Shaftesbury Salisbury
Dorset SP7 8AE
 
 

 

Shaftesbury is situated on the side of Canborne Chase in north Dorset and has commanding views over the surrounding countryside. In 880 AD, during the Viking invasion, King Alfred the Great chose this position to build a fortified settlement.

Evidence of this early occupation is restricted to the Shaftesbury Abbey ruins and St Peter’s Church. The rest of the town is mainly 18th and 19th century buildings constructed from stones taken from the ruined abbey buildings.

Picturesque Historic Town
Shaftesbury is a picturesque town and probably best known these days for its steep cobbled Gold Hill which featured in Britain’s best loved food advertisement for ‘Hovis’ bread!
 
The best way to appreciate the history and beauty of the town is to walk around it. There are plenty of Blue Plaques and Information Boards marking the historic places and buildings.
 
Tourist Information Centre
Shaftesbury Tourist Information Centre (Shaftesbury TIC) is located in the heart of the town in Bell Street. The entrance is hidden behind an imposing portico and columns.
 
To gain an insight into how Shaftesbury developed, visit our article on this website entitled the History of Shaftesbury.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:    External Link
 
American Connections
Shaftesbury has many links with the early settlement of the United States of America. In 1631 Thomas Mayhew moved to Massachusetts where he purchased Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and helped to establish the townships of Tisbury and Chilmark. The new colony of Maryland was formed in 1632 by the owners of Shaftesbury, Lady Ann Arundell and her husband, the 2nd Lord Baltimore.
 
With the decline of the cottage industry of button making during the 19th century, hundreds of Dorset families emigrated to America seeking a better life.
 
In 1829 Richard Upjohn, a cabinet maker and joiner, left Shaftesbury for America where he became the first President of the American Institute of Architects. A year later, William Upjohn, surveyor, emigrated with his grown up children. His grandson was to found the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Corporation of America.
 
Museums
Shaftesbury has two museums, the Gold Hill Museum & Garden at the top of Gold Hill, and Shaftesbury Abbey Museum & Garden in Park Walk.
 
Literary Connection
Shaftesbury’s greatest literary connection is with the famous Dorset author, Thomas Hardy. Hardy used many Dorset locations and identities in his novels. In Jude the Obscure, Ox House in Shaftesbury is called Old Grove Place in Shaston. Shaston appears again in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Hardy created the name d’Urberville from the real life family of Dumberfield whose grave can be seen in Piddletrenthide All Saints churchyard.
 
Local Market
An Outdoor Market is held in the High Street every Thursday. Further details are available on Web:  Shaftesbury Market    External Link
 
Major Events
For a list of upcoming Festivals, Fairs and Agricultural Shows go to Web:  Shaftesbury Tourism    External Link
 
Steam Fair
A highlight in September is the Great Dorset Steam Fair. For a taste of what you might see if you have never attended a Steam and Vintage Vehicle Fair before, go to Web: Great Dorset Steam Fair    External Link
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Agoda here:    External Link
 
Contact & further information
Telephone   +44 (0)1747 853 514
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website   Staftesbury Tourism    External Link

Getting There
- By Car from London

At Junction 12 on the M25 London Ring Road take the M3 south west towards Basingstoke, Winchester and towards Southampton. At Junction 8 (restricted junction with exit to A303 only) exit to A303 westward past Andover.

On passing over the A36 Warminster to Salisbury highway, the visitor will reach the A350 Warminster to Poole highway. Take the A350 south for 8 miles (13 km).

- By Car from Salisbury
From the A36 Warminster to Salisbury highway, at Wilton take the A30 20 miles (32km) west to Shaftesbury. On the journey the visitor will pass the village of Fovant with its Regimental Badges carved into the hillside.
 
- By Car from Bournemouth & Poole
From the A35 dual carriageway around Bournemouth and Poole, take the A350 for approximately 11 miles (17.7km) to the north towards Blandford Forum and then continue along the A350 for a out 12 miles (18km) to Shaftesbury.
 
Google Maps - Shaftesbury