A historic market town boasting splendid Georgian architecture, Blandford Forum rests cosily on the banks of the River Stour, breaking through the chalk ridge of Dorset Downs. It offers visitors a fine choice of self catering accommodation for those planning a holiday exploring the Dorset coast and countryside. You’ll find lines of boutiques in the town centre, such as the family-owned Hambledon Gallery. Let yourself be spoilt for choice with inviting cafes and restaurants, and try out Forum Café’s home-baked treats. Of course, there’s a fine selection of pubs, too and even a brewery, (the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery) offering guided tours, tastings and sales of their particularly fine ales.

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Under Acre Cottage is a charming chocolate box cottage nestled among the Cranborne AONB in Winterborne Whitechurch. The Grade II listed 16th-century rural cottage boasts a thatched roof & more original features, plus a lovely garden with countryside views, an open fire & access to the Dorset coast.

The Blandford Forum Town Museum shares the area’s fascinating history with all. There’s also the Blandford Fashion museum, showcasing clothing from 1740-1970. Enjoy the tea room and gardens while the kids explore a trail and try on replica clothing. Also perfect for the whole family is the lively spectacle that is Great Dorset Steam Fair, now in its 47th year in nearby Pimperne at the end of August. Further keeping to tradition, there’s also a weekly outdoor market – however, a variety of activities like golfing, clay-pigeon shooting and horse-back riding are also available. There are plenty of enjoyable days out to be had within easy reach of the town, It’s a relatively easy 45-minute drive to the Dorset coast and gorgeous locations such as Swanage, and Lulworth Cove, and less than that to the larger resorts of Poole and Bournemouth.

The surrounding landscape is breathtaking, such as the Dorset ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ to the west of the town. Additionally, the parish church, Corn Exchange and town hall all have an English Heritage status – not to mention Coupar House, Pump House, and even the local Natwest building!

Why the graceful architecture? After a fire in 1731, the town was rebuilt, and its surviving Georgian style presents visitors Blandford Forum with an unforgettable experience. Going even further back in time is the Iron Age fort atop Hambledon Hill, now a National Nature Reserve.

Blessed with stunning views, this gorgeous town has something to offer everyone. A self-catered cottage can give adventure-seeking families the freedom to discover Blandford’s gems, while couples can enjoy a relaxing escape with awe-inspiring views year-round. Take a leisurely cycle to the Jurassic coast, or go for a walk along the luscious Stour river. Alternatively, come find out what inspired Thomas Hardy to include Blandford Forum – or shall we say ‘Shottesford Forum’ – in his novels.