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

Open Every Day from Monday 31 May

to Sunday 31 October 2021

10.30a.m. to 4.30p.m. with Last Entry at 4.10p.m.

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,  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

East Cliff Hall from its garden (2)

One Hundred Years Ago Bournemouth Is Given a Treasure Trove

On 27 January 1921 Sir Merton Russell-Cotes died. In the course…
Miniature Tea Room by Tryphena Orchard

Gold Hill Museum to open Tudor Tea Rooms for 2021 Season (but see below)

Cafe proprietors - and there are several excellent Shaftesbury…
John Rutter Plaque (2)

Blue Plaque to Recognise one of Shaftesbury’s Greatest Citizens

A newly-minted blue plaque, the first to recognise the life…
Horse-powered Threshing Machine

“Swing” Rioters Smash Machinery at Pythouse near Tisbury

On 25 November 2020 local historian Christina Richard wrote:…
Edla Norton Mayor of Shaftesbury 1933 (3)

First Women Mayors – and the Loss of a Popular Male Mayor

In 1933 Edla Marian Norton (nee Eklund) became the first…

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