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Wondering where to go and what to do in Shaftesbury and Gillingham?
Don’t worry, there’s plenty of great things to see and do and much to explore in this beautiful part of Dorset.
Shaftesbury is quintessential Dorset, with thatched cottages, quaint tea shops and small independent shops in one of the oldest and highest towns in England.
If you’re old enough, you’ll recognise Shaftesbury’s most famous landmark, Gold Hill, a steep, cottage crammed lane which made its claim to fame when it was featured in the 1973 Hovis Bread advert – the one with the boy pushing his bike up the impossibly steep cobbled lane.
Be energetic and hike up Gold Hill or sit and enjoy coffee and cake, a breath of fresh air and the magnificent views over the Blackmore Vale from the top.
Here, you will also find the Gold Hill Museum set in two historic buildings with an award-winning cottage garden.
The award-winning, Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and Gardens is also well worth a visit, for an interactive virtual tour of this once important and influential Abbey.
Touch relics and be guided by a fascinating audio tour. Take in the unique aromas of the Anglo-Saxon herb collection in the peaceful walled garden and end your visit at the Museum shop where you will find an interesting selection of books, cards, gifts and plants.
Feeling peckish after all that exploring?
Pick up some tempting, local produce at the monthly Farmers Market, great for a Dorset picnic or to stock up on treats to take home and savour.
The neighbouring town of Gillingham is Dorset’s most northerly town and borders Somerset and Wiltshire.
Situated in the Blackmore Vale and on the main train line between Exeter and London and only 4 miles from the A303 main route, it is easy to reach and conveniently positioned for exploring Dorset.
The town has a fascinating and long history and much of it is as it was in the days of Thomas Hardy.
John Constable knew the area too and his painting of the old town bridge is in the Tate Gallery in London.
Uncover much more at the Gillingham Museum.
If you are after some fun events to entertain the whole family, there’s plenty going on throughout the year.
Early summer sees food, arts and music festivals followed by the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show and Great Dorset Steam Fair in August, the Gillingham Walking Festival, Heavy Horse Show and Country Fair and Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival which all take place in September.
October is carnival season.
A chance to drink in life’s simple pleasures, take time out and wander cobbled streets and enjoy delicious local fayre.
Start planning and book your perfect Dorset break.