Day trip : Shaftesbury

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

An easy hour’s drive from Winchester, Shaftesbury is a lovely little town nestled within the rolling hills of Dorset. To reach Shaftesbury, you have the pleasure of driving through the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it’s easy to understand why Dorset-dweller, Thomas Hardy, was so inspired by this area.

Shaftesbury is a small town, with a population of around 6,600. It is also one of England’s oldest towns, with records placing it back to the 8th century and King Alfred the Great. But, what firmly placed Shaftesbury on the modern map is the Hovis advert in the 1970’s, which features a young boy pushing a bike and basket of bread up Gold Hill, before free-wheeling back down its cobbles to the words “get that wheatgerm inside of you boy, and you’ll be pedalling up that hill as fast as you pedal down it“, that has since seen the town’s tourism flourish.

Where to Park:

The most important factor in any day trip. Parking. We parked in the town centre, at Bell Street Car Park. Other options include Angel Lane Car Park and Barton Hill Car Park.

Where to Eat:

Pamplemoose Dorset offers some great takeaway options, like sandwiches and cakes and great coffee. The Mitre Inn is also a lovely pub with terrace views. The Salt Cellar also came highly recommended, particularly for its positioning at the top of Gold Hill itself.

What is there to see and do?

First things first – Gold Hill. A must-see for a visit to Shaftesbury, take a stroll down and back up this beautiful and iconic Dorset landmark. The cottages will make you giddy and the views will have you inspired to traipse across the Blackmore Vale.

Other things: stroll around the quaint town, popping your head into its independent shops and delis. Visit the Shaftesbury Abbey ruins, museum, and gardens. Walk up Castle Hill, a wildlife reserve and hill that gives you views over the town. Walk parts of the Great Wessex Way, a trail stretching from Wiltshire to Dorset, or the Fontmell & Melbury Downs.

Further afield: If you’ve conquered Shaftesbury itself and have some time on your hands, Stourhead (a National Trust site and where Pride & Prejudice was partly filmed) is 20 minutes away, Old Wardour Castle (a castle ruin and English Heritage site) is a mere 10 minutes away. You could also head directly south another 50 minutes to Lulworth and Durdle Door.

Day Trip/Weekend Break : Lyme Regis, Dorset

Drink, Food, Travel, Uncategorized

We recently did a day trip to Lyme Regis in Dorset, and really loved it! It is a something-for-everyone small seaside town two hours from Winchester.

It had real Cornwall-y vibes, and the drive itself is super pretty given that it crosses the New Forest, and the rolling hills of the Wiltshire and Dorset countryside (depending on your route).

Things To Do


Obviously there’s the sea! The beach has a sandy side and a shingle side, so it’s a win-win really. There were lots of cafes and stalls along the front for refreshments, and some watersports and equipment-for-hire places too.

Mini Golf & The Town Mill

There’s a great outdoor mini golf course set up the hillside that overlooks the harbour and sea.

The Town Mill is a converted mill turned art gallery and space for local artisans. There’s a pretty courtyard and a cafe selling locally sourced food.

High Street

The high street, is very small and there are not a lot of shops, but it’s definitely worth a mooch. There are some lovely (and fancy) homeware shops, and lots of vintage and antique stores too. We didn’t get to try it, but there was a queue out the door and down the street for Mulberry Manor bakery, so I can’t vouch for it, but it’s probably worth a try.

Walks & Heritage

The Jurassic Coast has many walking options, and also a lot of National Trust and English Heritage sites nearby.

Lewesdon Hill (National Trust) is the highest point in Dorset, providing views across Devon, Somerset and out to sea.

The East Devon and Dorset hills (both AONBs) and the Blackdown Hills are also in close proximity.

Food & Drink

Town Mill Bakery – situated down Coombe Street, and named after the Town Mill itself, Town Mill Bakery offers great breakfast and brunch options.

The Oyster & Fish House – if you love seafood, this place should not be missed. Lovely views over the sea, friendly staff, and excellent seafood and cocktails.

Swim – a good brunch and lunch spot, selling burgers, salad, as well as steak, fish and vegetarian options. It has a great cocktail menu too, with views over the beach.

Dottie Kitchen – another good lunch spot selling wraps, smoothies, salads and sandwiches.

Kiosk – right on the seafront, selling excellent ice cream and fair-trade coffee.