Best Things to See and Do in Shaftesbury, Dorset

Best Things to See and Do in Shaftesbury, Dorset, Shaftesbury, England (B)

Shaftesbury, a Saxon hill town in Dorset, is packed full of things to see and do. It is a historic market town with an ancient abbey. There are walks with spectacular views over the surrounding countryside, and the famous Gold Hill, with its cobbles and stone cottages. And, for literary buffs, there is the connection with Thomas Hardy…

Shaftesbury was one of a number of fortified towns founded by King Alfred the Great to defend his kingdom of Wessex. In 888 CE he established a Benedictine abbey on the hill top site. This was the first such community solely for women, and Alfred’s daughter Aethelgifu was the first abbess. For a while in the 10th century, the Abbey housed the relics of St Edward the Martyr, and Shaftesbury became a pilgrimage destination.

Shaftesbury Abbey was dissolved in 1539, and fell into ruin. Today visitors can explore the Abbey Museum and the remains of the abbey buildings, and wander through the herb garden.

Close to the Abbey is St Peter’s Church. The oldest church in Shaftesbury, it was built in the 14th century to serve visiting pilgrims. Next door is the 19th century Town Hall and the Gold Hill Museum. The museum is housed in two historic buildings, and has displays of local interest and a traditional cottage garden. ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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Sights Map

Guide Name: Best Things to See and Do in Shaftesbury, Dorset
Guide Location: England » Shaftesbury
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (B))
Author: Karen Warren
Read it on Author's Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • the Abbey Museum
  • St Peter’s Church
  • Town Hall
  • Gold Hill Museum
  • Shaftesbury Heritage Trail
  • Gold Hill
  • Park Walk
  • Pine Walk
  • Castle Hill
  • The Mitre
  • King Alfred’s Kitchen
  • Grosvenor Arms