Things to do in Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury, Dorset, is a treasure trove of activities and sights for tourists. One of the top attractions is the Shaftesbury Abbey Museum & Garden, a Grade I listed site that was once the largest women’s religious community in England. Here, you can explore the foundations of the Abbey Church, touch relics on display, and enjoy the peaceful walled garden.

Another must-visit is Gold Hill, a historic site that offers scenic walking areas. This steep, cottage-filled lane is famous for its appearance in the 1973 Hovis Bread advert directed by Ridley Scott. At the top of Gold Hill, you’ll find the Gold Hill Museum, which houses an amazing collection of artefacts and curiosities.

For nature lovers, Castle Hill offers stunning views and lovely walking trails. If you’re interested in local produce, don’t miss a visit to Melbury Vale Vineyard, where you can enjoy a glass of wine amidst beautiful surroundings.

Lastly, no visit to Shaftesbury would be complete without a stroll along Park Walk for its endless panoramic views, or a visit to the variety of interesting and unique shops, flea markets and market held on a Thursday and Saturday on the High Street and Town Hall. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a shopaholic, Shaftesbury has something for everyone

Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and Garden

Situated in a commanding position with views over the Blackmore Vale, close to the famous Gold Hill, the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey lie in a peaceful walled garden. The museum brings to life the story of the abbey and the people who lived there.


Shaftesbury is surrounded by beautiful walks and many visitors choose to walk the popular Wessex Ridgeway Trail but there are many options to choose from


Biking be it on or off road, is a very popular pastime in Dorset, there are an abundance of on and off road tracks. Grab a leaflet from Tourist Information located within Morrisons for more info.

Gold Hill Museum

Shaftesbury and District’s local history museum with an award-winning cottage garden and wonderful views over Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale.

Gold Hill

Come and stand on the ancient cobbles of Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, a steep, picturesque street made famous after featuring in the popular 1970s TV advert for Hovis bread.

Melbury Vale Vineyard

Our sustainable winery, built in 2013, is adjacent to the Melbury Vale vineyard, where wine, liqueur, brandy and cider production now takes place from our on site and associated sister vineyards in Dorset.

Park Walk

Enjoy stunning views across the Blackmore Vale from the edge of Shaftesbury.


The town’s markets, which take place on Thursdays and Saturdays, offer a variety of fresh and local food, direct from the producers and growers. On thee first Sunday of the month is an Artisan Market.

Compton Abbas Airfield

Sat atop a hill in the Cranborne Chase area of natural beauty with stunning views over Shaftesbury and beyond, Compton Abbas Airfield is the perfect place to enjoy the day. Feast your eyes on beautiful historic aircraft and observe the comings and goings of our fabulous light aircraft community while enjoying hearty local fare and a Gritchie beer brewed only two miles away. All welcome, rain or shine

North Dorset Railway

Shillingstone Station is a reminder of what train travel in the countryside was like before the Beeching cut backs. In 1997 restoration work begin on the old Shillingstone Station and has continued at a rapid rate since then.
The station is now a museum with an excellent café offering hot and cold drinks and food. It sits alongside the trailway that runs from Sturminster Newton to Spettisbury.

Stourhead Gardens and Tower

When Stourhead first opened in the 1740s, a magazine described it as ‘a living work of art’. The world-famous landscape garden has at its centrepiece a magnificent lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees, and offers a day of fresh air and discovery.
Uncover the fascinating history of Stourhead house with an Italian ‘Grand Tour’ adventure and enjoy the unique Regency library, Chippendale furniture and inspirational paintings. The Palladian house is set amid ‘picnic perfect’ lawns and extensive parkland.

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