The Dorset coast is known for its stunning natural beauty and outside of the main popular destinations it has some of the most beautiful places to discover.
Sherborne in north west Dorset is a small town but has plenty of character and old world charm making it well worth a visit.
The town is awash with history and medieval and Georgian buildings, many built from the distinctive ochre ham stone. Considered a gem of Dorset it has a reputation for art, antiques and ancient buildings which make for a captivating visit.
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Among the rich history Sherborne has many hidden shop as well as Cheap Street’s Pannier Market fir bargain lovers. It’s a popular spot with foodies with a good choice of tearooms, cafés, bistros and restaurants including The 2 AA Rosette Seasons Restaurant is with garden views and terrace for al-fresco dining
Sherborne is also a treasure trove for antiques lovers with rare books, collectables and its own auction house. The auctioneers holds a monthly auction of collectors’ items and antiques
(Image: Sherborne Abbey Bell ringers)
Widely considered one of the finest buildings in Dorset the Abbey was founded in 1075 before later becoming the parish church of Sherborne. It remains for many the cathedral of Dorset.
With its fan vaulting and thirteen centuries of history it is a stunning example of a Benedictine monastery
St John’s Almshouse
The historic almshouses of St John date back to 1437 and still remain today. Originally licensed by Henry VI for “12 poor men and 4 poor women” they are now home to 18 elderly residents. The buildings carries a 15th century Triptych; copies of the illuminated Royal Licence and Foundation Deed; an original letter dated 1594 from Sir Walter Raleigh to the Almshouse Master.
Although the houses are inhabited, visitors can explore the chapel and ante-chapel. Both retain many original features, including a three paneled altar piece dating back to about 1480
Sherborne Old Castle
(Image: English Hertage)
The remains of the old castle make for a fascinating glimpse back into the past. The castle was besieged twice during the Civil War and after the 2nd siege in 1645 when the buildings were badly damaged, Parliament ordered that it be destroyed.
The remains are very impressive and a model of the castle in its original state can be seen at Sherborne Museum.
Sherborne New Castle
(Image: Visit Dorset)
The stunning castle was built on the site of a former hunting lodge by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594. It’s been the stately home of the Digby family since 1617 and has remained in the family ever since. You can discover all its fascinating history and see its fine collection of pictures, porcelain and furniture.
Minterne House and Gardens
(Image: Visit Dorset)
The gardens are known for their famous Rhododendrons, Japanese Cherries and Magnolias. Minterne is made up of a series of small lakes and cascades . The gardens form part of a magnificent house an lie in a tranquil valley setting in the heart of Dorset.
Sherborne and has been featured in many books and films. The mini-series Wolf Hall was filmed here in 2015 as well as the Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch who played Alan Turing, who cracks the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians during World War II. The young Turing attended Sherborne School and scenes from the movie were filmed on location at Turing’s actual school,
Hollywood’s 2015 adaptation of Hardy’s classic novel ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ was also partly filmed in the town.
Sherborne can be reached by train from Waterloo and Paddington station in 2hrs and 30 minutes and 2hrs 15 minutes respectively
By car it’s a 2hr 40 minute drive (124.7 miles) from West London via the A303.
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