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 2023

Open Every Day 01 April – 31 October

10.30a.m. to 4.30p.m. (Last Entry at 4.10p.m.)


Photographs from King Alfred’s Middle School 1983- 2004


“Fonthill Fever” – the 1822-23 Sales of William Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey

Free Admission

Donations and New Volunteers Welcome

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, 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

One Week Left to View a Peach of an Exhibition

In September 1931 Doris Peach, youngest daughter of John and…

Who Let The Bloodhounds Out? William Beckford Apparently

Bridport-based artist Jules Cross has very kindly donated his…

The Two Coronations of the Previous King Charles

On 01 January 1651 the 20-year-old Charles II was crowned King…

Join the Historic Byzant Ceremony on Monday 08 May 11.00

The Byzant is unique to Shaftesbury, though it resembles May…

It’s a Peach of an Exhibition

For the new season beginning 01 April 2023 Gold Hill Museum…