Views across Fontmell
Visit North Dorset

Delights of deepest Dorset The north, our best kept secret!

Looking to get away from it all? Feel the need to take things at gentler pace? Then look no further than the stunning, green, rural idyll that is rural Dorset. 

Unspoilt natural beauty

When life gets hectic, we all dream of getting away from it all to enjoy life’s simple pleasures of fresh air, space to breath and the chance to savour delicious local food. The North of Dorset is the perfect place to do all these things and more.  

Take time to explore the area’s rich history, discover country houses, glorious gardens, ramble along miles of walking trails like the White Hart Link. A 50 mile circular route taking in the five towns of Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton and Blandford Forum.

The North Dorset Trailway provides a wonderful route for those wanting to explore on two feet or by pedal power. The 14 mile route joins Spetisbury and Sturminster Newton taking in some of the finest countryside views as it follows the majestic River Stour, which is a haven for local wildlife.

Breathtaking Scenery

Dorset’s countryside is almost entirely designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  It includes iconic landmarks such Gold Hill in Shaftesbury and many ancient hill forts such as Badbury Rings and Hambledon & Hod Hills. The countryside is varied and includes forests, heathlands, river valleys stunning landscapes and spectacular views - all at your fingertips.  

North Dorset is also home to some of the very best dark sky locations to found anywhere in the UK. With very low level light pollution, this area of Dorset offers superb conditions for stargazing and dark sky photography. 

Intriguing Towns to Explore

Historic market towns in North Dorset offer a fusion of old and new with thriving shopping, beautiful places to stay and outstanding medieval landmarks and buildings. Wander along cobbled streets, discover hidden courtyards and listen to fascinating tales through history. 

Ramble down the steep cobbled streets of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, famous for the backdrop to the 1970s Hovis advert. Just remember to have a rest in one of the local cafes or restaurants before starting your climb back up!

Blandford Forum is a small Georgian Town with stunning architecture and provides the home for the renowned Hall & Woodhouse Brewery.  

Sturminster Newton is a book lover's paradise as it was once home to Thomas Hardy and William Barnes. Surrounded by the Blackmore Vale it also provides a wonderful base for nature lovers.  

Time to book your rural escape

Feeling tempted and want to explore more? Start planning your break away to your own little corner of Dorset. With accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets there's no better time than now to book your Dorset adventure. 

ExploreNorth Dorset

Shaftesbury & Gillingham

Shaftesbury is one of the oldest and highest towns in England. Nearby Gillingham is Dorset’s most northern town...

Blandford Forum

Located on the banks of the River Stour, Blandford Forum is the most complete, small Georgian town in England.

Sturminster Newton

A peaceful, rural Dorset idyll that offers plenty to see and do. Explore Sturminster Newton and the beautiful...

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Hall and Woodhouse Brewery

An independent, family-owned brewery, Hall & Woodhouse is right in the heart of Blandford and a great place to eat, drink, tour and shop.  Traditional behind the scenes Brewery Tours may not...

Loose Reins

Loose Reins is where the world slows down. It’s where the daily grind is left at the gate and a place of experience, discovery and relaxation opens up. It’s where you reconnect, come...

The Grosvenor Arms

The Grosvenor Arms is a gorgeous coaching-inn with 16 high-end boutique bedrooms in the heart of Shaftesbury. With a show-stopping Georgian frontage, contemporary rustic design, and fabulous seasonal...

The Grosvenor Arms

The Grosvenor Arms is a historic coaching-inn in the heart of Shaftesbury. A vibrant hub of activity it has a welcoming and buzzy lounge-style bar, stylish and relaxed restaurant, and cobbled...

The Saxon Inn

A quintessentially English Inn hidden in the village of Child Okeford, Dorset. The Saxon Inn is the perfect place to stay, whether you are visiting for business of leisure. Nestled in the heart of the...

The Ship Inn

The Ship Inn is a country pub and restaurant with rooms. Built in 1750, The Ship Inn is a privately owned traditional Coaching Inn located in the picturesque Dorset village of West Stour. The...

Dorset Retreat by Jacqui

Unveil Your Perfect Dorset Escape: The Retreat, The Hideaway, The Secret, & The Nook! Immerse yourself in our curated collection of Dorset stays, each a unique gateway to both adventure and...

Ranmoor Estate

Ranmoor Estate is a small award winning, luxury, family run holiday site, set in over eleven secluded acres, located in Blandford Forum, in the stunning rural county of Dorset. We offer 10 exclusive...

What does your Delightful Dorset look like? Visiting attractions with family? A walk through the beautiful countryside? Or perhaps a chilled out evening eating and drinking with friends? Discover a sample of your #VisitDorset images below and share your love for Dorset using the hashtag on Instagram.   

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North Dorset Trailway

Explore the North Dorset Trailway - a 14 mile linear walking, cycling, horse-riding route.