Category Archives: Where to stay

Six new camping sites pop up in Shaftesbury, Dorset

Holyrood FarmSIX new campsites have opened very close to Shaftesbury in the past two summers as the demand for safe breaks in the open air continues to be in demand.

At least three sites have opened in the past month, taking advantage of relaxed planning rules which say temporary structures could be placed on land without planning permission for 56 days – previously it was 28. Farmers have jumped at the chance to open up more land to camping.

The rules on social distancing mean that new campsites are also granting more space for pitches, some up to 20m apart, making healthy budget holidays even more attractive. Three of the new sites listed below are on the foothills of Shaftesbury, making them within walking distance of the town – Holyrood Farm (pictured, above) is just a 10-minute walk from town.

The appeal is the relative smallness of the sites, with limited facilities – this is wild camping, by and large, with a small bill: £20 for up to six people on some sites. With five of the sites open into September (Woodfrys is open until the end of October), there’s time to book a late break. Come and explore.

Read more:
24 glamping hotspots near Shaftesbury, Dorset
Camping – this summer’s hot holiday


Mayor Farm camping

Mayo Farm Camping

A mile from Shaftesbury, it’s a new site which opened in Melbury on Aug 6, with views up Melbury Hill from one of the two fields. Owners Barney and Ellie are keeping numbers low for the rest of this season as they trial the mix of campervans and tents. It’s an adult-only site, with no under-16s: dogs permitted, bar certain breeds/crossbreeds. Facilities are limited – two loos and cold water, but no showers or washing up facilities. “This is exactly what it says on the tin. A friendly wild camping field,” says one early review (which are all positive). Reycling and waste facilities, an outdoor shower and better footpath access around the farm are all on the to-do list. £20 a night for two, last booking Sep 21.


Holyrood FarmHolyrood Farm

The closest site to Shaftesbury town centre, just half a mile south of the pubs and shops. Look up to town and down across to The Blackmore Vale, Melbury Hill and Wiltshire. It’s large, with space for 54 each of campervans and tents, and has been operating just over a year.  In that time, farmer Jason has added two showers, flushing toilets, a washing-up area, firepits for rent and wood for sale. It’s a working farm, including sheep, cattle – and alpacas. dogs permitted, bar certain breeds/crossbreeds. One review liked: “The site, especially its open position and views. The fact that units were very well-spaced. The shower. The exceptionally simple range of facilities which reminded me of when I started camping 60 years ago. ” £20 a night for two, last booking Sep 23.


Edwards FarmEdwards Farm

Another new site on the southern slopes of Shaftesbury’s hilltop location, which means fabulous sunset views and out to Duncliffe Woods. It’s a Portaloo and water site, and is only opening at weekends in its first year, with just 10 spaces. But it rates 9.9 on PitchUp reviews as a ‘back to basics campfire and dog-friendly site,’ says one. At £20 a pitch, it won’t make a fortune. “But it pays for the fencing, keeps the place up together and puts a bit of money into the pot,” says farmer Alex Gibbs in an interview with This is Alfred radio. Barbecues allowed, wood for sale. Dogs permitted, bar certain breeds/crossbreeds. “For a family of five with children aged 8-13, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay – very relaxed laid back site with lots of room to yourself,” said one review. Last booking Sep 30.


Froghole FarmFroghole Farm

A family run site that opened in 2019 with just 20 tent pitches: no campervans/RVs. It’s about three miles southwest of Shaftesbury and has loads of space to run around – the children can also hang out at a play area which has a climbing frame, some ride-on toys and a basketball hoop. There’s also an indoor games room for table tennis, darts and board games. Distancing required of course. Facilities include a communal fridge, picnic area, fire pit and wood to rent, toilet block, water supply close to the pitches. There’s no shower. Dogs permitted, bar certain breeds/crossbreeds. One review from August 2020: “Brilliant spot, kids loved animals, friendly owners, lovely dog!” From £10 a night, last booking Sep 7.


Woodfrys FarmWoodfrys Farm

A family-run, 25 acre smallholding in Melbury Abbas, just south of Shaftesbury in the lee of Melbury Hill and Fontmell Down. The farm was only set up in 2018 and is a small scale producer of rare breed chickens, pigs, cattle and sheep. The camping site has followed, sited around a lake and water meadow fed by a chalk stream. It takes tents, campervans and caravans: there’s a communal fire pit area with seating, or fire-baskets for private use (£7.50 inc logs). There are Portaloos, washing up sinks, drinking water and electric hook-ups but no showers. Dogs welcome. The site is open from March to end October: adults £7.50 a night, children £2.50. Check availability here and then ring 01747 852383 or email: 


Provost FarmProvost Farm

Another brand new site (no reviews yet), the farm is five miles due west of Shaftesbury on the edge of the pretty (but pub and shop-less) village of Stour Provost. This is a ten-only site (10 pitches) on a working farm (feed the pigs!) within reasonable walking distance of a pub (the very good Ship at West Stour), fishing lakes and Duncliffe Woods. There is a toilet block but no showers or washing up facilities. Dogs welcome. £20 a night, up to six. Last booking Sep 6.


24 glamping hotspots near Shaftesbury, North Dorset


SHAFTESBURY has a very good collection of hotels, cottages and B&Bs. But as the town sits on a hilltop, there isn’t a great deal of room to innovate with glamping options. Happily, there is a great deal of space in The Blackmore Vale and Cranborne Chase surrounding Shaftesbury – and there has been a considerable amount of innovation in recent years.

From a list of 12 in summer 2017, we now have 24 sites close to Shaftesbury which offer glamping options, from luxury safari tents and yurts to a converted double decker bus, eco pod and shepherd huts with hot pools. 

Many have spectacular views and settings, in oak woodlands, deer parks, kitchen gardens, equestrian centres and working farms. And they all add to the wealth of accommodation choices in North Dorset, alongside a number of AirBnB options. Come and stay in north Dorset for a short break, or a full family holiday: we’re halfway between London and Cornwall, just off the A303, and within easy reach of Dorset’s world famous Jurassic Coast.

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The Old Bank B&B

Sarah Hood
Burton Street
Sturminster Newton
DT10 1PH

Tel: 01258 821019
Mobile: 07434 280963
From: £35.00 pppn
1 double bedroom
1 double (Kingsize)/twin
1 double & twin suitable for families
Private facilities available
Comfortable village house between Shaftesbury and Sherborne. Pretty courtyard and garden. Close to many local attractions.
Children and Dogs Welcome. Open all year

Updown Cottage

Simon & Jane Colston
12 Gold hill
Dorset SP7 8HB

Tel: 07710 307202
From £795 to £1395 per week

Updown Cottage is a C16th cottage where character and antiques blend with contemporary comfort. Perched halfway up Gold “Hovis” Hill, opposite the walls of King Alfred’s Abbey, it enjoys stunning views across Blackmore Vale. Cosy enough for a couple but spacious enough for 6 guests & a baby, there are 4 bedrooms, 3 batrooms, dining room, 2 sitting rooms (one with baby grand piano, one with a massive inglenook fireplace and a terraced hillside garden. Open all year.

Black Pig Retreats

Carolyn Bourchier
Bittles Brook Farm
Bittles Green, Motcombe
Dorset SP7 9NX

Tel: 01747 590678
Mobile: 07772 444861

From: £275 to £1275
3 night minimum stay
Sleeps: 4 to 6
King 1, Single 2 + double cabin bed

3 Luxury safari tents sleeping 4 or 6 persons.  Hot showers and flushing toilet in each tent.   Fully equipped kitchen with gas hob and wood burning stove.  Comfortable beds.  Beautiful views in a peaceful farm location.  Easy access to Shaftesbury. Open March – October

Summer Lodge

Angel Court

Mobile: 07855 760806

From £355 – £775 per week
1 King size double bed
1 Twin Beds

Boutique Cottage in the heart of the historic area of Shaftesbury with private parking. Furnished and presented to a high standard.  TripAdvisor cert of Excellence. Patio seating areas back and front. Welcome pack.  WiFi.

Holbrook Bed and Breakfast

Diane Holt
6 Ivy Cross

Tel: 01747 858522
Mobile: 07790 610743

Rooms from £40.00 pppn inc. breakfast
1 Double Ensuite
1 Triple Ensuite
1 Twin Ensuite
1 Single Ensuite

Holbrook offers a warm and a friendly personal service. Excellent varied breakfast menu. All rooms tastefully refurbished to a high standard. Town centre within an easy ten minute walk. Free WIFI.  Free off road parking.

The Chalet

Doug and Anne Giberson
Christy’s Lane

Tel: 01747 853 945
Mobile: 07810 872 696

Rooms from £45.00 pppn inc. breakfast
1 Superking/Twin ensuite
1 Kingsize Double ensuite
1 Twin ensuite

A warm welcome awaits you at The Chalet. Luxuriously equipped ensuite bedrooms with bath and shower.  Choice of delicious breakfasts, using local produce. (Eggs from our own hens) Secure parking. 5 mins walk to town centre. Discount for 3 or more nights. Children 10 + Free Wifi

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