Shaftesbury is where we call home. It's also the highest town in Dorset and the setting for Ridley Scott's famous 1973 Hovis advert featuring a baker's boy pushing a bike up Gold Hill.
Shaftesbury has a magical combination of olde worlde charm, attractions, and unique shops to visit, making it a great destination for a day out.
W H E N T O V I S I T
Shaftesbury is a busy town all-year-round, however there are a couple of key times of year when it's extra special to be here.
February for the snowdrops
Swathes of snowdrops planted around Shaftesbury make visiting in late winter an utter joy.
Late July for the Fringe Festival
Artists, musicians, comedians, dancers and actors flock to Shaftesbury in late July for one of the UK's fastest growing fringe festivals. The town comes alive across the long weekend with the pubs offering drinks to go and many spots to soak in the sunshine and happy atmosphere.
W H E R E T O P A R K
Shaftesbury isn't flush for parking in the middle of town, so we recommend parking in the free, long-stay car park on Barton Hill (postcode: SP7 8QA). It's a short walk in to town with a chance to cross a recreation ground, perfect for a run around, if you've got a dog with you.
Disabled spaces are available in the high street and in the Bell Street car park, although there is a maximum stay of 4 hours. Electric charging points are available here.
W H E R E T O S H O P
The vast majority of businesses in Shaftesbury are independently owned and run. Here's some of our unmissable spots:
Coconut & Cotton - for plastic free essentials, ethical homewares and useful things
FOLDE Dorset - for books, prints and locally made homewares. An excellent spot to pick up local walking routes and tips, too!
Pamplemousse - A florist and cafe with daily displays of flowers, plants, homewares and delicious cakes.
Shaftesbury Arts Centre - regular exhibitions of local artists' work make the arts centre an essential stop-off.
Bright Blooms Floral Boutique - houseplant heaven with rare and unusual varieties to add to your collection.
Moon & Back - ethical, beautiful kid's clothing in the sweetest designs.
The Shaftesbury Deli - stock up on local produce in this plentiful little shop that's bursting with cheeses, cakes, preserves and charcuterie.
Willow Shaftesbury - great for dreamy clothing, gifts and homewares.
W H E R E T O S T A Y
If you're hoping to stay in the area, we can recommend a few places to stay.
This Georgian restaurant with rooms is just across the road from our shop. It's a hive of activity with a lively bar, fantastic menu and luxurious accommodation. It's also dog friendly and situated in the centre of town with easy access to everything. Dog friendly!
Looking for a rural escape? Ash Farm is a short drive away but offers incredibly smart cabins in an idyllic setting. A peaceful night's sleep is guaranteed!
From Easter you can get back to nature and enjoy a beautiful view of Shaftesbury (and a field of alpacas!) at Holyrood Campsite. Facilities are basic but there's all the space in the world for kids to run wild!
W H E R E T O E A T
Seasons of Shaftesbury are great for special dietary requirements and vegan options. The Salt Cellar does an incredible breakfast for those with larger appetites and The Grosvenor Arms also offers a variety of breakfast options in a spacious, characterful setting.
Reeves The Baker have a cult status in town for their huge range of pastries, cakes, breads and sandwiches. Based in the centre of town, they're perfect for grabbing food to go, to enjoy in one of Shaftesbury's prettiest spots.
The Salt Cellar are conveniently positioned at the top of Gold Hill so you can enjoy a hearty lunch with an amazing view. Booking is essential in the summer months!
King Alfred's Kitchen offer tapas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to either eat in, or takeaway. Great for sharing and everything they do is delicious.
The Grosvenor Arms is a beautiful dining experience with a varied and experimental menu. Booking advised in the summer months. The cocktails are always worth seeking out, too.
Wood fired pizza pop-ups are a regular fixture in the high street. Keep an eye out for boards around town to see which night they'll be available.
G O O D T O K N O W
Wheelchair access to the majority of shops and cafes is possible. Gold Hill is cobbled and steep, with steps to get to it on both sides. If possible, access via Park Lane will get you closer to a view of the hill with fewer steps to negotiate. Pavements narrow towards the bottom of the high street but traffic is slow and drop-curbs are frequent.
Visiting with babies and young children is a great day out. Park Walk is a fantastic promenade with grassy gardens for kids to run around in. The long, flat expanse of paving is also excellent fun for kids with balance bikes or scooters. St James Park is down the hill from Park Walk and has slides, swings and play equipment for smaller kids, too.
Baby changing is available in most cafes in town with The Salt Cellar, Coffee Number 1 and Costa having easy access loos.
Dogs are welcomed in the vast majority of shops, cafes and pubs in town. Shaftesbury is very dog friendly with Park Walk, Castle Hill and Barton Hill Recreation Ground all being great spots for giving dogs a run around.
Shaftesbury is around an hour from the Isle of Purbeck and is close to the world famous site of Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast. Salisbury is only a 40 minute drive and you can be in Bath in just over an hour. We are close to the A303, making us a great stop-off on your way to Devon or Cornwall!