The ancient hilltop town of Shaftesbury has a history dating back to Anglo Saxon times when Alfred The Great built founded a burgh (fortified settlement) here in 880 as a defence in the struggle with the Danish invaders. Alfred and his daughter Ethelgiva founded Shaftesbury Abbey in 888. The town is particularly famous for Gold Hill, the steep cobbled street, which featured in Hovis adverts in the 1970's and which commands far-reaching views over the Blackmore Vale. Shaftesbury is known as Shaston in the novels of Thomas Hardy. Hideaways' extensive choice of holiday cottages in and around Shaftesbury provide the ideal base for exploring this friendly, market town.
A carefully restored, quintessential English cottage, below Gold Hill in St James's, a few minutes' walk from the main part of the Saxon hilltop town of Shaftesbury.
15% discount for all holidays ending on or before 5th May
Hidden away in a tiny hilltop hamlet, Clematis Cottage affords superb views from the back of the house across a wide, rolling landscape on the borders of Wiltshire and Dorset.
Quietly situated along a winding country lane in the parish of Stour Provost, 4 miles from the hilltop town of Shaftesbury, this is a beautifully appointed cottage, perfect for two guests.
15% discount for all holidays ending on or before 6th May
In a private location on the Wiltshire-Dorset border, West Hatch Cottage offers beautifully appointed, spacious accommodation, ideal for families and larger groups.
Special rates apply for parties of 4 or fewer using 2 bedrooms.
One of two carefully designed holiday cottages with ground floor accommodation, deep in the countryside, on the borders of Wiltshire and Dorset.
20% discount for all holidays ending on or before 11th May
The larger of two carefully designed cottages, with ground floor accommodation, deep in the countryside, on the borders of Wiltshire and Dorset.
Deep in the countryside on the Dorset-Wiltshire border with far-reaching views across unspoilt countryside, The Old Piggery provides a peaceful pied à terre for exploring this beautiful area.
20% discount for all holidays ending on or before 11th May
Situated in a village setting in the rural heart of Dorset, Homelea has been sensitively refurbished and modernised, whilst retaining much of its original character and charm.
A unique opportunity to rent an historic, Grade II* house set in extensive grounds on the edge of the charming village of Tollard Royal. Perfect for special celebration weekends, corporate breaks or longer holidays.
15% discount for all holidays ending on or before 12th May
30% discount applies for parties of 8 guests or fewer using 4 bedrooms.
Enjoying an open uninterrupted view across pasture land to Hambledon Hill, Giddy Acre Barn is peacefully situated on a smallholding, a little way down a track on the fringes of Child Okeford.
20% discount applies for 2 guests
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Situated 20 miles south west of Salisbury near the Wiltshire border, Shaftesbury is one of the oldest and highest towns in Britain. Its setting and the beautiful surrounding countryside make this the perfect destination for a holiday. At 718 feet on the side of a chalk hill, Shaftesbury overlooks the Blackmore Vale and affords magnificent views to the south and west as far as Glastonbury Tor in clear weather. The town is the only significant hilltop settlement in Dorset. Hideaways has specialised in providing luxury holiday cottages to rent in Dorset for many years and has a particularly large selection of cottages in and around Shaftesbury, which will suit all requirements.
Shaftesbury dates from Anglo-Saxon times. Alfred the Great created a ‘burgh’ here (a fortified settlement) in 880 as defence against the Danes, and together with his daughter Ethelgiva founded the Abbey in 888. The present-day ruins, consisting of a walled garden (herbs and mediaeval orchard) together with a museum, are open to the public from April to the end of October and are well worth a visit. Athelstan founded three Royal mints here and the Abbey later became the wealthiest Benedictine nunnery in England. After the relics of Edward the Martyr were brought to the town in 981, it became a significant pilgrimage destination. King Canute died here in 1035; in 1191 Shaftesbury was granted the first of several Charters, including one for a market in 1280. It is indeed a place of very considerable history.
In 1539 Shaftesbury Abbey was demolished and the land passed through several hands. A number of the oldest buildings survive however, including the church and Edwardstow in Bimport, both dating from the 15th century. Shaftesbury Town Hall, though of a much later date, is a Grade II listed building. The town’s prosperity was based on button making and weaving and its five turnpikes provided an excellent coach trade. Later, the novels of Thomas Hardy (who refers to the town as Shaston) raised its popularity and nowadays tourism is Shaftesbury’s main source of income. The town boasts a good range of independent shops as well as some excellent restaurants and welcoming pubs. The making of a commercial advertisement for Hovis bread on Gold Hill, a steep and well-preserved part of the old town, has done much to attract visitors in recent times and is a ‘must-visit’ attraction while staying in one of our Shaftesbury cottages.
The countryside surrounding Shaftesbury is particularly attractive and is easily explored from any of Hideaways’ wide range of comfortable Dorset cottages. The town is on the edge of Cranborne Chase, which contains some of the most beautiful country in England and the rolling hills and downs provide superb walks and rides, as well as glimpses into the far past such as the Cerne Abbas Giant. Interesting small towns like Gillingham, with its railway museum, and Mere on the edge of Salisbury Plain are nearby, whilst the cathedral city of Salisbury is easily reached and deserves a full day’s exploring, and Stonehenge, Bath, the New Forest and the World Heritage Jurassic Coast are all fascinating destinations for a day out from your holiday cottage base. For those interested in history, the Hardy Trail and magnificent houses such as Stourhead, Longleat and the ruined Wardour Old Castle (the only hexagonal fortress in Britain) should not be missed.
Hideaways has around 60 carefully selected self-catering properties in and around Shaftesbury, providing excellent bases for exploring this ancient, historic and beautiful region.
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