Dorset Home of the Hovis Advert and Fashion

Every year Jim goes to the Pioneer Motor Cycle Run in Brighton while there he spends time doing all the things I hate, Sammy Miller Motor Bike Museum, Bovington Tank Museum, and I stay home with our girls. This year it was different, he has been poorly and I didn´t want him jaunting around the UK on his own and possibly becoming unwell. If he did, I couldn´t do much about it, but at least I would be with him. So much to his disgust, we set off for a couple of weeks for what I thought would be some very boring days and what he thought would me hanging around and telling him to get a move on.

I may have mentioned, I am a list maker, so I prepared something for us to do most days. After our first couple of days with our family and doing a catch up on the lovely shops around Camberley and the huge Meadows M&S we set off to see something I have often commented about – Gold Hill of Hovis advert fame.

It is set in the hilltop town of Shaftesbury surrounded by wonderful Thomas Hardy country with magnificent views over Blackmore Vale and Melbury Beacon. We didn´t really know where we were going so pulled into Tesco car park to inspect the loos and ask directions. The girl on checkout told us “Everyone uses our car park as it is free for 3 hours so, leave the car, turn right, walk up the road, you will be there in 5 minutes” – and so we were.

Delightful, and exactly like the advert. At the top of the hill, there is a museum made up of a priest’s house and another very old building. Admission is free and you can follow the story of rural life in the town starting before Alfred the Great. Next to the museum is a cottage garden it was just starting to come to life and in a few more weeks will be beautiful. We then spied over the wall what I think was the cathedral, however by this time, although the sun was shining, the wind was howling so instead of exploring the cathedral we explored Costa Coffee.

Continuing our journey through Dorset we headed to the Fashion Museum, which is in an 18th century house in Blandford Forum. The museum started as the personal collection of Betty Penny who used to go around the country holding fashion shows where she raised money for charity. Lime Tree House was bought in 1996 as a permanent home for Mrs. Penny’s collection and has eight rooms that cover fashions from Victorian times through each decade of the 20th Century, up to the 1980s. Jim thought he would be bored but like me thoroughly enjoyed looking back at the fashions of our youth, at the time we thought we looked so trendy when in fact some of the creations now made us want to cringe. The elderly ladies (reminiscent of Miss Marple types) who look after the museum and tea rooms, were you can get a reviving cream tea, were friendly and very knowledgeable but were of no help at all when asking directions, to our next port of call. However, with an eye on the road signs, it was a quick and straightforward journey where we ended our pleasant day at the Seaham B&B in Weymouth.


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