Pictures of Shaftesbury
Shaftsbury is Dorset's only hill-top town, with its long history and good views it is particularly attractive to tourists. It started life as a West Saxon fortified town, in the year 880 it was given a nunnery by King Alfred, his daughter, Ethelgiva became the first abbess, and around this grew an Anglo-Saxon town. In 981 Edward the Martyr was buried here. The convent flourished right until the time of the Reformation, when the vast church built with the riches garnered over centuries was destroyed.
In medieval times, Shaftsbury was a place of pilgrimage with many pilgrims visiting the town to worship at the shrine of St. Edward. In the 13th-century Shaftsbury was granted the rights to hold a weekly market, and in the 14th-century this was extended to two markets.
Today, on its high plateau Shaftsbury with its quaint corners and attractive little streets is a magnet for visitors. Its most famous street, Gold Hill slopes steeply down, this is quite possibly the most photographed street in Dorset. At its top is an excellent small museum where visitors can explore the town's unique farming and button manufacturing heritage. There are displays of locally made buttons and many implements used on farms; these include - scythes and Shepherd's crooks. There is a set of Shaftsbury weights and measures from the 17th-century and a fire engine from the mid 18th-century.
St.Peters Church is noted for its crypt and vaulted porch; there is an elaborately carved north parapet, and fine 15th-century stained glass. The excavated remains of the former abbey church lie within a walled garden.
The town's Grosvenor Hotel is a former coaching inn which dates from the 16th-century, although the interior is much altered some of the old features remain, and the exterior radiates all the charm of a by-gone age when it was a busy coaching centre. The arrival of the railways left the town somewhat bereft for a time, but the age of the modern motor car put it once more on the tourist trail.
During the season the town hosts several events including an annual carnival held each October, and the celebrated Gold Hill Fair is in July.
Shaftsbury has splendid views of Blackmoor Vale, and is within easy reach of the Salisbury Plains.
Planning a visit to Shaftesbury?
Please support the Pictures of England website by booking your Shaftesbury hotels & accommodation through this site.
Add town to favourites
Interesting & Historical Facts about Shaftesbury
In the 1973 Hovis bread TV ad filmed on Gold Hill, in Shaftesbury, Dorset, the young lad pushing his bicycle up the hill was 13 year old Carl Barlow. He went on to a 30 year career with the London Fire Brigade. More Shaftesbury facts..
Nearby towns & villages..
a Historic Market Town in the county of Dorset(7.2 miles, 11.6 km, direction SW of Shaftesbury)
A small attractive Market Town in Dorset...
a Picturesque Village in the county of Dorset(13.3 miles, 21.5 km, direction S of Shaftesbury)
Milton Abbas is a superb thatched village which has the distinction of being the first planned village of its kind in England...
a Historic Market Town in the county of Dorset(14.4 miles, 23.1 km, direction W of Shaftesbury)
The softly glowing Ham stone of which most of the town properties are built, lends warmth and atmosphere to what is already a unique and attractive place...
a Picturesque Village in the county of Dorset(15.0 miles, 24.2 km, direction S of Shaftesbury)
Sturminster Marshall is famous for its beautiful White Corn Mill and for the magnificent eight arched bridge spanning the River Stour...
a Historic Market Town in the county of Dorset(16.9 miles, 27.2 km, direction SE of Shaftesbury)
Wimborne Minster is a magnificent Georgian town in the valley of the delightful River Stour...All towns in DorsetComplete A to Z of towns in England
Nearby attractions.. (9.0 miles, 14.5 km, direction NW)
Designed by Henry Hoare II, Stourhead is one of England's most picturesque landscape gardens with classic temples and palladian..... (10.1 miles, 16.3 km, direction E)
.. (12.9 miles, 20.8 km, direction N)
On entering the great grounds of Longleat House through the entrance known as "Heaven's Gate" visitors are immediately struck by..... (13.9 miles, 22.3 km, direction SE)
.. (14.0 miles, 22.5 km, direction W)
Many fascinating tales remain from the time when Sherborne Castle was lived in by Sir Walter Raleigh, a favourite of Elizabeth I...... (14.2 miles, 22.8 km, direction W)
Without doubt this magnificent Abbey built centuries ago of creamy Ham stone ranks amongst the finest Abbey churches anywhere in..... (15.0 miles, 24.2 km, direction SE)
The White Mill is an attraction in the delightful village of Sturminster Marshall.
The cornmill occupies a site recorded in.....All attractions in ShaftesburyAll attractions in DorsetComplete A to Z of attractions in England
Hotels & Accommodation in Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury Hotels Shaftesbury Cottages Shaftesbury Bed & Breakfast
Shaftesbury, Dorset, England (0.1 miles, 0.2 km)
Situated in the centre of the small market town of Shaftesbury, Number 5 is a Georgian townhouse, which offers free secure off road parking and free Wi-Fi. Gillingham (Dorset) Rail Station is located ...
More info and book online.. Price from £100.00
Shaftesbury, Dorset, England (0.3 miles, 0.5 km)
Set in Shaftesbury, this holiday home is located 43 km from Bath. The property is 39 km from Bournemouth and free private parking is available. There is a dining area and a kitchen as well as a priva...
More info and book online.. Price from £119.00
Three Ivy Cross
Shaftesbury, Dorset, England (0.4 miles, 0.7 km)
With a large garden and terrace, Three Ivy Cross is located just 5 minutes' walk from the centre of Shaftesbury. Completely renovated in 2014, the property offers free WiFi access and onsite parking....
More info and book online.. Price from £85.00
Holbrook Bed and Breakfast
Shaftesbury, Dorset, England (0.5 miles, 0.8 km)
Holbrook Bed and Breakfast is a 10-minute walk from the historic town of Shaftesbury in Dorset. This guest house has comfortably furnished rooms with en suite facilities, and free Wi-Fi....
More info and book online.. Price from £55.00
Shaftesbury, Dorset, England (0.9 miles, 1.4 km)
Featuring a barbecue, Garden Apartment is a holiday home set in Shaftesbury in the Dorset Region. The property features views of the garden and is 44 km from Bath. The kitchen comes with an oven and ...
More info and book online.. Price from £65.00
Shaftesbury, Dorset, England (1.4 miles, 2.3 km, direction E)
Situated in Shaftesbury in the Dorset Region, this holiday home is 45 km from Bath. The property is 37 km from Bournemouth and free private parking is provided. The kitchen is fitted with an oven....
More info and book online.. Price from £82.00
The Old Forge
Shaftesbury, Dorset, England (2.7 miles, 4.3 km, direction S)All Accommodation in Shaftesbury..
With free Wi-Fi and free parking on site, The Old Forge is an 18th-century carriage and wheelwrights workshop a 5-minute drive from Shaftesbury. The grounds are home to a donkey, 3 friendly dogs, and ...
More info and book online.. Price from £70.00
See all Shaftesbury reviews..
Please login to make a review
Nearby travel help
|Gillingham (Dorset) Station||(3.8 miles, 6.1 km, direction NW)|
|Tisbury Station||(6.6 miles, 10.7 km, direction NE)|
|Bournemouth Airport||(22.3 miles, 35.8 km, direction SE)|
|M27 Junction 1||(27.1 miles, 43.6 km, direction E)|
|M27 Junction 2||(29.4 miles, 47.3 km, direction E)|
|Bristol International Airport||(34.5 miles, 55.5 km, direction NW)|
|Shaftesbury to London||(96.4 miles, 155.1 km, direction E)|