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Vacation in Shaftesbury

Besides great sights, an interesting history and many exciting destinations, Shaftesbury has a lot more to offer. Here you will find many helpful tips to enjoy your vacation in Shaftesbury.

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Sights in Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury is a town in Dorset, England, situated on the A30 road 20mi west of Salisbury. In the 2011 census the civil parish had a population of 7,314. It is the only significant hilltop settlement in Dorset, being built about 215m above sea level on a greensand hill on the edge of Cranborne Chase. The town looks over the Blackmore Vale, with views to Panther Hill.

History of Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury /ˈʃæftsbəri/ is a town and civil parish in Dorset, England. It is situated on the A30 road, 20 miles west of Salisbury and 15 miles northwest of the county town Dorchester. In the 2011 census the civil parish had a population of 7,314.

The town’s history dates back to at least AD 888 when it was recorded as a burh in the Burghal Hidage. It was the capital of Wessex from 871 to 899 and the seat of the Kingdom of England’s government from 899 to 926. The town’s Abbey was founded by Alfred the Great in 888 and became one of the largest and wealthiest in England before its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539. Today, the town is chiefly notable for the ruins of its Abbey, which are a World Heritage Site, and its High Street—containing one of the longest uninterrupted stretches of 14thcentury timberframed buildings in England.

A market town at the confluence of the rivers Blackmore and Stour, Shaftesbury became the commercial centre of North Dorset. It prospered from the wool trade until the 20th century, when the industry declined and was replaced by light manufacturing. The town’s market originally traded livestock, but now sells mostly locally produced produce. The town is now a commuter town for families who work mostly in Salisbury, Yeovil, Sherborne, Gillingham or Wincanton. There are commutable links by road and rail to London.

Shaftesbury Abbey was founded in 888 by King Alfred and his wife, Ealhswith. Alfred had been inspired by the example of monastery life while he was in Rome, and decided to establish a similar community in Wessex. The Abbey became one of the richest and most powerful in England, with a large and influential community of monks. It was also the first monastery in England to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The Abbey was sacked by the Danes in 1013, but was rebuilt and flourished until its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539. The Abbey churchyard is now a public park, and the Abbey ruins are a popular tourist attraction.

The High Street is lined with medieval timberframed buildings, many of which are now shops, restaurants and cafes. The street is home to the Shaftesbury Buttercross, a 15thcentury stone cross that was once used as a market stall. The Buttercross is now a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Nearby is Gold Hill, a street renowned for its picturesque appearance. It was featured in the 1967 Hovis bread advert, directed by Ridley Scott.

Shaftesbury Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1067, and was remodelled in the 13th century by Edward I. The castle was besieged and captured by Parliamentary troops during the English Civil War in 1645. The castle Ruins are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.

Vacation in Shaftesbury

If you are looking for a unique vacation experience, look no further than Shaftesbury, England. This quaint English town offers a variety of activities and attractions that will keep you entertained throughout your stay.

First, take some time to explore the town itself. Stroll down the cobbled streets and soak up the historic atmosphere. Be sure to visit Gold Hill, which was featured in the opening scenes of the classic film ‘Chariots of Fire’. For a bird’s eye view of the town, climb up to St. James’ church and enjoy the views from the top of the hill.

If you are interested in learning about the history of Shaftesbury, there are several museums to visit. The Shaftesbury Abbey Museum is located in the ruins of the original abbey, and is a fascinating glimpse into the past. The Shaftesbury Heritage Centre is another great option, and houses a variety of exhibits on the town’s history.

For those who prefer to spend their vacation outdoors, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Take a hike through the beautiful countryside or go for a bike ride along the scenic river paths. For a more adrenalinepumping experience, try your hand at rock climbing or paragliding.

No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in Shaftesbury. This charming town is the perfect place to relax and create lasting memories.

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