Steeped in history and tradition, it offers visitors breathtaking views and the warmest of welcomes. The ‘Shaston’ of Thomas Hardy’s novels, Shaftesbury is one of the oldest and highest towns in England and dominates what Hardy called the ‘engirdled and secluded’ Blackmore Vale. The beauty of the surrounding countryside is complemented by the collection of fine, historical buildings that make up the centre of Shaftesbury itself. The famous Gold Hill (of the Hovis Bread advertisement fame) with its steep cobbles and picturesque cottages is the epitome of rural charm from a previous time. Enjoy this medieval city for 'Britain's Best View,' its Cathedral, museums, historic houses and great range of shops; linger at a café or a pub or take in a show or a concert - it's up to you. Salisbury has Britain's finest medieval Cathedral, boasts England's tallest (123m) spire, best preserved original Magna Carta, largest Cathedral Close and Europe's oldest working clock. Home of the Bankes family for over 300 years, having replaced the ruined family seat at Corfe Castle, this 17th-century house was radically altered in the 19th century by Sir Charles Barry. The house contains the outstanding collection of paintings and other works of art accumulated by William Bankes. It is famous for its dramatic Spanish Room, with walls hung in magnificent gilded leather. The house and garden are set in a wooded park with attractive walks. The surrounding estate is crossed by many paths and dominated by the Iron Age hill-fort of Badbury Rings. An outstanding example of the English landscape style, this splendid garden was designed by Henry Hoare II and laid out between 1741 and 1780. Classical temples, including the Pantheon and Temple of Apollo, are set around the central lake at the end of a series of vistas, which change as the visitor moves around the paths and through the magnificent mature woodland with its extensive collection of exotic trees. The magnificent interior includes an outstanding Regency library, an extensive picture collection and furniture by Chippendale the Younger. King Alfred’s Tower, an intriguing red-brick folly built in 1772 by Henry Flitcroft, is almost 50m high and gives breathtaking views over the estate. The golden city of Bath has been welcoming visitors for over 2,000 years. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe, such as the Roman Baths & Pump Room, the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge and the Circus. Less than an hour's drive away is the beautiful and rugged Dorset Coast. Ideal for the walkers there are many coastal paths to be walked. The seaside towns of Bournemouth and Weymouth are also easily reached and offer wonderful days out and shopping. Voted ‘UK Family Attraction of the Year’ by the Good Britain Guide, Longleat offers a wonderland of attractions to suit all ages! Set in more than 900 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland with a further 8,000 acres of woodlands, lakes and farmland, Longleat combines the magic of the old with the marvels of the new. Substantially completed by 1580 and now home to the 7th Marquess of Bath, Longleat House is widely regarded as one of the best examples of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public. Glastonbury is on a former island in the Somerset marshes. It's a lively town with a long history and rich traditions. Once megalithic centre, a place of the Goddess and a Druid college, its medieval abbey became a famous pilgrimage place. Today it's a town of 9,000 people with a unique atmosphere. It hosts a rock festival, several conferences and lots of events. People visit from the world over, pulled by a special something... Glastonbury is overlooked by the Tor, a majestic hill of power and, from mythic tales, is home to the king of the fairies, Gwyn ap Nudd
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