Shaftesbury's most famous attraction is Gold Hill; a steep cobbled street which looks out over one of the most romantic sights in England. Most famous for its starring role in the Hovis Advert, as well as the film Far From the Madding Crowd based on the novel by Dorset writer Thomas Hardy.
For a history of Shaftesbury see: https://www.history.org.uk/file_download.php?ts=1387298968&id=13320
This famous estate (12 miles from Shaftesbury) includes a Palladian mansion and the world-famous gardens, which include many temples and grottoes. The gardens are open all-year
This one really needs no introduction as it's one of the most famous and instantly recognisable sites in the world. Built between 3000BC and 2000BC much of Stonehenge remains a mystery. If you'd like to go and see it for yourself, it's only 24 miles from Shaftesbury. Though there is a better, larger stone circle not far away at Avebury with free admission and a pub at its centre.
An English stately home, Longleat comprises of the Elizabethan country house, maze, landscaped parkland and the world famous safari park. It's only 20 miles from Shaftesbury and well worth a day out, and is open all-year.
Cerne Abbas Giant
Sporting a club and an erection, this famous hill figure (22 miles away just outside the village of Cerne Abbas) is of unknown age and origin. Though often thought to be ancient, the earliest mention comes from the 17th century. It is part of local folklore and seen as a symbol of great fertility.
Copy the following link to a brilliant web page showing the country houses, gardens, attractions, activities, museums, shopping within 30 miles (50k) of Shaftesbury: Shaftesbury, the Centre for Touring
Ideas for day trips within an hour's driving:
1. Local to Shaftesbury area -
Dorset villages, Blandford Georgian town, Signals Museum, Costume Museum, Stourhead, Compton Abbas airfield flights, Wardour Castle, Hod Hill stoneage camp, Gold Hill museum, Shaftesbury Abbey garden museum, Sturminster Newton, mill, bridge, Fiddleford Manor
2. North to Bath -
Longleat House, Durham Park House, Frome shopping, Bath thermal baths, American Museum, Farleigh Castle, Bradford on Avon, George Inn (800 years old) Norton St Philip, Bath costume museum, Holbourne Museum, Museum of Photography and Lacock Abbey, Bath Abbey, River cruise, Canal cruise, Malmesbury and Abbey, and Abbey House gardens, Tewkesbury amd Prince Charles' Tetbury,
3. North East to Stonehenge -
See Stonehenge if you have deep pockets and two hours, but Avebury is better, free, larger ring, larger stones, deeper ditches and higher rings and a pub in the middle, Silbury Hill, Marlborough historic town, Corsham Court
4. East to Salisbury -
Cathedral and Spire tour, Mompesson House, Wilton House, Wilton former carpet factory, Old Sarum and its fortified Saxon city and castle, Romsey Abbey and Romsey House, Breamore House, Philipps' House, Mottisfont House and gardens, Winchester and its Cathedral
5. South East to New Forest -
Lord Montague's House and Motor Museum, Burleigh, wild ponies, Lymington, Exbury Gardens, Beaulieu historic village. Southampton and historic city. Iron-age recreated village at Cranborne, Edmondsham House, Cranborne Manor and garden centre.
6. South to Bournemouth and Poole -
Christchurch Priory, and harbour, Hengistbury Head and Tudor castle, Russell Cotes Museum, Poole Harbour and quaysides, Harbour tours, Brownsea Island, Wimborne and its Minster, Priests House Museum, Kingston Lacy House, Badbury Rings, 9 miles golden sands, two piers, Shelley Theatre, Pavilion Theatre, Tower Park cinema complex, Compton Acres gardens
7. South to Studland and Purbeck -
Studland village and beaches, including naturist beach, Corfe Castle and village, Wareham Saxon defended town, Lawrence of Arabia's monumental tomb in 100-year old gate-church, Lawrence of Arabia's cottage, Monkey World, Tank Museum, Swanage Steam Railway, Lulworth and other coves and beaches, Smedmore House, Heritage coast
8. South West to Dorchester, Weymouth and West Dorset -
Poundbury - Prince Charles' village, Cerne Abbey and Giant, Dorchester Museum, Forde Abbey, Minterne House and gardens, Weymouth historic town, harbour and Castle, Chesil Beach, Abbotsbury and the Swannery, Historic Bridport and West Bay, Milton Abbey and House, Milton Abbas historic village, Athelhampton House, Thomas Hardy's House and Cottage
9. West to Sherborne -
Sherborne town and its Abbey, its two castles. Montacute House, Tintinhull House, Lytes Cary House, Sandford Orcas Manor, Barrington Court.
10. North West to Glastonbury, Wells -
Wells Cathedral, Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury Tor, Street shopping village, Ston Easton Park hotel tea, Mulberry Factory shop, 'Spelt' cafe and discount shopping at Shepton Mallet. Cheddar village and cheese, Cheddar Caves