Pictures of England


Historic Towns & Picturesque Villages

Laxey Viaduct on the Manx Electric Railway


in the county of Isle of Man



in the county of Suffolk

Pictures of Shaftesbury

a Historic Market Town in the county of Dorset

About 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.

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.

Shaftesbury facts | Dorset facts

Related Articles

The Prettiest Streets in Englandby poe

Shaftesbury Image Collections

Gold Hill
Photos of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury (41 pictures)

One of the most famous views in England is the magnificent view looking down Gold Hill in the town of Shaftesbury, Dorset. The view has everything - Countryside, cobbled street, and old cottages. Check out all these gorgeous pictures of the famous view.

Created by poe on 25th April 2022 (updated 2022-04-25 17:26:14)

Late 15th century Church of St Peter
Shaftesbury Churches (10 pictures)

Created by poe on 25th April 2022 (updated 2022-04-25 18:29:06)

Shaftesbury Videos

The most famous view in England..

Hovis bread famous advert from 1973

Recommended towns & villages near Shaftesbury

Sturminster Newton in Dorset

Sturminster Newton (40 Pictures) 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...

Milton Abbas, Dorset.

Milton Abbas (50 Pictures) 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...

Sherborne Castle, Dorset taken in the summer of 1973.

Sherborne (111 Pictures) 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...

Bridge over River Stour at White Mill, near Sturminster Marshall, Dorset

Sturminster Marshall (1 Pictures) 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...

House in King Street, Wimborne Minster

Wimborne Minster (103 Pictures) 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 & villages in Dorset
Complete A to Z of towns & villages in England

Nearby attractions..

Stourhead frozen lake sunset

Stourhead (94 Pictures)

(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.....

Fovant Badges, Wiltshire.  - Taken from the air in July 2006

Fovant Badges (6 Pictures)

(10.1 miles, 16.3 km, direction E)


On the platform.

Longleat House & Safari Park (170 Pictures)

(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.....

View from Badbury Rings, Near Wimborne, Dorset

Badbury Rings (19 Pictures)

(13.9 miles, 22.3 km, direction SE)


Sherborne Old Castle

Sherborne Castle (80 Pictures)

(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......

Sherborne Abbey at night

Sherborne Abbey (7 Pictures)

(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.....

Bridge over River Stour at White Mill, near Sturminster Marshall, Dorset

White Mill (5 Pictures)

(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 Shaftesbury
All attractions in Dorset
Complete A to Z of attractions in England