Shaftesbury and North Dorset

Entertainment and Activities

There is plenty to keep visitors entertained in North Dorset, with many options for wet weather.   There are two Tourist Information Centres – one is in Shaftesbury and the other in Blandford Forum.  They both provides a year round information programme of shows, concerts and exhibitions as well as which local attractions are open when.

There are also a number of museums, art galleries, mills, fishing lakes and gardens to visit, not forgetting the Iron Age Hill forts of Hambledon Hill and Hod Hill near Blandford; and Badbury Rings near Wimborne.

Shaftesbury Arts Centre has a varied year round programme featuring plays, films and exhibitions.  The Exchange in Sturminster Newton also offers a range of performances, including theatre, comedy and music.

The Hall and Woodhouse brewery will be open to visitors in 2016, allowing them to experience an interesting brewery tour and end with a sample of the local ale!

The spectacular landscape of north Dorset is ideal for walking and there are two long distance footpaths cross the region.  The Wessex Ridgeway stretches from Ashmore in the north, down to the coast at Lyme Regis, much of it on a long chalk ridge.  The North Dorset Trailway is the route of the Somerset and Dorset railway line, which is being gradually opened up as long distance footpath.  The longest stretch open to date is from Blandford to Sturminster Newton.

For the more adventurous visitor, Compton Abbas Airfield offers the thrill of flying a light aircraft over the North Dorset scenery, suitable for anyone, from novice flyers to qualified pilots.  There are also various events and fly-ins throughout the year.

Five coarse fishing lakes make up the complex at Todber Manor in North Dorset, so if your visitors like fishing there are plenty of opportunities here.

There are swimming pools and leisure centres in Gillingham and Blandford and a seasonal swimming pool in Shaftesbury.