Shaftesbury Abbey Museum & Garden



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The Abbey at Shaftesbury was part of a nunnery founded by King Alfred in 888. Patronage and pilgrims to the shrine of St Edward helped to make the abbey both rich and famous. It became one of the wealthiest in the country but was destroyed during the Dissolution in 1539. The excavated ruins show the foundations of the abbey church in a peaceful walled garden with an extensive medieval herb collection. The story is told through an audio guide and the use of carved stone and medieval floor tiles and illustrations from ancient manuscripts. Please visit the website for event listings.

Shaftesbury Abbey Museum & Garden
Phone : 01747 852910


  • Suitable for children of all ages
  • Parking nearby
  • Facilities: Large print guides, audio tour, interactive display
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Opening Times: Open Apr-Oct, daily 10-5

About the area

Discover Dorset

Dorset means rugged varied coastlines and high chalk downlands. Squeezed in among the cliffs and set amid some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery is a chain of picturesque villages and seaside towns. Along the coast you’ll find the Lulworth Ranges, which run from Kimmeridge Bay in the east to Lulworth Cove in the west. Together with a stretch of East Devon, this is Britain’s Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, noted for its layers of shale and numerous fossils embedded in the rock. Among the best-known natural landmarks on this stretch of the Dorset coast is Durdle Door, a rocky arch that has been shaped and sculpted to perfection by the elements. The whole area has the unmistakable stamp of prehistory.

Away from Dorset’s magical coastline lies a landscape with a very different character and atmosphere, but one that is no less appealing. Here, winding, hedge-lined country lanes lead beneath lush, green hilltops to snug, sleepy villages hidden from view and the wider world. The people of Dorset are justifiably proud of the achievements of Thomas Hardy, its most famous son, and much of the county is immortalised in his writing. 

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