Things To Do in Blandford Forum
Blandford Forum is best known for its Brewery history and the popular annual event The Great Dorset Steam Fair. However Blandford is a great base for exploring the countryside and heritage of Dorset too. Join one of the frequent town guided walks to learn more about the heritage and architecture of the attractive and unique Georgian town centre.
Spot an Otter!
The banks of the River Stour and the surrounding water meadows are a lovely place to walk or have a picnic. Otters can often be seen on the River Stour. Ask the team in the Tourist Information Centre can help you with information about the best place for recent sightings. The river is just a short walk from the market place in the town centre. Cross the Mortian footbridge and follow the Rotary Way footpath, this trail was designed to be a short riverside pushchair and wheelchair accessible route. Close by are longer walking and cycling routes including The North Dorset Trailway which follows the old railway lines and the Sustrans route 25.
A visit to the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery is a must for any lover of beer! Discover the generations of brewing expertise with a brewery tour. The brewery is located at Blandford St Mary within walking distance of the town centre; one of the few remaining family-owned breweries in England. Stay and eat in the characterful Brewery Tap restaurant.
A museum for all interests
The Royal Signals Museum is a voyage of discovery, from Morse code to cyber warfare this hands on museum is an interactive experience for all the family. Discover the fascinating stories of men and women at war and their tales of espionage, deception, interception, codes and code breaking covers the history of army communications. This museum is located on an army camp so adults must take photo identification with them.
The colourful history of Blandford unfolds at Blandford Town Museum from pre-historic to recent in the refurbished old coach house. See the displays including the exhibit depicting the 1731 fire that destroyed the medieval town. Spend time relaxing in the Victorian kitchen garden.
Guided Walks run though out the summer to help you discover some of the history of this unique Georgian town the town guides are local members of the Blandford and district civic society. Walks can be booked from the Tourist Information Centre.
A friendly welcome and a traditional tearoom serving Dorset cream teas with courtyard can be found in The Blandford Fashion Museum at Lime Tree House. This private collection of historic costume dating from 1730’s to the 1970’s includes the beautiful collections: Ladies of Dorset, Styles that Changed Fashion, After the War and Retro – A chronological look at dress scenes of everyday life from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. See the website for their latest exhibition updates.
Dorset hill forts and ancient monuments
Blandford is surrounded by wonderful countryside, covering a wide range of habitats. The history of the area can be discovered by discover the ancient monuments an spectacular hill forts.
Hod Hill Iron Age fort who’s ramparts once protected a large village of around 250 houses. Hambledon Hill is a National Nature Reserve and one of Dorset's most impressive Iron Age hillfort with multiple ramparts. Badbury Rings is situated between Blandford Forum and Wimborne Minster and is an Iron Age Hill Fort the site dates from around 800 BC and is now under the guardianship of the national trust who have designed a dog friendly, 2 hour walk to help you enjoy the site and the surrounding countryside.
Dorset Perfume Garden
Parterre at Keyneston Mill is a botanic garden in Blandford Forum, where the key ingredients of limited edition fragrances are grown, harvested and distilled. The 50 acre estate combining over 1500 plant varieties is the largest private botanic gardens in the country dedicated solely to aromatic and scented plants. From Seed to Bottle - their Mission is to create limited editions of the finest fragrances from plants grown, harvested and distilled in Dorset.
The Botanic Gardens lie in the Tarrant Valley, bordered by the River Stour on one side and the meandering Tarrant stream on the other.
Keyneston Mill is open all year round for your to enjoy the formal gardens, explore estate including access to the River Stour, uncover the history of perfume in the exhibition area and enjoy a meal or refreshments at the Scented Botanist contemporary bistro-café.
Guided tours and self guided tours are available as well as a programme of workshops including perfume blending workshops.
Events and festivals of Blandford Forum
Blandford and the surrounding villages host a wide selection of events throughout the year.
Look out for the following popular festivals: The Great Dorset Steam Fair, The Blandford Georgian Fayre, Teddy Rocks Festival and The Dorset Midsummer Music Festival (DorsetFest). Blandford also has an annual carnival.
Nearby in the village of Sturminster Newton is the annual Cheese Festival and at a venue called the Larmar Tree Gardens there are several popular festivals throughout the year.
For further suggestions on things to do, visit the local tourist information centre for some friendly advice.
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