination for those looking for a seaside escape or a range of activities such as fishing, kayaking, and hiking.
Ultimately, both Shaftesbury and Lyme Regis have their own unique charm and offer different experiences. It’s worth considering your preferences and interests when choosing between the two.
Annual events in Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury hosts a variety of annual events throughout the year, which are enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike. Some of the most popular annual events in Shaftesbury include:
- Gold Hill Fair: This event takes place in July and features a variety of stalls, live music, and entertainment. It’s a great opportunity to explore the town and its attractions while enjoying a fun-filled day out.
- Shaftesbury Fringe Festival: This event takes place in July and features a range of theatre, comedy, and music performances in various venues throughout the town.
- Shaftesbury Carnival: This popular event takes place in early September and features a procession of floats, live music, and entertainment. It’s a great opportunity to experience the town’s community spirit and enjoy a day of family-friendly fun.
- Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival: This event takes place in early May and celebrates the town’s local food and drink scene. There are a variety of food and drink stalls, cooking demonstrations, and entertainment throughout the day.
- Shaftesbury Snowdrops: This event takes place in February and celebrates the arrival of spring. There are guided walks through the town’s snowdrop displays, as well as other seasonal events and activities.
- Christmas in Shaftesbury: The town is transformed into a winter wonderland during the festive season, with a Christmas market, street entertainment, and other events and activities throughout December.
Best places near Shaftesbury to visit
Shaftesbury is situated in the heart of Dorset and is surrounded by many charming towns, picturesque villages, and beautiful countryside. Here are ten of the best places near Shaftesbury to visit:
- Stourhead House and Gardens: This stunning National Trust property is just a short drive from Shaftesbury and features an 18th-century house and beautiful landscaped gardens.
- Old Wardour Castle: This historic castle, located near the town of Tisbury, was built in the 14th century and is now a popular visitor attraction.
- Sherborne: This charming town is just a short drive from Shaftesbury and is known for its beautiful abbey, historic buildings, and lovely gardens.
- Stonehenge: This world-famous prehistoric monument is located about an hour’s drive from Shaftesbury and is definitely worth a visit.
- Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs: This stunning area of countryside is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and features rolling hills, picturesque villages, and beautiful views.
- Kingston Lacy: This National Trust property is located near the town of Wimborne Minster and features a beautiful 17th-century house and gardens.
- Corfe Castle: This ruined castle is located in the picturesque village of Corfe Castle and is a popular visitor attraction.
- Salisbury: This historic city is known for its beautiful cathedral, medieval architecture, and lovely gardens.
- The Jurassic Coast: This stunning stretch of coastline is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features beautiful cliffs, sandy beaches, and fascinating fossils.
- Glastonbury: This mystical town is located in Somerset and is known for its connections to King Arthur, the Holy Grail, and the mystical Tor hill.
Is Shaftesbury worth visiting?
Yes, Shaftesbury is definitely worth visiting! This charming and historic town is situated on a hilltop and offers stunning views over the surrounding countryside. It is known for its picturesque streets lined with historic buildings, including the famous Gold Hill, which was featured in a famous Hovis bread television advertisement in the 1970s.
Shaftesbury is also famous for the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey, a former Saxon monastery that was once one of the most important religious centers in England. In addition, the town is associated with the writer Thomas Hardy, who featured Shaftesbury and the surrounding countryside in several of his novels.
Overall, Shaftesbury is a lovely place to explore, with plenty of interesting history and architecture to discover, as well as beautiful countryside to enjoy.