Shaftesbury is a small Market town in Dorset with a recorded history that goes back to the Saxon hilltop forts. You can experience what it was like back in King Alfred’s time whilst walking round the ruins of the Abbey, or just enjoy the history of the area displayed in the Gold Hill museum. The town is the home of Gold Hill (made famous by the ‘Hovis’ advertisement) and has magnificent views over the Blackmore Vale. There is a wide variety of independent shops, pubs and restaurants for tourists to enjoy, in one of the friendliest towns in the area.Surrounding Shaftesbury you will find the towns of Gillingham, Mere and Sturminster Newton which make up the Blackmore Vale, where you can follow in the footsteps of Thomas Hardy along the River Stour, as well as visit Gillingham Museum with its railway history. You can also visit Sturminster Newton’s mill and explore many of the varied and interesting shops and sights along the way.Shaftesbury, situated on the intersection of the A30 and the A350, is the ‘Gateway to the South West’ from which you can tour the area from Stonehenge in the east to Bath and Bristol to the north, and Bournemouth and the Jurassic Coast to the south.