Shaftesbury sits on a plateau some 700 ft above the Blackmore Vale, which means on a clear day the views are quite spectacular and stretch as far as the Glastonbury Hills. The countryside here, near the Dorset-Wiltshire border is green, rolling dairy pasture and Shaftesbury makes a great base for either a walking or touring holiday.
The town’s most famous landmark would have to be Golden Hill; a cobbled street falls away steeply with a buttress on one side and historic cottages on the other. If it looks familiar that is because it featured in the famous Hovis bread commercials.
To the north is the National Trust property, Stourhead, which is one of the finest examples of 18th century landscaped gardening in the country. The Palladian house is pleasant enough but it is Henry Hoare II’s garden with its lake, temples, follies and colourful plantings that really make this a worthwhile stopping off point.