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In the heart of green and pleasant Thomas Hardy country, Shaftesbury is a hilltop market town overlooking an idyllic rural scene of meadows, medieval ruins and more hills. Several of the best places to stay in Shaftesbury offer exceptional rural views on their menus, but some also offer views of the town. Shaftesbury can trace its history back to Saxon times, when it was a significant hilltop fort, and it's one of the highest, and oldest, towns in Britain.
What Not To Miss
- Gold Hill is one of the town's prettiest streets, a street so perfectly wholesome, with its slope of thatched-style cottages, that it's been famously used in a Hovis commercial, so if you recognise it, that might be why.
- There's also a museum at Gold Hill showcasing local history with a few interactive items for kids.
- Shaftesbury's ruined abbey was once England's largest, and richest nunnery, and home to royalty, though it's also a wonderful place to enjoy the surrounding views.
- Wardour Castle, about three kilometres to the west, is another famous local sight, a six sided affair built in the 12th Century and severely damaged in the English Civil War.
- Enjoy the spectacular views from Castle Hill - the hill is also part of a fantastic walking route taking in the town as well.
The town is a popular tourist destination, so if you want a bed in one of the best places to stay in Shaftesbury, get organised and book early.
The best places to stay in Shaftesbury
- The Grosvenor Arms is a charming old Georgian inn with 16 elegant rooms bang in the centre of town. After a recent revamp the restaurant is now first rate and the rooms definitely have the "wow" factor. But this is still a great value property, with rooms starting from just £100 per night.
For a cottage or lodge
- If you'd prefer a self-catering option this holiday, don't hesitate to visit our online partner, Booking.com for a range of quaint properties ideal for exploring the town.
- Fly to Southampton Airport located 74km (46 miles) from Shaftesbury. The airport provides connections to various domestic and International European destinations.
- Catch a train to Gillingham train station, only about 5 miles from Shaftesbury with onward connections to London.
- If you want to rent a car to explore the beautiful town and rural surroundings - for prices, visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
- Best time to visit - the summer months from June to early September are ideal for enjoying everything this historic town has to offer.
Best Hotels in Shaftesbury
Grosvenor Arms 16 rooms from $130Shaftesbury, Dorset
After a makeover, this former Georgian inn in the middle of Hardy country oozes casual elegance. Retire to stylish rooms upstairs after dinner in the first-rate revamped restaurant. Great service and classy accommodation without the high price tag.Sights nearby - Walking distance to all Shaftesbury's sightsLocal markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.