Welcome to Gold Hill Museum

Shaftesbury and District’s local history museum with an award-winning cottage garden and wonderful views over Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale.

Opening Hours

Currently closed to the public until early June 2021

Opening for the New Season dependent upon the lifting of Lockdown, roll-out of vaccinations, and availability of Volunteer Stewards

New Volunteers Welcome!

Visitors must please wear a face covering (unless exempt)

Free Entry

At the top of picturesque Gold Hill, well known for the Hovis “Boy on a Bike” advert, this modern museum is set in two historic buildings. One was once the priest’s house and still has a “squint” through the wall to St Peter’s church; the other provided basic lodgings for traders at the market on Gold Hill.

Eight galleries tell the story of rural and town life, starting even before Shaftesbury’s notional foundation by Alfred the Great. Highlights of the collection include the unique Byzant, carried during annual celebrations of the securing of the water supply, so vital to a hilltop town; Dorset’s oldest fire engine, dating from 1744; fine lacework and costumes; handmade Dorset buttons; and a mummified Dorset cat.

Gold Hill Museum is owned and managed by volunteers of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society, a registered charity. You can read about the range of activities of The S&DHS in the Diary of Events, Library,  Joint Activities Programme and Lectures & Speakers pages, in the “About Us” and “Events” menus, and in our recent News Blogs and Newsletters.


Thanks to the foresight of its founders, The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society owns Gold Hill Museum. The Society is an entirely voluntary organisation and in normal years receives no public funding towards the running costs of the Museum. Please contact us if you can help by becoming a member, a volunteer or a donor. Thank you.

News Blog Latest

King's College Chapel (photo by Dmitry Tonkonog)

550 Years Ago England’s Worst King Murdered In The Tower

On 21 May 1471 the last of the Lancastrian kings, Henry VI,…
Mr Toad's Abandoned Caravan

Mr Toad’s Abandoned Caravan, and Other Amazing Spaces

Kindly given by Toad to Ratty and Mole who refurbished it for…
Sir Robert Walpole - First Prime Minister

Three Hundred Years Ago The First Prime Minister Enters Office

Or so the postmark said on today's letters. "(Sir) Robert Walpole…
Drone Pilot - Photographer Chris McComish

Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill Museum Reaches For The Skies

Bristol-based professional video maker Chris McComish was flying…
Coombe House by Albert Edward Tyler

Shaftesbury Vinegar Tycoon and FA Cup Winner’s Country Retreat

Dorset Council has recently bought the former St Mary's School…

Heritage Lottery Fund
ACE accredited logo (3)
Orion IT Ltd - Web Design Shaftesbury